May 23, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The National Grand Coalition (NGC) yesterday stated that giving the current state of tensions in the country, they agreed with the government for a national dialogue on peace and national cohesion in Sierra Leone, but stated that political parties were not sufficiently involved in the process.
Even though they are still undecided as to whether they would attend today’s conference on peace and national cohesion dubbed “Bintumani III”, Chairman and Leader, Dr. Dennis Bright said: “It is time to break the destructive cycle and embrace a politics of inclusion. Sierra Leone political system perpetuates a vicious cycle in which winner takes all translates into benefits and it’s our turn to eat for few at the expense of others.”
There have been several calls for a postponement of the conference because enough consultation was not done with the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) saying they will not participate.
During a presser at the party’s office on Naimbana Street in Freetown, Dr. Bright said political parties were not allowed to have a say in the final decision to host the conference and that it should have been an all-inclusive process.
He noted that even though the NGC and some political parties were invited at the initial stage and had meetings with the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, where national dialogue was discussed, but for some reasons, political parties stayed out of the preparation.
“At the beginning, I believe there was an intention to include us but when the decision was taken to host Bintumani III, our inputs were not sort. We were not given the chance to contribute a single item to the content of the program itself,” he said.
He added that a conference of this nature should have taken onboard a lot of what individual political parties can contribute because they have been the cause to a large extent the problems faced and the insecurity in the country.
The NGC Chairman and Leader noted that they have only received ten (10) blank invitation cards to the opening ceremony but are yet to receive any particular invitation to attend the deliberations over the three days.
“We assume that the way the conference has been crafted, it does not bear much relevance to us as political parties. But we will see how the whole thing is designed. But to discussed the burning issues in our country and those things that are dividing us so that we can come together, I believe the political parties should have been at the center of this conference,” Dr. Bright noted.