This chapter examines the political pathway of women who choose to run as independent candidates, against all odds. It argues that while these women have many of the prerequisites to win, the stakes against them are high. A constellation of factors, described at length in this chapter, work against opting for independent candidacy as a pathway of engaging politically.
Most notably, the party system is too deeply entrenched to allow independent candidates, running as individuals, to contest power conglomerates which exercise political clout, have financial resources and, at times, do not shy away from using illegal means of influencing the political process.
Some of the questions that the chapter broaches include: Who are Sierra Leone’s women independent candidates? How have they survived in a political culture entrenched in political party loyalties? Is independent candidacy a viable political option for engaging in politics? Is there a positive correlation between gender discrimination and the emergence of female independent candidacy? If there is, what are female politicians and other actors doing to ensure gender equity in the country’s political system?