Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, mayoress of Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, was on Wednesday verbally and physically assaulted reports from the country have indicated.
Sawyerr according to some reports was attacked by members of the ruling Sierra Leones Peoples Party (SLPP).
Even though government has yet to officially comment on the development, journalists, human rights activists and civil society groups have roundly condemned the action of the aggressors.
There is a loud call for the government and the police to take swift action to ensure that those behind the attack are brought to book. Photos circulating on social media showed her with one arm in a sling.
Reactions to the attack on Madam Mayoress
— Abdul Tejan-Cole (@atejancole) May 24, 2018
#Freetown's female mayor, @yakisawyerr, was verbally and physically assaulted yesterday. Violence against women in politics is a major obstacle for women's political participation in #SierraLeone and the region. Authorities need to make sure there are systems to protect women.
— Sabrina Mahtani (@Sabrina_Mahtani) May 24, 2018
— Umaru Fofana (@UmaruFofana) May 24, 2018
Yvonne makes history in March 7 polls
Swayer made history in March 7 polls after winning the mayoral elections which formed part of general elections. The certified Chartered Accountant thus became the first female mayor since 1977 – 1980 when the position was held by one Dr June Holst-Roness.
According to records from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Sawyerr who run on the ticket of the then ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) beat five other competitors (all men) to the seat.
Her closest contender was candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). She polled over 309,000 votes representing 59.92% of votes as against the SLPP’s Raymond Desouza George who got 167,200 (32.36%). The others shared the remaining votes.
What she said after winning the vote
‘Freetonians this victory is for all of us. Thank you for believing in my vision and for giving me the honor to serve as your Mayor for the next four years. I look forward to working with all of you to make Freetown a city we are all proud of,’ she said after he election.
Her campaign website said about her: Yvonne is a finance professional with over 25 years of experience in strategic planning, risk management and project management in the public and private sectors.
A team player with a demonstrable record of leading institutional change, Yvonne is passionate about the development of Sierra Leone. She was sworn into office in May this year following ahead of the presidential inauguration.
She is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MSc in Politics of the World Economy (London School of Economics) and a BSc Hons in Economics (Fourah Bay College). She is married with two children.