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Women of Sierra Leone Condemn Elections Violence

Press Release

Freetown, January 16 2012

Women of Sierra Leone Condemn Elections Violence

The Women’s Forum of Sierra Leone and the Women’s Solidarity Support Group, (WSSG - a coalition of Women’s organizations and individuals) strongly condemn the incidents of violence at the Bye-Elections in Ward 369 of Constituency 108 in Freetown which was held on Saturday, 14th January 2012.

We unequivocally condemn the attacks on Mohamed Kanu Mansaray, the SLPP Candidate in the elections, Lansana Fadika of the APC and Aziz Carew of the SLPP.

We regret the injuries sustained by innocent and peaceful citizens during the violent incidents and sympathize with the victims and their families.

We have been advocating for an increase in women's participation in politics and other areas of decision making. Recognising that one of the challenges/barriers to women's participation particularly in politics is fear and threat of violence. We are concerned by the continued lack of leadership to create an enabling environment for women to feel safe so that they can participate in politics and especially been undermined by senior political party officials such as Members of parliament, national, regional and district executive members which is a shame. We continue to witness the rise in political tensions, politically-motivated violence, well ahead of the 2012 elections. This unhealthy situation is bound to undermine women’s participation not only as candidates of political parties but also as voters.

What happened during the bye-elections of Saturday 14th January 2012 which spilled into Sunday 15th January 2012 is a clear manifestation that the 2012 elections will be violent. Such acts of intimidation and wanton violence should not and will not be tolerated or allowed to mar the elections, prevent us women from participating in the elections and most importantly threaten the fragile peace we currently enjoy in Sierra Leone.

 

We call on political parties especially the APC and SLPP to give peace a chance and to put the interest of the country first. We are tired of the finger pointing games being played by political parties. We therefore call on government to ensure unhindered access by the security apparatus to bring to justice those responsible for fanning and perpetrating political and elections violence.

 

 

The Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to ensure political parties compliance with the PPRC Code of Conduct and in the event of a breach of the code of conduct, to take appropriate action in line with the PPRC’s legal mandate without fear or favour.

We are concerned:

About the inadequacies of the mandates of the PPRC and NEC in responding to violence perpetrated by political parties and therefore call on the government for a speedy review and amendment to existing PPRC and NEC legal frameworks with provisions that will empower them to take disciplinary action against errant political parties.

As Sierra Leonean women, we continue to send a clear message that this is not how we want to see elections conducted in Sierra Leone. As Sierra Leoneans, we have a moral responsibility to ensure peace and tolerance at all times.

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