May 4, 2018 By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)
On Independence Day, 27 April, 2018, she received the prestigious Sisters Choice Award for FEMALE BARRISTER of the Year and she dedicated her prize trophy to “all women of Sierra Leone striving to make positive difference”. Most importantly, she further dedicated her award to the new Government of Sierra Leone ON CONDITION that they reflect the much trumpeted 30% quota in every cabinet or decision making positions.
However, private legal practitioner Mariama Dumbuya is disappointed at the number of women so far appointed by His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio.
“In light of his commitment to the 30% quota in his manifesto, I must say I am not happy with the number of women President Bio has appointed so far,” said Mariama. “My expectation was that we would see women form an integral part of this new administration, but so far it has not been the case and the key governance positions are almost all gone to men.”
Out of about 33 key political appointments announced so far by President Bio, only five are women.
“This is not good for governance considering that women make up half the population of our country,” Mariama noted. “We should always remember to incorporate the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that women and vulnerable people should be included in decision making. The manner in which appointments are made by Governments in Sierra Leone to say the least is discriminatory against women. Government should consider gender parity.”
She added that It would be beneficial for Sierra Leone if the SLPP-led Government fulfils its campaign promise to Sierra Leonean women, noting that the country boasts many credible women that could successfully take up decision making positions.
“I do note that appointments are done at the discretion of the President but such appointments should be fair across the board. Appointments should always cover all sectors of society not just women because even disabled and physically challenged Sierra Leoneans should have their representatives in decision making positions,” said Mariama.
However, she is optimistic women will make up the numbers in subsequent appointments and believes the few women appointees will make a difference.
“Nevertheless, I have no doubt and hope that the women so nominated will ensure that they deliver positive results so that our male folks will have more trust in women to get them to increase the number of women in governance positions,” she said.
Mariama Dumbuya is a private legal practitioner with over 18 years of experience in civil, commercial and corporate legal practice. She has over the years, represented most of the banks in Sierra Leone, NGO’s, private companies, local and international clients. She was a partner in the firm of Renner Thomas & Co, a private commercial firm, till 2014 when she went into partnership with three male colleagues to set up a commercial private legal firm called Lambert & Partners.
Mariama Dumbuya is a holder of World Bank Doing Business award for three years in partnership with the World Bank Doing Business Team.
A committed human rights activist and past President of Legal Access Through Women Yearning for Equality Rights and Social Justice (L.A.W.Y.E.R.S), Mariama renders help to many humanitarian organisations by assisting them legally and/or otherwise on various human rights projects. She helps to set up and promote many organisations that focus on enhancing the plight of women, girls, children and the vulnerable in Sierra Leone.
She’s married and a mother of two girls.