By Abdul Rahman Suagibu –
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS, Freetown, Sierra Leone- May 17th, 2019 the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio arrived in Abidjan Ivory Coast on a one day working visit. This followed President Bio’s snap visit last week to neighboring Guinea for talks with the Guinean President Alpha Conde. It is comprehended that; president Bio is having talks with regional heads of states concerning the ongoing political-de-sac between his government and the main opposition All People’s Congress party (APC).
The opposition APC is strongly refusing to engage with the government, after accusing the ruling SLPP and the president of Human Rights Abuses and unconstitutional behavior in and out of parliament; accusations of which the ruling party have denied.
President Bio has beckoned for a national peace conference-dubbed Bintumani 111, involving political parties, religious leaders, civil society and stakeholders to discuss the growing political differences.
There are doubting to the masses about the relevance of a national peace conference, just a little over 12 months after the president was selected most of the concerns raised by the opposition APC, rest largely on the effectiveness of the judiciary in concluding petitions brought before the courts against its party’s parliamentarians, the sacking of opposition party supporters from public service and dispute over the use of Standing Others in parliament.
Also, the decision by the Sierra Leone Police Force to change the security staff of erstwhile president Ernest Bai Koroma who is doubling as the Chairman and Leaders of the opposition APC without consultation; as not gone down well with the APC.
This as further pave a political chasm between the government and the APC, fueling a deep sense of political unrest and tension in the country.
Regional Leaders are hoping that, through dialogue both the government and the opposition APC can resolve their political gorges.
Concluding his visit to Abidjan last Friday, both leaders held a joint press conference, but making no reference to political tension in Sierra Leone.
President Ouattara said that both countries will work on a joint commission to loot at many areas of cooperation between the two countries. Air Cote d’Ivoire will soon resume flight to Sierra Leone.
On trade, president Ouattara said that, his country will be sending trade missions to Sierra Leone which will include Ivorian private sector Leaders to look at trade and investment opportunities.
During their talks, both president discussed various issued including national security and the threats of terrorism in the sub-region, electricity project that will provide energy across the Mano River Union Countries, the proposed single currency for ECOWAS countries, and the need for member states to make a strong statement supporting the proposal to promote economic integration in the sub-region.
For New Africa Business News Abdul Rahman Suagibu Reports, Africa Correspondent