By Alfred Koroma
President for the 5050 Women Group, Haja Alimatu Abdullah has said that Proportional Representation is advantageous for women.
Madam Abdullah who was speaking to Concord Times in an exclusive interview made analysis on the two voting systems of representation the country has practised, but was clear in her support for the Proportional Representation which she says creates room for cohesiveness.
“I believe that this Proportional Representation will be inclusive. It will bring people together. And it is also advantageous for women,” she said.
“Now the way Sierra Leone is, we all are aware of the regional divide in the country. So personally, I really would welcome the PR system because that will make people to come together,” she added.
Proportional Representation, an electoral system where party representation reflects electoral support has been reintroduced for the 2023 election, bringing an end to the First Past the Post (FPTP) system used in the last three general elections.
FPTP allows for constituency representation and it is a system of representation in which constituents know who represents them and can hold them to account. However, the 5050 Group President views FPTP as a more disadvantageous electoral system – expensive and one that divides the country.
“For me personally, I had always thought that the First Past the Post System is good in the sense that every constituency know who their representative is, but the point of Bye-elections have been most times violent and expensive and problematic; I do not like that part of the First Past the Post system that every time it is fresh election if somebody dies or if somebody resigns or if somebody is appointed to another position. I think it is very expensive and violent and it does not make for cohesiveness of our country,” Madam Abdullah told Concord Times.
She emphasized that FPTP is so expensive in a way that requires one to spend a lot of money to win a constituency. “It is a one on one fight.”
But for the PR, she said “As long as your name is on the list of the political parties, there is very strong likelihood that you would become a member of parliament. So I believe that it is really in favour of women because women don’t like where there is a lot of violence and a lot of problems.”
50 50 Group is one of the major feminist organizations advocating for gender equality, more women participation in politics and in decision making positions of Sierra Leone.
The work by those feminist groups has seen some impacts as the need for women protection and representation in positions of trust gain recognition. The new Public Elections Act which also made provision for PR; provides that for every three candidates nominated, one must be a woman.
With this, Haja Alimatu Abdullah said they believe they could have more women participating or being nominated as candidate for the different political parties to contest in the next general election.
I pray and hope that those who will be considered to be put on the list will be capable people who can run this country, she said.