The focus of the meeting by the CSOs was for them to put out a position paper on how they want to see the country develop during after Bintumani III.
Engagements like this are very important for CSOs to discuss national issues where they can use the opportunity to reflect on how they want Civil Society to be in the near future.
According to Madam Samba Sesay they have been looking at critical issues around constitutionalism on how they should build a cohesive society and make sure they deepen the peace.
“A number of organizations are represented across the country and over the past two days we have been deliberating on these issues; we also tries as best as possible to get the voices of Persons with Disability,” Madam Samba Sesay said, adding that they have used the space to reflect on the role of civil societies in the current dispensation.
She went on to say that it is very important that the question of inclusion is pertinent and that people want to see opportunities created for them and government delivering to their expectation.
National Network Coordinator West Africa Network for Peace Building, Dr. Isata Mahoi said the conference is as a result of the government’s initiative following lengthy recommendations since 2015 during the constitutional review for the need for a national peace infrastructure.
Bintumani III according to Dr. Mahoi will be looking into things that have to do with peace building and how to solve societal problem in the country, adding that it will also look at issues relating to peace and national cohesion in Sierra Leone.
“We as Civil Society have agreed that we need an Independent Commission on National Peace and Cohesion because oftentimes institutions like ours get polarized with people’s interference,” Dr. Mahoi said, adding that People with Disabilities have also recommended that they too need to be included in all governance issues and developmental aspects.
Chief Executive Officer Advocacy Movement Network and also Consultant for the Bintumani III Process, Hawa Samai said the Bintumani III conference emanates from President Bio’s statement in Parliament last year to set up a commission for peace and cohesion.
“From his statement I was hired to do a research on why the country needs a peace commission; and this research looked at what we have as Sierra Leoneans in term of peace. We are third in Africa and first in our sub-region but we are not content and we won’t be complacent but keep on pushing forward,” Madam Samai said.
She disclosed that the research also looked at other peace commissions in Africa, citing that they looked at nine different models from other countries across Africa to suit what is happening in our country and how to address issues even down to chiefdom level. And we also realized that the only similarity between the different peace commissions is that they all come about by an Act of Parliament.
Madam Samai went on to say that the Bintumani III is to show how Sierra Leone wants to consolidate its hold on peace and for people to see how they can make the country become first in Africa in terms of peace and national cohesion.