In their bid to peacefully reconcile bitter rivals of the recently concluded Local Government Election, which left many people and communities hostile to each other, the Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), in collaboration with the Canadian fund for Local Initiative, organized a post-election debriefing to reconcile winning councilors and losers at Santano house in Freetown yesterday.
The recent Local Government Election has left winners and losers at logger heads in most parts of the country. During and after the election, thirty five (35) female participants were brought together and peacefully reconciled – particularly winners and losers from Western Urban and Rural that contested the Local Government Election held on July 5.
The post-election debriefing was facilitated by Rosaline Macathy, the head of Women Forum Sierra Leone, who spoke about the significant role women played during and after the Local Government Election, which has been widely referred to as peaceful, free, fair and transparent. Mrs Macathy commended those aspirants who lost and also congratulated the winners of the election.
She further called on the winning councilors to always look at the losers as partners and community members and urged them to extend an olive branch to them as a way of collaborating and encouraging them to actively participate in the smooth running of the council affairs at community and ward levels.
Mrs Macathy assured participants of CCG’s post-election debriefing of continuous commitment and support in building the capacity of women, particularly female councilors who have taken the mantle of office to represent their communities in the councils.
She added that her organization will also continue the training of women in leadership skills, conflict management and networking with funds from the women solidarity fund that provided various trainings and technical support to women in Sierra Leone.
Participants of the debriefing workshop shared their past experiences on the nomination, campaign voting and during the counting period. Most of the councilors highlighted the challenges they faced during the election period.
A cross-section of losers spoke about alleged intimidation they suffered in the hands of male aspirants and some election irregularities that took place during voting. NEC and PPRC were largely blamed for failing to take disciplinary action against defaulters. “They can only bark but they don’t bite,” one of the losers remarked.
Winning female councilors also spoke about the lack of financial and moral support from their political parties, but promised to work hand-in-hand with losing candidates for the development of their respective communities.
Statements were delivered by Georgetta De Mark and a cross-section of female councilors on the way forward for a peaceful reconciliatory post-election debriefing.
By Saidu Bah