Benin: Mathias Hounkpè’s opinion on the political dialogue

Tomorrow, Thursday 10 October 2019, the political dialogue announced by the government will begin. This meeting, initiated as part of the resolution of the political crisis, did not leave political scientist Mathias Hounkpè indifferent and gave his opinion on the subject.

Nine (09) political parties are expected to participate in the political dialogue that starts tomorrow. Apart from the controversy caused by the announced absence of some invited parties, Mathias Hounkpè wondered about the conditions for convening the aforementioned dialogue, the actors convened, the objectives pursued.

According to the political scientist, the Government Spokesman in his conceptual clarification of the political dialogue did not convince. Indeed, the Minister wanted to justify the priority given to political parties to take part in the dialogue. In his clarification, Alain Orounla notified that this is a political dialogue and not a “National Dialogue”, let alone a National Conference.

Inconsistencies raised

For Mathias Hounkpè, the reason given to justify the exclusion of certain actors such as civil society activists does not hold water.

Indeed, it is, at the very least, extremely questionable to dare to affirm that because dialogue is said to be political, it would only concern political parties. Even in the latter case, where it is only one of a meeting between political parties, non-partisan actors may well have a role to play depending on the nature of the problem. Recent political history is full of examples showing that the presence and often decisive role played by non-partisan actors has enabled the country to either avoid the occurrence of serious crises or to emerge from them from the top and preserve peace and stability.

Similarly, it is equally questionable to claim that, since the dialogue should focus on electoral matters, it is only the business of political parties! By the way, the Minister is not the first to create this kind of confusion. If that were so true, why should we, as ordinary citizens, be involved in electoral processes?

Calling things by name….

Mathias Hounkpè invites the initiators of this dialogue not to create confusion. “The Head of State is free to choose to hold a meeting between the parties of the governing coalition to discuss their positions on the electoral code and the conditions for holding the upcoming elections. It is enough to be precise and to call things by their name, without seeking or helping to create confusion in people’s minds. Benin, under the current conditions, does not need it,” he concluded.

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