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Towards a national conference

The talk about a national conference seems to be dying now after the messy 50ieth anniversary celebrations.
The idea was to have a national dialogue where a couple of pressing issues will be examined on a broad and national basis as opposed to the partisan politically skewed debates that have been raging of late.
It was suggested by the President that the national conference would afford us the opportunity to look back at what has been achieved over the past 50 years, examine our attitudes and approach as a nation to issues confronting us, and chart the way forward.
These are all laudable ideals therefore we wonder why the subject seems now to be smothered under the carpet.
For us we believe that the national conference or dialogue must go on (and most importantly) in a non partisan way.
We believe that issues like the term of office of the presidency must be reviewed.
In Nigeria the debate is now to change from a four year period of two terms to a six year period and one term presidency.
This is interesting for us in Sierra Leone here where we have a five year period of two terms.
The argument is that the period is too short (5yrs) and does not allow the President enough time to carry out medium to long term projects. This is especially so because it is common to African governments that in the first year of an opposition party in office they begin witch hunting the former government and dismantling all programmes which are good because they will serve to give credit to the rule of the former government.
Well into the second year they begin to realise that they must start doing something and the political cries of the former government having left behind an empty treasury and bad programs have begun sounding hollow. This goes on until the third year when they then start planning to do something, and when this happens it is now two years to the next election so the move becomes geared towards quick visible projects that would be pointed out in the forthcoming political campaign to justify a continuation. This however does not augur well for the overall development of the country because these quick fix programs are normally badly executed and do not serve the long term aspirations of the country.
There is no doubt that this is an interesting proposition which should form part of the national debate. For this we would support a dialogue on the term of office for the president, because we want development on a sustained and long term basis.
It would however be interesting to listen to the political parties debate this and let us see them expose their.

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