Almami Fanding Taal, the newly appointed spokesman of the United Democratic Party, UDP, has said that Gambians should demand our leaders have a track record, the qualification and the competence to lead people.
Speaking to The Standard recently, Mr Taal a trained lawyer and former high court judge, questioned the relevance of having high school education as a minimum requirement to presidential aspirants in The Gambia, describing it as very basic.
“For a very long time, politics has been uncompetitive. Apart from UDP and PDOIS, most of these parties are populated by people with absolutely no qualification or no experience about how to manage things. It is for the electorate to stop and think about it. Why are we not professionalizing political leadership? Why is it in our constitution that if you have a high school education you can be the president of a country? That is a very basic qualification for one to be engaged in this kind of politics,” he said.
Taal said if people with such low educational background are given the highest office, they tend to push forward a dangerous agenda which divides people.
“Therefore once you are engaged, you start looking for other things that are going to divide the communities that form the Gambia because we have different linguistic communities but we have one country. We are all one Gambia and we are one tribe,” he said.
Expounding on the need for people to rise above ethnic politics, Taal said: “I have always said this and even before I was appointed as the spokesperson of the UDP that anybody, whether a political leader or a political commentator, who raises the specter of ethnicity or tribal allegiance clearly doesn’t understand the history of the Gambia and the history of the Sahel for that matter where we all hail from.”
“There are very few people who are purely one-tribe. But quite apart from that, what are the challenges of the Gambia? Do they not cut across all tribal lines? They do. The problems of unemployment, youth desperation and hopelessness, poverty, all these problems call for a united front and any leader who’s worth his salt should be proposing agendas that are going to be transformational. As far as I am concerned, there are only two ethnic groups in the world: those that have something and those that have nothing. So we should try as much in the Gambia to start to think about the new kind of politics,” he concluded.