The press release explained that: “the Forum pleaded with His Excellency on International Women’s Day 2016 (March 8th) to fill the vacancies that existed in that ministry with women. Whether we were talking to the converted or not, that was done. One was an ex student of mine from MMCET and the other the Godchild of my late husband. We spent weeks welcoming them at parliament, with banners, songs etc. After six weeks we welcomed them at the ministry with speeches and our humble gifts to both of them. In responding they promised to work together and not to allow history to repeat itself.
The Forum joined Nenneh in Port Loko and Lunsar as she thanked them for electing her as a Local Councillor and supporting her appointment as Deputy Minister. Sylvia lamented that she could not join her as she was greatly involved in the preparation of an International Women’s Conference the following week. The two of them were together at that International Conference during which the minister asked her deputy minister to serve as the august Chairperson for the programme. It was so nice to watch the two of them. What had gone wrong between them that ultimately led to the relieving of their duties?
The Women’s Forum over the years had worked assiduously, relentlessly, untiringly with all the Ministers of that ministry as it is our link ministry. All of these past ministers can testify to this. In as much as they appreciated our efforts none of them had recognized the significant role of the Women’s Forum’s in the national development of Sierra Leone nor had they given us the necessary and dire support to perform that role.
That support, recognition and appreciation we got from the recent past minister the Honourable Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden.
61percent of the women of Sierra Leone live in the rural areas. Realizing the remarkable roles of these women in the development of our nation Hon. Dr. Blyden had worked relentlessly with them and the Forum being developmentally oriented, gave her stout support.
We joined her in the observation of International Women’s Day 2017 all the way in Kailahun, in the remote and distant Kissi Teng chiefdom. The joy on the faces of these women cannot be over emphasised. They were thrilled and happy.
Women in the North are equally traumatized and shocked by her being sacked. She had worked with the women of the north. Through her initiative we had our national conference in Kamakwie, in the new North West District. This enabled over one hundred women from all the districts to converge and make meaningful decision on women’s political representation on the forth coming elections. We came out with the KARENE DECLARATION of “Women Count, Vote in Women”.
Even though we have been making requests over the years for scholarships for women of the Forum to go on the Muslim Hajj pilgrimmage to Mecca, it was only under the leadership of the past minister that five women of the Forum were given the opportunity to perform their religious obligation to Allah.
Through her the Forum benefitted in taking part in High Level International Conferences and also In capacity building on combating violence on women and children from the reputable Masgav Institute in Israel.
Yes though a shock to us we saw it all happening. We tried to mediate by listening to both sides giving pieces of advice encouraging them to plod on. In reality that ministry faces a lot of Challenges.
As we welcome one of us again to that seat Honourable Isata Kabbia, we pray that the Good Lord from whom power comes from to guide and direct you and for help to build positive interpersonal relationships which is the backbone/bedrock for effective administration.
The administration of His Excellency has been gender responsive throughout his tenure of office. We apologize to you our Excellency on behalf of the Women’s Forum’s for whatever has led to the relieving of the duties of our sisters.”