On 26/July 2022, Hundreds of women converged at the House of Parliament to lobby Parliamentarians for the passing of the Land Rights and the National Land Commission Bills that are currently being discussed in the house of Sierra Lone. The bill, among other things, seeks to give women the rights to own land, use land and inherit the land.
Honourable Rebecca Sei Sam of Constituency 029 Kailahun district enlightened the women on the role of members of Parliament, noting that it is not the responsibility of MPs to bring development to their constituencies but to enact laws, among other things. She pledged her support for laws that will address issues that women are faced with. She noted that women play a crucial role in various homes, adding that they are sometimes breadwinners of their families.
The issues of land are security issues, she said because so many conflicts happen because of land. “If women have access to land and own land, they will make something meaningful out of it and that will ensure peaceful co-existence in our societies.”
The Honorable urged men in the constituency to support their women, especially because of the role they play in various homes, while also urging the women to continue to support each other to strengthen unity among them. She said if this is done, the sky will be their limit.
She further encouraged the women to be in full conformity with the laws of the land and continue to channel their wishes in a constructive manner.
National Coordinator for Women’s Network against Rural Plantation Injustice who doubles as Station Manager, Culture Radio, Aminata Finda Massaquio remains convinced that the bill, if enacted will bring considerable changes in women’s lives whom she believes, over the years, been marginalized.
“Unlike Freetown where women can own land if they have the resources and if they so desire, women in the provinces do not enjoy the same, for our tradition has deterred women from acquiring land in these areas,” she added.
She continued that part of the bills, especially the customary and land right, will empower the women to be able to own land, inherit the land, and use the land as they wish.
She recounted that there are situations where women are kicked out of their husband’s house upon the demise of their husband, noting that women living in the provinces do not have a law that covers them, hence, the need for the enactment of the bill, especially the Customary Land Rights Bill. “The bill if enacted will be a dream come true, for it will ensure that women have the right to belong,” she opined.
The Executive Director, Green Scenery, Joseph Rahall told Awoko Newspaper that the two bills that are before Parliament considers women’s issues very seriously, adding that it was in that spirit that women from across the country came to Parliament to lobby for the enactment of the bills.
Rahall remarked that the bill will ensure that women own land, access land and control land. He mentioned that women have faced many challenges over the years regarding land acquisition, noting that the proposed bill will change the trajectory.
He opined that most times when women enter into marriage, the biological side of their family almost disown them, and will further refuse them the opportunity to inherit property that their parents may have left behind. However, Rahall remained optimistic that the bill will be enacted, noting that there is political will.
Ya Marie Kanu, who came from Maronko Community, Yankaysa Section Makeni Bombali district told Awoko Newspaper that the bill, if enacted, will benefit her as well as her family.
Kanu revealed that she had once found herself in a situation where she needed land but could not acquire one because of the discriminatory law governing land in the provinces. It is her hope that the bill will be enacted to remedy that situation. For information, contact https://awokonewspaper.sl/women-lobby-parliament-over-national-land-rights-bills/