By Omar Bah
Activist and political researcher, Sait Matty Jaw, has advised National Assembly Members to stop politicising matters of national interest or unnecessarily bowing to public pressure to avoid throwing away potential good laws too easily.
Speaking in reaction to the number of bills rejected in the Assembly during the just concluded ordinary session, Mr Jaw said he has observed a trend where members will reject any bill they feel they don’t like or public perception does not seem to support.
“They don’t even ask what the constitution or their standing order says about issues but blindly follow the public debate and, in the process, ignore the issue and all relevant information and law. Of course, people centered debates are necessary, but as a citizen my expectation is that they will explore all information available and further engage where they need clarity because it is laziness to kill debate or progressive laws prematurely just because they are controversial or sensitive.”
“We just pick sides and sometimes on very parochial issues and that is not the way to build a country especially one that has been chained for two decades. The role of leaders is to lead and leadership includes communicating and engaging constituents, asking and answering the hard questions. Now, when you summarily kill a bill, my question is what message are you really sending? ” he asked.
Jaw said Gambians want performing politicians not those that derelict their duties when in public office and engage in unending partisan politics, or those that opt for the easy way out. “The country needs politicians who are able to make the tough decisions that are necessary for the progress, peace and prosperity of our beloved nation today, and many years from today,” he added.
In the same vein, the activist said politicians particularly those in public office must be able to separate policy and politics.
“Policy is addressing the problems of society through inclusive means even where they don’t understand the direction whereas politics in this context is protecting “oneself”. It is very easy now to recognise those doing politics and those engaging in policy debates at the National Assembly thanks to live broadcasting of Assembly proceedings. Our duty as practitioners and academics is to document this and present it to the public for their consumption. In the process, identify those that are doing the collective bargain and those focusing on sectarian interest,” he concluded.