The term national dialogue is now frequently used in many countries, including The Gambia and Senegal. In these instances it is the government that initiates meetings with opposition parties, state based groups, the other arms of the state, civil society entities and traditional rulers in order to discuss thematic issues with a view to building consensus on them.

There is need to throw more light on the subject matter. It should be understood that a multi-party system comes with differences between political parties on how to bring peace and prosperity to a country. Such differences should not lead to antagonism. Unfortunately, in many countries nation building has not reached a level where all are committed to national unity irrespective of political differences which should lead to debates and peaceful political contests to seek the mandate of the people. Under such circumstances, dialogue would take the form of consultation on key issues aimed at building consensus in law or policy making or their implementation.

On the other hand, the differences in political parties could lead to antagonism and violence. Such antagonisms are often addressed by promoting national dialogue which takes the form of mediation, conciliation and conflict resolution. Those who convene national dialogue therefore must define the purpose.

Foroyaa will follow the developments in Senegal and the aftermath of the meetings in The Gambia in order to draw the attention of the people to the key reasons for holding them. Foroyaa will publish a supplement containing a letter addressed to Senegal and the other stakeholders and a written presentation of a message delivered during The Gambia Government meeting with political parties to keep the readers informed.