On April 12, 2023, Dr. Abass Bundu, the Honorable Speaker of Parliament of Sierra Leone, reiterated the legislation regarding women’s representation in the sixth Parliament after the upcoming June 24 elections.

In particular, he read out subsection 2 of section 58 of the Public Elections Act, 2022, which stipulates that “For every 3 candidates nominated under subsection (1), one of them shall be female.”

The Honorable Speaker’s announcement was prompted by a letter he had received from the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliament Association (CWPA), which highlighted the need for adequate female representation.

He emphasized that while Parliament had fulfilled its legislative responsibilities, it was now up to political parties and leaders to comply with the Act.

The Honorable Speaker urged the leaders of political parties participating in the upcoming elections to ensure strict adherence to the relevant provision in the Act.

He welcomed the Commonwealth Parliament Association’s initiative to sensitize political leaders on gender equality and gender equity and urged party leaders to convey the message to their leadership.

He cautioned that there are serious implications for non-compliance and pointed out that the world is watching.

In 2022, after the repeal and replacement of the Public Elections Act, of 2012, Parliament passed into law the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act, of 2022.

The Act provides for a minimum of 30% women in elective and appointive positions and improves women’s access to financial services and resources at government, non-governmental, and private sector levels.

The Public Elections Act 2022 requires political parties to comply with provisions, particularly for elected positions such as Members of Parliament and councilors. Failure to adhere will result in the rejection of their candidates’ list by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone.

Overall, Dr. Abass Bundu’s announcement underscores the importance of ensuring gender equality and representation in the country’s governance agenda.