Difficult negotiations began in Sierra Leone on Monday, October 16, aimed at resolving the country’s political deadlock following the contested elections last June. In a context that has weakened the country, these talks are under the auspices of the African Union and ECOWAS and are eagerly anticipated.
The objective of this mediation is to bring the opposition back into the country’s governance. For the past four months, the APC has been boycotting all local councils and Parliament while continuing to reject the presidential election results, which it claims were “rigged” in favor of President Julius Maada Bio.
Apart from two rebellious members of parliament who agreed to sit in the legislature, the ruling SLPP party has governed without opposition, an unprecedented situation since the adoption of the multi-party system in 1991.
Former Gambian Vice President Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang leads this mediation mission. She arrived in Freetown on Friday, October 13, expressing her “joy” to be in the Sierra Leonean capital to support the peace process. She met with President Julius Maada Bio and his rival Samura Kamara. Both men will not attend the talks but will be represented by their spokespersons.
What this country needs is reason, cohesion, and peace
Despite their absence, their role is crucial, according to political analyst Idriss Mahmadou Tarawallie: “Both political camps have staunch policy supporters. Members of the ruling party maintain their position: the elections are over, and they have won. Too bad for those who are just whining.
As for the opposition, they accept nothing less than the publication of the final results, polling station by polling station, with a view to new general elections. It is therefore incumbent upon the leaders to calm their supporters because what this country needs is reason, cohesion, and peace.”
In addition, the trial of opposition leader Samura Kamara on corruption charges will resume next week. In this context, mediation will also play a role in establishing a climate of trust before this meeting.