Sierra Leone News: Women standing against corruption
Large groups of women from across the country converged in Freetown on International Anti-Corruption Day to attend a one-day conference. This year’s anti-graft day was celebrated on the theme, “Women Standing Against Corruption,” at the Catco Hall along Wilkinson Road in Freetown last week.
More than 80% of women belong to the marginalized cadre of society sustaining themselves and their families through farming, cattle rearing and other forms of trade. Most of them are living with per capital income of less than $2 a day while over two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line.
The senior lecturer and Head of Department Peace and Conflict Studies, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, Memunatu Pratt, said they would be focusing on how corruption affects the lives of women including deprivations from fair share of natural resources to participation in effective processes and mechanisms of fighting corruption.
The keynote speaker highlighted, “In spite of the fact that Sierra Leone has endorsed the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1990, adapted the National Policy on the Advancement of women and the National Policy on gender mainstreaming and the three gender acts on marriage, devolution of estate and inheritance.”
“The 2012 Sexual Offences Act, the UNSCR Resolution 1325, 1820, 1888 and other resolutions and declarations, a dedicated pillar on Gender Equality in the Agenda for Prosperity, there are still inherent challenges before realization of women’s equality is actualized.”
Pratt highlighted that corruption deters development, which leads to wastages of resources and costs the country enormous losses in revenue generation hence it also undermines economic development of the country. She said corruption exists in public procurement and contracts, which results in either higher prices or lower quality services. She said they have greater need of health care services and sometimes subjected to sexual extortion in lieu of bribes as women in many part of the world have higher chance of experiencing corruption in their daily lives. She said corruption denies women and girls of their rights, prevents them from actualizing their potential and even puts their lives at risk especially when face with social, cultural, political and institutional discrimination.
Commissioner Theresa Tenneh Oniel from the Public Service Commission described their role as instrumental in the fight stating that most corrupt practices are learn at home. She said they will serve as ambassadors to preach on petty corrupt practices at home, in market places, offices and other private sectors, which according to her, if well handle corruption will be minimize greatly.
Kama Hassan Kamara from the Western Area Rural District accepted the fact that they play major role in promoting bad practices that leads to corruption in the home. She said if all the women are corrupt free, homes will be paradise and the fight against corruption will be an easy task by government. The conference saw presentations on key topics on corruption in the business sector, women, politics and corruption, and a communiqué on the fight against corruption by women.
By Mohamed Kabba
Monday December 11, 2017.