Osman Timbo, an elected member of parliament of Sierra Leone’s opposition All People’s Congress (APC) has said that his party has not commenced any dialogue with anybody on the outcome of the 2023 elections.

He said these after he was asked by the presenter of his party having a dialogue engagement with the Inter-Religious Council and the Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion.

He said he was pleased that the reporter called it an engagement rather than saying it was a dialogue. “I want to make it very clear to everyone that we have not started a dialogue with anybody, the party position continues to be the same that we will not partake in governance until certain things are done,” he said.

He went on to clarify that they did meet with the Inter-Religious Council but not for what was shared on the media.

He said, “Yes we met with the Inter-Religious Council on Monday, and on Tuesday we met with the Independent Commission otherwise called the Peace Commission, this was after the National Advisory Committee gave us the green light saying that these people have written to you on several occasions, it is high time you listen to them. We have made it clear that we don’t have confidence in the institution dealing with this because we have a problem with the government and as long as the Peace Commission is created by an Act of Parliament, it is a part of the government.”

He stated reasons for not trusting the Inter-Religious Council saying, “As well as the Inter-Religious Council, we have a problem with them because many things had been happening and they did nothing. We felt like many things had happened and they did nothing but want to sit and talk with us.”

Despite these reservations, Timbo emphasized that the APC acknowledges the importance of dialogue.

“Notwithstanding all these, we believe that all wars are settled on a table including the war in Ukraine at some point will end on a table. Even the Salone War was settled at a table discussion between Foday Sankoh, Con. Issa Sesay and others. In the same way, we believe say at the end of the day we will sit at a table and state our demands that we will talk through but we don’t want someone that is a player to come and be the judge. Similarly, football  teams will never allow someone of either party to be the referee but an independent person.”

He continued saying, “We believe that you cannot take part in the local institutions that we have issues with to sit and discuss with us. We don’t feel that they are independent enough. So we agree with the National Advisory Committee to sit and listen to them. We said okay you had asked for a meeting, and we are ready to listen to what you bring, both of them made it clear that they came to listen to the APC, to know the issues of the party and know what they could do moving forward. One thing we made clear is that firstly, we have to be very sincere meaning if you are coming to talk to me don’t talk to me like you did not understand what is happening, you know, I know, everyone knows locally as well as internationally what happens in the country so start from there. You must start where the problem came from and not come here asking about our problems which we already have stated on paper, radio, television interviews, and everywhere so it is public knowledge, so that is where you should start first.”

At the engagement, he said they asked them how they should participate and he said “One of the things we told them was that our confidence level in them was very low so we don’t feel that we want to engage them as someone that should sit between us. We don’t mind them being part of whatever process that will happen but we want as one of our demands that we get an independent external arbiter or an institution that will come between us and say what are your issues, what are your complaints? And let us talk through them. The reason that we are doing this is for the future so that it will not repeat itself.”