Sierra Leone: Women Urge NEC to Revisit Nomination Fees
10 August 2012, Concord Times
The Women's Forum - the umbrella organization of all women's groups in Sierra Leone, and the Women's Solidarity Support Group (WSSG) - a coalition of women's organizations and individuals, have urged the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to revisit the amount proposed as nomination fees for candidates who plan to contest in the forthcoming elections as councillors, mayors and members of parliament.
The women said that NEC needs to take into consideration the low number of women in elective positions and the urgent need to increase this number to ensure gender parity in governance and in the long run, the status of women in Sierra Leone.
Speaking on behalf of women, an aspirant for councillorship, Adama Sheriff Tarawally, said lots of millions have so far been spent in their different communities in order to participate in the November elections and the timeframe with which NEC has increased the nomination fees was too short. She therefore urged the leading women groups to negotiate with NEC to be reasonable with the fees.
"Some of us can afford that money but what about the grassroots women in the provinces that cannot afford it? Would they step down because they did not have the amount slated for their representation in councils and parliament?" she queried.
Another aspirant, Janet Savage, noted that the time is very short and the money is high as not everyone can afford it. She therefore urged the 50/50 Group, UN Women, Women's Forum and WSSG to go out and appeal to NEC to reduce the candidacy fees not only for women but across all levels.
"A woman's dignity is not poverty, it is how she carries herself. Even though poor she may have respect in her community. It is a big challenge for everyone, be it an aspirant or ordinary man, as some are yet to receive their identity cards to vote come November. NEC should have slashed this nomination fees long before now," she opined.
The women urged the elections body and the government to cancel the present increment in view of the prevailing economic hardship in the country and to revert to the prescribed nomination fees contained in the 2012 Electoral Laws Act.