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Female independent candidate vows to break status quo

February 14, 2018 By Emmanuel Okyne

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Madam Manley is an independent candidate in Cons. 45, Koindagu

Independent candidate in constituency 45, Koinadugu district, Salamatu Manley, has vowed to ‘break the taboo’ in the forthcoming multitier elections.

Ms. Manley, who was speaking at a one day training workshop for female candidates contesting various positions in the 2018 elections, was denied a symbol by the ruling  All  Peoples Congress (APC).

“I was denied a symbol in 2007 and 2012 by the All People Congress. They told me to wait for 2018, but again I have been denied. I’m confident that I will break that status quo on March 7,” she said.

The training, organised at the Civil Service Training College in Freetown by Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), attracted 50 female parliamentary candidates and 20 councilors, selected from 16 electoral districts. It was funded by Trocaire and Irish Aid.

She noted that the training was very timely as most female candidates were contesting for the first time.

“As an educationist, I will work in the area of education as the district is in dire need of education,” she promised.

Speaking at the opening of the training session, Executive Director of CGG, Valnora Edwin, said the training was geared towards improving women’s skills in leadership as the country approaches the March 7th general elections.

Madam Edwin said since 2007 CGG has been engaging women to build their capacity to vie for different positions during general elections.

The CGG Executive Director stated that most women fail because they do not understand their roles in governance; thus urging the female aspirants to be equipped as they would handle complex documents and engage in research after they would have been elected into office.

She said they have realised over the years that female aspirants were afraid of their male colleagues.

“We are disappointed in the awarding of symbol to female candidates. But it is not strange because party executives are being dominated by males,” she said.

Ms. Edwin said her organisation was hopeful that at the end of the training women candidates would be equipped with campaign skills that would enable them get an edge over their male counterparts.

Country Director of Trocaire Sierra Leone, Florie Dejager Meezenbroek ,said the training was very timely for the aspirants, adding that it would help form new leaders in decision-making across the country.

She said it was important to train women in decision-making as their voices matter a lot in the process of governance, and urged the candidates to be courageous despite the challenges they face in a patriarchal society, adding that her institution would continue working with women to give them an open space.

Former Mayor of Makeni City Council, Sunkari Kamara, thanked CGG and their financiers for the training, re-echoing its importance for the forthcoming elections.

She said that through the training they have learnt that there were other forms of campaign strategies.