December 19, 2017 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Constituency 101 in Pujehun district was painted green over the weekend as the sole female aspirant, who is also a local farmer, declared her intention to represent her people in the next parliament under the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
The symbolic declaration took place at Fairo, Sorogbema Chiefdom and Zimmi Makpale where a mammoth crowd rallied behind her, beating traditional drums and chanting in the local dialect “Women can do it better, she has already begun it. Let’s try a woman for the first time in history.”
Madam Hawa Bangali Kallon is contesting against Ibrahim Kabineh Kawa and the incumbent Hon. Sidi Tunis. She called on her opponents to be part of history by allowing her to run unopposed. But it’s highly unlikely whether the other two male aspirants will heed the call.
She declared that women’s empowerment would be top of her agenda, but cautioned that empowerment doesn’t mean they should challenge their husbands.
“Don’t challenge your husbands. They are the heads of the home. The women are the necks. If the neck doesn’t stand, the head can’t function well,” she said.
She also promised to tackle education, adding that she has been providing transport fare to candidates taking public exams at various centres within the constituency.
Speaking on agriculture, she disclosed her displeasure whenever she hears about the prevalence of hunger in the constituency.
“Apart from the 83 acres that was cultivated for rice, we also cultivated 30 acres of maize and 50 acres of groundnut. I want us to be eating what we plant. With the confidence you have reposed in me to be your next honourable, who am I to reject it. And today, I am happy to declare before this gathering that I want to be the next honourable Member of Parliament for Constituency 101,” she said to ecstatic applause.
Madam Kallon revealed plans to expand the acreage of land as Munda Rogers has provided her a tractor which she has repaired and would be used for next year’s farming.
She said last year’s farming was supported by an agricultural agency that approved $50,000 grant for farming in the next five years.
“So be rest assured that this farming would continue until the constituency becomes food sufficient,” she maintained.
“No woman has ever opted to be a parliamentarian in this constituency but that doesn’t mean that there have not been strong women. This is the time God wants a woman to serve. So, anyone that would vote me would vote for history and more especially for development. If you give me this opportunity, I will not let you down because I am responsible to you, the party and the parliament as well,” she said.
She lamented lack of good medical care in the constituency, which according to her helps increase mortality rate in the constituency.
“I would not promise to build hospital here but I would lobby parliament for such and I would be the first to sign any agreement that would bring good medical care in this constituency,” she said.
Earlier, chairman for the occasion, who also doubles as SLPP Constituency chairman, Sallu Massaquoi commended Madam Kallon for her dedication to the cause of the common man and her relentless effort and commitment to eradicate hunger in that part of the country.
He assured all aspirants that election for the award of symbol would be transparent and that whosoever wins would joined by the losers to campaign for the party and candidate in the constituency.
One of her supporters, Mohamed sheriff, said he supports a woman because he was inspired by her exemplary leadership and dedication to the cause of the common man.
He noted that public perception about women’s leadership is changing rapidly as many now believe that ‘what men can do, women can do it better.’
He said Madam Kallon has made enormous effort to educate the less privileged.
The eventual winner of the symbol would be in a strong position to become the next Member of Parliament in the constituency, which is regarded as a stronghold of the opposition SLPP.
Meanwhile, Madam Kallon also used the event to donate chairs to the local customary court.