Thousands of women from Liberia and Sierra Leone yesterday took to the streets in Freetown in a mass action campaign on violence free elections.
They processed from the Victoria Park and made their first call at the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP)’s head office where speeches were delivered from the women’s leaders.
The party’s publicity secretary, Victor Reider welcoming the delegation, told the gathering that his party was against violence before, during and after the elections.
He added that on behalf of the leader of the party they welcomed the idea of women campaigning against violence in the country.
Mr Reider promised them that their party would get not involve in violence during the election process.
The women also presented a statement in which they said they had, “transformed ourselves from mothers, wives, sisters and daughters to peacekeepers for our forthcoming elections next week”.
The marchers intimated that, “our role as peacekeepers for the elections is part of a campaign by women who are advocating for violence-free elections throughout the country.”
They continued that, “we realize that as individuals we cannot make our voices heard but as women you can hear us clearly when we say “No to Violence” during our elections”.
Mr Reider was informed by the nonviolence activists that, “we will never go back to being victims of violence; or refugees; or widows. Rather we have decided to be proactive by taking our destiny into our hands and stop all threats to our peaceful co-existence”.
They emphasized that, “we are committed to violence free elections and call upon you heads of political parties to commit yourselves to violence free elections not just through words but by deeds and actively encourage your supporters to campaign non-violently”.
From the SLPP office they marched to the office of the All People’s Congress (APC) at Brookfields where they were received by the party’s secretary general Victor Bockarie Foh.
In his statement to the women, Mr Foh stressed that their leader [Ernest Bai Koroma] was also preaching to his supporters whenever he meets with them to refrain from violence.
He assured them that their party faithful would not cause mayhem before, during and after the elections.
The secretary general also assured them that their supporters would keep the peace even if they were intimated.
And just a few meters from the APC’s office, the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC)’s office beckoned the women. They were received by the running mate of the party, Dr Tejan Jalloh, who informed them that with the leadership of Charles Margai the election would be peaceful and non violent.
From there they converged at the YWCA old hall where Vice President Solomon Berewa informed them that he felt disturbed by the words of Ernest Koroma who in an interviewed in the Peep! magazine said if the SLPP won the elections they (APC) would react violently and also statements by Charles Margai.
The mass action campaign ended at the Law Reform Commission office, Wellington Street, where the women presented a proposal to Dr Peter Tucker who told them that he had received their proposal and would look into it.