A high-level mission comprising of members of the Club of Madrid are in Sierra Leone to discuss the political rights and experiences of female and male leaders, including ministers, parliamentarians and traditional rulers.
The former President of Botswana, Ketumile Masire; former Prime Minister of Canada, Kim Campbell; and member of the East African Legislative Assembly and former MP of Uganda were part of the mission.
The Mission came into Sierra Leone under the African Women Leaders Project (AWLP), which is an 18-month initiative aimed at providing support for women leaders in Sierra Leone and two other African Countries.
The Mission which came in on the 29th May have been sharing leadership experiences related to increasing women’s access to decision making in the social, economic and political spheres with political decision-makers.
The delegation has spent three days in Freetown and one in Makeni and has met with more than 120 female and male leaders of government, Parliament, political parties, local councillors traditional leaders, and media and civil society representatives.
The delegation members according to their press release said that they have been impressed with the commitment of women and many male leaders in continuing the progress made to date in Sierra Leone towards greater participation of women in the political life of the country.
They revealed that several participants in the mission meetings and dialogue sessions expressed concerns that political parties are not doing enough to ensure that women will be able to participate fully in a new constituency-based electoral system.
They observed that Women and civil society groups raised alarm over a “crisis situation” wherein the elections may return fewer women to Parliament than the current 14 percent of the total, which is already a lower percentage of female representation than that of many other African countries.
During the dialogue with Political Leaders, Former President Masire was quoted as saying “We cannot have full development without fully involving Women, We have been running a two-piston engine on one piston. We need all hands on deck to make up for lost time.”
The delegation Members encouraged women to participate in politics, build networks among women at all levels of the political and social Spectrum, and build up their confidence to contest political leadership positions.
The Club of Madrid is an independent organization dedicated to strengthening democracy around the world by drawing on the unique experience and resources of its members who are mostly democratic former heads of state and government.
The project is done in collaboration with Campaign For Good governance.