While the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act provides for a female representation of 30%, Section 3 (1) states that “the President may take due consideration of the possibility of appointing women to at least 30%.” The operational term in the legal clause is (may) which speaks to improbability and not compulsory.
The 2022 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act states that the President is to appoint 30% of women into cabinet positions.
The passing into law of the 2022 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Act was greeted with strong sentiments mostly among women who felt they have been finally liberated in Sierra Leone. But debates among gender rights groups whether the law mandates the president the former has been continuing.
SLAJ i-Verify Sierra Leone has looked at the claim above and found out that contrary to what many believe, the GEWE Act 2022 does not mandate the president to appoint 30% of women in cabinet position.
Section 3 (1) of the Act states that: “In making appointments to cabinet and other government positions, the President (may) take (due consideration) of the possibility of appointing women to at least 30%.” The key words in the above clause are “may” and “consideration” and by grammatical and legal parameters, both words speak to high improbability.
In plain language, the law as seen above, does not compel or command the president to provide a 30% quota of female representation in cabinet or any other political office in Sierra Leone.
With the use of the clause “due consideration” in the above section it is clear that the provision is conditional on the president to act on it or not.
In addition, the Minister of Gender and Children’s Affairs, Manty Tarawalli in a conversational series organised by power women 232 Thursday, confirmed that the GEWE Act is not a directive on the president, but rather an appeal subject to the president’s discretion to appoint 30% of women in cabinet positions in Sierra Leone.
“It is not a directive for the president to do but it is encouraging the president to do” Ms Tarawalli said.