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Barrow to host dialogue with political party leaders on Monday

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By Omar Bah

A preparatory multi-stakeholder committee assigned to facilitate national dialogue in The Gambia yesterday announced that President Adama Barrow has accepted its recommendation for him to meet all political party leaders on Monday.

The meeting to be hosted at the State House will give all political party leaders the opportunity to make statements on the theme of the political environment for sustainable peace and stability.

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Addressing journalists yesterday at a press conference in Banjul, Amie Bojang-Sissoho, director of press and public relations at the Office of the President and chairperson of the preparatory committee, said the proposed meeting is in response to calls for an urgent need for a national dialogue in The Gambia.

“The president has taken a decision that a national preparatory committee be set up and tasked with leading national dialogues. That national dialogue should consist of individuals and institutions across the board. The committee was inaugurated on January 30, and the members were briefed on their tasks and roles. Since that day, the committee has been very active,” she said.

She said as it is our collective responsibility in preserving our nation, safeguarding the state, and securing our resources, the theme was thoroughly discussed and approved.

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“The president has also approved a recommendation from the committee for him to meet political party leaders for a political dialogue on February 12. The president will be there to host the party leaders and other stakeholders who will be attending the meeting. The idea behind the meeting is to introduce a national dialogue where stakeholders will talk to each other, look at the issues, and see how to address them. All the 19 political parties in the country will be written to and requested to nominate two people to accompany their party leaders,” he said.

She said February 14 has also been designated for stakeholders to discuss thematic issues bothering the country.

“Six thematic areas have been identified for that day, and members of the preparatory committee have been divided into six teams who will facilitate the February 14 meeting. They will thoroughly discuss the topics and prepare the ground for the final meeting, which will be held on February 16,” she said. She said, following the national dialogue last year, it has been recommended that February 16 be designated as a National Day of Dialogue.

“It is envisaged that it will give the nation the opportunity to sit together and discuss issues that are affecting us and brainstorm together,” she said.

The chairman of the YMCA and member of the committee, John Charles Njie, commended the president for initiating such a noble call for Gambians to discuss and engage in dialogue.

“It shows that as a nation we are growing and that the leadership of this nation really wants us to come together and work together. We want to appeal to all those invited to please attend because we have been calling for this and now we have the opportunity,” he appealed.

He said the six thematic areas include: The Political Environment for Sustainable Peace and Stability, Religious Tolerance for Social Cohesion, Ethnic Diversity for National Unity, Securing Sovereignty, Safeguarding Stability and Wellbeing, Media Safeguarding the Democratic Space, and Irregular Migration and Empowerment.

In September 2023, a number of opposition parties told The Standard that they were not opposed to any dialogue or engagement proposed by the ruling National People’s Party or President Adama Barrow.

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