Marginalise and Vulnerable Groups to be Considered

GVWC Communication Unit

he Director of Administration and Finance at the GumaValley Water Company, Lahai Kanu has assured that the concerns of vulnerable groups (persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with disabilities, Ebola survivors, the Aged, etc.) will be considered in the 2023 budget estimate that GUMA will be submitting to the Ministry of Finance during this year’s budget hearing.

Mr. Kanu made this disclosure in a meeting with Budget Advocacy Network (BAN) and eight other organizations representing marginalized and vulnerable persons on Thursday 1st September, 2022, at the GumaBuilding. “We have noted your concerns and challenges, and we recognized the need for water supply to be made available. We are always ready to support even though we are currently operating with a limited budget. Nevertheless, we shall ensure that your concerns are factored into our 2023 budget that we shall be presenting to the Ministry of Finance,” he remarked. 

In his statement, the Coordinator of Budget Advocacy Network, Abu Bakarr Kamara said the Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 provides for increasing investment and welfare assistance to persons with disabilities and the vulnerable. Mr. Kamara added that the Sustainable Development Goals are about the concept of “leaving no one behind” and that Goal 3 is seeking to ensure healthy life and promote wellbeing for all at all ages; whilst Goal 6 is about achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030. 

The BAN Coordinator encouraged the Management of GUMA to include the marginalized and vulnerable groups in their 2023 Budget estimate with a view to providing reliable and sustainable water supply especially for the homes of the aged.

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A Registration Center @ Thunder Hill Community

“To swim across a river, one must start at the shore,” according to a well-known African adage. On the 3rd of September 2022, a good number of Sierra Leoneans, mainly age 18 and above, went to the different registration centers across the country to participate in the voter registration exercise. 

Before the said date, the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) which is the body responsible for the country’s electioneering processes, through its commissioner, announced the official date for the starting of the voter registration exercise ahead of the 2023 general elections. On the said date, Sierra Leoneans came out in huge numbers to register. This is one of the many national issues where Sierra Leoneans have demonstrated oneness. 

If one must effect change, he must lead as an example. Hence, as witnessed by this media, the first family of the Republic of Sierra Leone, HE Excellency Julius Maada Bio and the First Lady, Fatima Bio were earlier seen at Hockey Pitch, a registration center partaking in the registration process. Going further, among many other stakeholders, the former president, Ernest Bai Koroma was also spotted at a registration centerdemonstrating the same.

As the process continues, it is now clear to everyone that the road to the country’s general elections has been taken and that Sierra Leoneans (eligible voters) are all ready to vote comes 2023. Talking through this medium, many people at different centers expressed their enthusiasm and satisfaction with the registration process so far. 

Isatu Kamara (not her real name), a resident of the Thunder Hill community affirmed that the registration process is a big step in ensuring citizens the democratic right to vote during the general elections. “I am registering today so that I will have the chance to vote during the forthcoming general elections. If one wants to vote for or to change the setting government, he/she must first register and vote. My vote is my right,” she remarked.

However, there have been some challenges at some of the registration centers and the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, who is aware of those challenges, through a press release dated 3rd September 2023, has called on citizens to exercise patience as the commission is working harder to overcome these challenges to ensure credibility in the registration exercise.

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