16th December 2018
Public Affairs Ministry Romances Political Parties to Dialogue Vital National Issues!
By Siraju Ba (24/10/18)
The purported dialogue forum is to create the platform for open and frank discussions on national cohesion and good governance in Sierra Leone.
This brilliant idea was born recently as the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs (MPPA) engaged chairpersons and secretaries of the various political parties at the conference room of the Ministry of Information and Communication on Monday October 8, to discuss pertinent issues relating to the hosting of a national dialogue forum in Freetown. (Photo: Public Affairs Minister Foday Yumkella).
This move is part of the rebranding of the ministry and the implementation of its core mandate as liaison between government and political parties, civil society organizations and the ordinary citizens.
Representatives from the various parties made salient contributions ranging from the role political parties should play in a transitional democracy and their role in the governance process.
Addressing participants, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs Foday Yumkella emphasised the need to have a national dialogue forum where stakeholders of all political parties will come together and discuss issues of national importance with a view to actively participate in the governance process of the state.
He noted that one of the core functions of a political party as enshrined in the 1991 Constitution Act No 6 is to participate in shaping not only the political will of the people but also social and economic programmes of national character.
It was against this backdrop that the Minister called on all political parties to endeavour to fulfill that part of their mandate in order to build the trust between political parties and the electorates.
Ambassador Yumkella reiterated that the meeting provides a platform for political parties to frankly discuss how they want the proposed dialogue forum to be organised and to discuss the issues in order to re-design the way political programmes are implemented.
He encouraged political party representatives to make genuine contributions in deciding how the dialogue forum should be organised so that they themselves can be fully involved in the process.
The Minister also used the opportunity to call on political parties to support his Ministry noting that he has a very proactive Permanent Secretary who is willing and ready to make the Ministry even more vibrant. "We want you to take ownership of the process and we provide technical support as and when needed," Mr. Yumkella stated.
The Deputy Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Amara Kallon, noted that political parties should take the lead in developing a national agenda so that in subsequent elections political parties will only campaign on the strategies they would use to achieve the national agenda.
Mr. Kallon argued that if the country has a national agenda, as experienced in developed countries like the US, politicians will not have room to design their own programmes but rather focus on strategies to implement the already designed national programmes geared towards national development.
He said political parties will take the lead in advocating for that kind of arrangement so that it will be included as an entrenched clause in the reviewed constitution.
Representatives of the various political parties made commitments and assured the Ministry of their unflinching support in organising the national dialogue forum.