We cannot just confine women in the kitchen says Maada Bio
The former head of State and SLPP Presidential Candidate for 2012 elections has told hundreds of Sierra Leoneans in London that the country cannot just confine women in the kitchen.
Speaking at a luncheon sale event on Saturday, 25th October at Bells Garden Community Centre organised by the newly established Julius Maada Bio Women’s wing, United Kingdom, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio said that as a country we have to do more to empower women to play active roles in development and politics. He said he has always believed in women and that is why in the 2012 elections he chose a woman, namely Dr. Kadie Sesay as his running mate because he believes men and women should be partners in development. Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio said he made that decision to choose a woman as a running mate because that was the right decision. He thanked the women for organising themselves into a very formidable group to support him which he hoped will be used to empower and help other women in Sierra Leone.
The Rtd Brig. Julius Maada Bio also used the opportunity to appeal to all SLPP members for Unity in the party. He said that for now we should not focus our energies on flagbearer elections because the time is not now rather we should focus our attention in uniting the party and make it more formidable to prepare the party for governance.
The 2012 Presidential Candidate also said that people want to join the party now because SLPP has a very good chance of forming the next government so they have started making noise about flagbearership but he said SLPP members are not stupid. It was at that point he joked that even in a social club nobody becomes a member today and becomes a club president the next day. He also made similar analogy to a football club that even the best players if they are bought in a new club today they don’t become captain in the first game as they have to play few matches.
The former Head of State also made reference to a previous speaker who earlier said that the two most popular politicians in the country are President Koroma and Maada Bio and he asked “If President Koroma is not contesting again for APC, is it not common sense that the only person who will take SLPP to state house is Maada Bio?”
However, the Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio emphasised that SLPP is a democratic party so everybody should be welcome to the party and that when the time comes for the flagbearership the people of SLPP will elect their flagbearer for the next election. On the SLPP flagbearership election he confidently said “The time for SLPP flagbearership election is not now. When the time comes I will not be here (London) rather I will be on the ground. When I get on the ground those who are making noise in my absence will hide when I get on the stage.” He also joked “When the cat is away, the mice will come out and play”.
Other speakers at the event were Chairman, SLPP UK and Ireland Region, Mr Jimmy Bartilo Songa, the Women’s Leader, SLPP UK and Ireland, Mrs Kenye Sandi, the Chairman Council of Elders, Mr. Steven Swaray, Madam Beatrice Wusei and Chairlady of the Julius Maada Bio, Women’s wing, Mrs. Bernadette Weyatta Songa.
Chairman Jimmy Bartilo Songa used his speech to call on the party members to unite in the interest of the party. He thanked the women for organising such an SLPP event which shows that despite the challenges in the party the women have shown that SLPP is a family. He stressed that the decision for whom to be the flagbearer of the party is a matter for the people but everyone should now focus on uniting the party.
For her part, the SLPP Women’s Leader, Mrs. Kenye Sandi spoke about the need for the party to recruit more women to participate in politics and that such women organisation will provide a platform. She called on women in the branch to be united. She made reference to the Pakistani female activist and Nobel Prize Recipient, Malala Yousafzai whom she said should be an inspiration to many women for the remarkable work she has done.
The Chairman Council of Elders, Mr. Steven Swaray also added his voice to the unity call and thanked the women for the invitation. He advised that the women should use such an organisation to also reach out to other women to unite the party and proposed that the women should use valentine’s day to share love amongst the members of the branch. There was also another elderly advice from Madam Beatrice Wusei who gave a solemn speech as one of the female elders in the branch calling for party unity.
The Chairlady of the Julius Maada Bio Women’s wing, UK, Mrs Bernadette Weyatta Songa explained about the purpose of the women’s wing which she said is to galvanise women to support the candidacy of Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio. She said that her organisation is made of elegant women who believe in the SLPP and they want to use their political rights as SLPP members to support a candidate who will return the SLPP to government in 2017. She said through the organisation they intend to empower more women and provide assistance to less privilege women in Sierra Leone.
There were lots of delicious food and drinks during the luncheon sale and activities including a raffle draw, music for children and a dancing competition amongst the Julius Maada Bio women. The raffle prices were jointly distributed by Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio and Chief Executive Officer, Jumbo UK. Majority of the guests at the event including many of the SLPP UK and Ireland executive members had their green and white t-shirts with the face of Julius Maada Bio and the inscription Julius Maada Bio Women’s Wing to show solidarity with the SLPP women.
The event was also attended by majority of the SLPP UK and Ireland Executive members including the Vice Chairman, Nathaniel Sandi, Legal Adviser Mr. Prince Goba and other guests included the former SLPP Chairman UK and Ireland, Mr. Tamba Lamina, former Secretary Generals Dr. Abu Karim and Mr Sarjoh Aziz Kamara. The MCs for the luncheon sale event were Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio and Mrs. Baindu Dassama.
By Yusuf Keketoma Sandi
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