Political Tensions: NGC Calls For National Dialogue - Salone Mirror News

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Political Tensions: NGC Calls For National Dialogue

The National Grand Coalition (NGC) party has said on Wednesday May 22, 2019, that, giving the current state of tension in the country, even over a year since the elections, we agree with the government this is the right time for a national dialogue on peace and cohesion.

The NGC party said that Sierra Leone’s political system perpetuates a vicious circle in which winner takes all translate into benefit and “it’s our turn to eat” for a few at the expense of others. “Our key message is, it times to break the destructive circle and embrace a politics of inclusion,” NGC said.

The party said that the government has put the cart before the horse and already concluded we need a new peace and national cohesion commission before consulting with the public.

The statement of the NGC came following controversies over the timing and the process of consultation of key stakeholders of the conference including the members of main opposition parties.

The two-day national peace and reconciliation conference scheduled by Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio will commence on May 23, 2019.

The Bintumani lll conference is the initiative of the President Bio, which is part of the bigger and broader vision to pursue the New Direction vision of an inclusive Sierra Leone.

The country’s main opposition All Peoples’ Congress (APC) has resolved to boycott the conference after meeting of its national executives, parliamentarians, mayors, chiefs, former ministers and other key stakeholders of the party at the Party headquarters in Freetown on Wednesday. Bintumani 3 they argue is a misleading tactics by President Bio and his chief minister aimed at further marginalisation of opposition parties, creating an overwhelming sense of national instability which will create a bad image of the country.

The party said that If the government is genuine about building national cohesion, President Bio should have taken the necessary steps away from the continued harassment of members of the All People's Congress and former functionaries of the Ernest Bai Koroma led government, remove blanket travel ban on members of the former APC government, pay benefits of hundreds of citizens sacked by the Bio administration and stop the unprecedented ethno-regional tensions being created by this regime.

Few days ago, the former vice president and leader of the minority opposition C4C party – Alhaji Sam-Sumana, turned down the president’s invitation to chair one of the sessions of the conference. The invitation was sent to the former president 7 days before the start of the conference.

The NGC said, “Indeed, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) recommendations should form the basis and starting point for addressing the underlying causes of threat to peace and national cohesion we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel.”

NGC position focuses on the key building blocks for peace and national cohesion where it believe effort should focus job for all not the connected few, justice for all with no discrimination and end to winner-takes all politics in favour of proportional representation and inclusion of women, young people, and people with disabilities into society and level playing field for everyone.

NGC Chairman Dr. Dennis Bright said, “The complexities of our current political malaise are rooted in our colonial legacy and postcolonial practices.”

“Navigating our way out of this mess will not be easy, but it is not impossible. We call upon President Julius Maada Bio to reduce the tension and pursue the détente. President Tejan Kabba Convened meetings in his home with top opposition leaders and even advised them whenever they were locked in intraparty strife. Peace and national cohesion depend now on President Bio’s ability and willingness to rise above the fracas and demonstrate true leadership,” the NGC Chairman said.

The NGC party calls on the government to present to parliament a set of concrete proposals for strengthening peace and national cohesion based on CRC and TRC recommendations in a white paper action plan for implementation with clear lines of accountability and the necessary resources and authority.

The party said that a commission should emerge from the people and be owned by them rather than be imposed top-down.

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