All the 9 registered political parties that made up the Inter-Party Committee, yesterday convened under the auspices of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, HD, a Swiss private peace mediation foundation headquartered in Geneva.
According to HDs Senior Programme Manager for Anglophone West Africa, Dr Babatunde Afolabi the meeting is called to foster discussions on issues of national importance, including assessing how far they have come in implementing the committee’s objectives.
He said one objective of the Inter-Party is to ensure that Gambians live in a society where dialogue and cooperation between political parties will serve as a key stone in the promotion and consolidation of democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance in The Gambia.
“We have a programme specifically for The Gambia, and that is on supporting political dialogue in the country,” he said. Mr Babatunde also said given that the Inter-Party Committee represents all registered political parties in The Gambia, it is a broad platform for national dialogue.
HD has been working in the country for the past year, and has engaged the Coalition 2016 as well as convening other round-table meetings.
Dr Afolabi said it was hoped that at the end of the convergence, they would have initiated a culture of deliberating collectively on key national issues.
The chairperson of the Committee, Halifa Sallah said HD has been engaging The Gambia from the very beginning of the change [of government], which he said comes with building of instruments, institutions and standards of best practices in governance.
“These are international institutions established to look at transitional arrangements in order to have an input by way of solidarity in helping people in giving countries to build the instruments, institutions and standards of governance they wish to build.
“What they want to find out is how far the Inter-Party has gone in fulfilling its objectives. Essentially we are here to engage in discussion on how far we have gone to institutionalise the MoU of the Inter-Party Committee,” Mr Sallah said.