Fostering inclusive and accountable political conversations in Sierra Leone

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Fostering inclusive and accountable political conversations in Sierra Leone

February 03rd, 2020

By Alusine Diamond-Suma, Programme Coordinator, WFD Sierra Leone

In January 2020, WFD worked with the University of Makeni in Sierra Leone to organise a panel discussion about citizen participation in enhancing inclusive and accountable politics.

The panel comprised:

  • Honourable Dr Kandeh Yumkella, leader of the National Grand Coalition (NGC) and former presidential candidate-
  • Honourable Ibrahim Tawa Conteh of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP)winner of the “Best Member of Parliament of 2019 in Sierra Leone”-,
  • Hon Abdul Kargbo, a renowned young All Peoples Congress (APC) MP in the,
  • Executive Director of Campaign for Good Governance, Mrs Marcella Samba Sesay
  • the University of Makeni’s Good Governance Advisor,  Mr Gerald A. Sesay

The event attracted a total number of 629 participants, including students, members of the local community, politicians, and representatives of civil society organisation, the media and academia.

Students who attended were enthusiastic about the opportunity to interact with some of Sierra Leone brightest politicians, and especially about the chance to gather information about the role of citizens, parliament, civil society organisations and the university in enhancing citizen participation.

Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions of the panellists directly and/or via Twitter with the hashtag #PoliticsWithValueSL. The panel discussion led to a high sense of being able to interact with decision-makers and acted as a call to action to participate in a political environment that is built on the premise of transparency and accountability.

The panellists expressed support for such educative platforms to be taking place in all the universities in Sierra Leone as it provides experience-based information on topical issues.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Makeni, Rev. Fr. Prof Joe Turay, said:

“This is one of the best engagements that has happened here after the elections debate. WFD team have shown us a new strategy to engage.”

Panellist Hon. Dr. Kandeh K. Yumkella said that, following the engagement,

“I feel we need to replicate this to other universities in Sierra Leone (FBC, NJALA & IPAM). #PoliticsWithValueSL is what we need in Sierra Leone right now”

Hon Abdul Kargbo making his opening statement

The panel discussion was an example of the great work that inclusive, transparent and accountable politics can yield if considered by all three functions of MPs Legislation, Representation and Oversight t. The panellists left very satisfied that the such panel discussion is the way to go in promoting inclusive and accountable politics.

The event, WFD’s first collaboration with a Sierra Leonean University, was hosted by Alusine Diamond-Suma (WFD) and Unisa P. Kamara (University of Makeni). The event was a success as this is the first collaboration of WFD and one of the Universities in Sierra Leone.

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