The seminar was slated for 9:00 am, but up till 1pm only four of the 14 councilors invited had showed up. The action seemed like a protest.
Yesterday, Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) organized a bi-seminar for Female councilors and ward committee members on the priority policy concerns of women in local councils.
The first session of this follow up seminar was meant for female councilors, but unfortunately majority of the female councilors boycotted the seminar.
Reasons for the boycott remain unclear, but according to councilor Sembia Johnson of ward 381, she disclosed to Awoko that some of her colleague councilors might have obvious reasons for not attending the seminar.
Councilor Johnson revealed that three of the invited councilors are out of the country; the other seven are unable to come because of other engagements.
She explained as a result of impromptu events at times councilors do not work according to their proposed schedule.
Councilor Johnson said that she is very much appreciative of CGG for the capacity support they have given councilors.
She said as new politicians such capacity building seminar is necessary for a productive developmental output.
In a pocket meeting with the few councilors present, CGG’s head of progammes Marcella Macauley said some of the councilors are saying that CGG is always in the habit of giving them small amounts of money at the end of the workshop. This she said may have resulted in the boycott.
Marcella who seemed annoyed with the councilors who refused to attend the seminar said it seemed as if some of the councilors are not appreciative of the training and all what they cared about is the money.
However, during the second half of the seminar which was well attended by committee members, councilor Sallieu Kamara apologized on behalf of his colleagues for being absent during the first half of the seminar.
He revealed that they were summoned for an extraordinary meeting and that might be “a lead to why some of the councilors are not here.”
Speaking with Macella after the meeting she explained, priority concerns identified and validated especially for the women folk “but unfortunately they were unable to attend this morning.”
Nevertheless, she assured all that CGG is going to liaise with the absent councilors “we have a common understanding we will reschedule the meeting and we move on to fix another date and time so that they will get the information.”
“The female councilors for western urban are actually 14 and most of them are engaged in one activity or the other. They do not really have a consensus around the activities they undertake, they have various interventions in their wards. Some of them did come around for the meeting but unfortunately a good number of the 14 were not around but definitely I believe that they have other assignments to undertake and we will reschedule the meeting for another date,” she said.
Asked whether it is as a result of the minimal transport allowances that stop the councilors from coming she said, “I don’t think so quite honestly these are people who have been calling me up to say when are we having another meeting or training.”
“So I believe that they do appreciate the discussion, the training and the information that we passed on, even as governance practitioners some of the information the resource persons do give at meetings like this is very useful, and I believe that the councilors who are involved in local governance they will also have an opportunity to broaden their horizon,” Marcella said. By Ophaniel Gooding