Four political parties in Sierra Leone, the All People Congress APC, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP, the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change PMDC and the National Democratic Alliance NDA have called on for the participation of more women, youths and the disabled in the 2012 general elections.
This pledge was made yesterday Wednesday November 2, 2011 at the offices of the International Foundation for Electoral System IFES at Kingtom in Freetown. The PMDC was represented by Hingham Carew, Abdulai R. Bah represented the NDA, Hon. Marie Jalloh represented the APC and the SLPP was represented by Isata Kabbah.
The aim of the pledge is to encourage political parties facilitate the inclusion and participation of these vulnerable groups such as the disabled, women, and youths in the democratic process next year. In the past, many obstacles prevented the full participation of women, youths, and the disabled in political activities. In order to achieve this, political parties have decided to make commitments in order to create an environment in which women, the disabled and youths are free to participate in the electoral process.
The parties’ pledge to ensure the safety and security of all voters, especially women and youths, is in line with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendation of 30% representation for women and 10% representation for youths, and to expand political representation for the large number of Sierra Leoneans with disabilities.
The parties also pledged to increase the number of symbols awarded to women, youths, and disabled candidates for parliament and local council elections, to give marginalised groups the support necessary to compete fairly in the political system by assisting with campaign, transportation and other financial assistance to promote respect and productive dialogue.
To further achieve these ends, the political parties commit themselves to Section 35.1 of the 1991 Constitution, which provides that political parties should shape the political will of the electorates, the Code of Conduct for Political Parties, and the electoral laws of Sierra Leone.
President Ernest Bai Koroma