John Baimba Sesay
Increasing the number of women in decision making positions at both national and local levels remains core to President Koroma’s years in governance. Successfully, his government mainstreamed gender in the public sphere, demonstrated by his appointment of women either as ministers or heads of departments or agencies.
The decentralization process was, amongst other reasons, to ensure effective service delivery as well as directly involve people in determining their development. Such drive by government led to an unmatched increase and flow of funds to councils from central government, with the devolution process accelerated across the country.
Women are vital in promoting local governance. The 2004 Local Government Act makes provision for the appointment of at least five women as members of each Ward Committee, according to Section 95 (2). Such Ward Committees are, amongst other functions, to “(a) mobilize residents of the ward for the implementation of self-help and development projects; (b) provide a focal point for the discussion of local problems and needs…”
The decision by the All People’s Congress to put Madam Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr forward as Mayoral Candidate for Freetown Municipality is not only wise and timely, it also has placed the Party in better standing, when it comes to discussions on implementing reforms and policies geared towards reducing gender inequalities and improving the status of women in society.
Madam Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr not only has great passion about Freetown, she has passion about the growth of the whole country. When given the opportunity, by voting Aki-Sawyerr, you are voting for a person who can definitely provide the City the leadership it takes to effectively manage her(City) affairs. She knows the issues, and above all the challenges the city is faced with.
With women making a major component of the country’s capital given their engagement in trading activities, and being the only female aspirant, she can be better placed to also promote gender related issues.
Yvonne Aki-Sawyer can make a good Mayor. Her recent engagements with stakeholders and especially market women across the capital have helped her get a better view of the core issues in ensuring a well planned and managed city.
Beyond the gender factor is her experience, which will also be very instrumental in her role as mayor when elected in the coming weeks .
Given her “over 25 years of experience in strategic planning, risk management and project management in the public and private sectors,” as well as being a Chartered Accountant, her roles in the various institutions she has served and the results she has proudly produced makes her the best choice amongst all other candidates for the job. She is smart, result- oriented and one that can articulate issues and policies effectively.
Yvonne Aki-Sawyer needs no further introduction. She has, in diverse ways, supported disadvantaged children and young people in the country, through Sierra Leone War Trust (SLWT), a charity she co-founded in April, 1999. She was Investment Director of International Development Enterprise Associates Ltd (IDEA), owners and developers of the Hilton Freetown Cape Sierra Hotel, where she helped “raise international financing for IDEA projects and for local stakeholder management.
Her role in ensuring international awareness of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone was outstanding. She later served as Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC). It was “in recognition of her contribution to the Ebola response efforts, Yvonne was awarded an Ebola Gold Medal by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone in December, 2015, and was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom in January 2016.”
She also worked as Delivery Team Lead for the President’s Recovery Priorities, “the second phase of a multi-stakeholder programme to drive sustainable socio-economic transformation in Sierra Leone post Ebola.” She is reported to have played a decisive role in ensuring a blueprint and later, in the execution of “Operation Clean Freetown.” (Source: http://www.yvone4mayor.com).