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50/50 Group welcomes appointment of first female AG

June 13, 2018

By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Newly appointed AG takes oath of office at State House

The 50/50 Group has welcomed the appointment of Dr. Priscilla Schwartz-nee Fofana as the first female Attorney General and Minister of Justice in Sierra Leone.

Dr. Schwartz, who until her appointment on Monday June 11, was a law professor at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, replaces Charles Francis Margai, who was fired barely two months without any reason.

She becomes the first woman in the history of Sierra Leone to serve in that prominent position.

Prior to her appointment, women’s groups have been clamouring for a 30% representation in government and corporate institutions, with many, including the 50/50 Group, hopeful that more women would be appointed to higher positions of decision-making.

However, only four women were given full ministerial positions prior to Monday’s announcement of Dr. Schwartz as the new Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Thus, her appointment takes the number to five women in the current cabinet.

In a telephone interview with Concord Times, 50/50 Group President, Dr Fatou Taqi described the appointment by President Julius Maada Bio as timely, good and one that sent a good message.

“The appointment of Dr. Schwartz is positive and we are looking forward to more to help the President guide the country and take it to where it should be,” she said, adding that it seats well with their wish to having more women occupy top positions across all sectors of government.

Also, Executive Director of Centre for Accountability and Rule (CARL), Ibrahim Tommy, welcomed the appointment but noted that it was not enough to reduce the ratio between men and women in government.

He stressed the need for more women to be appointed in all sectors of government and not only in cabinet positions.

“It is good to have another woman in the government. I don’t think this appointment is enough to respond to our cry of having more women in positions across the government. It is a systemic problem which we need to address,” he said.

Meanwhile, a press release from State House noted that the appointment of Dr. Schwartz was a demonstration of President Bio’s commitment to women’s empowerment, and more importantly in ensuring that competent women are empowered to lead the change and transformation the New Direction offers.

Dr. Dr. Priscilla Schwartz took the oath of office at State House yesterday before President Bio, and she is expected to start work today.

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