Letters: There are no “independents”


Dear editor,

As the race to the election in December heats up, there will be a lot of jockeying within political parties and among the various political parties. Because our politics is often transactional, many will continue to join political parties in the hope of some reward come January 2022. Many will transfer from one party to the other in order to angle themselves for some future opportunity. You’ll see many announcements about so and so joining this party or that. What you’ll not see a lot of is prominent business people pledging support for any political party! They do their’s in secret and oftentimes, they support more than one political party. I actually know of a prominent businessman who contributed to Jammeh’s 2016 elections and also donated to the coalition 2016 campaign! Talk about duplicity!


Given how things work in our neck of the woods, whoever wins will only likely reward their friends and those they think will serve their interest. And since government jobs are the only vehicle to riches and fame for many, I guess it’s understandable that those outside the government and even some inside, continue to position themselves for these lucrative jobs and opportunities! Supporting a political party is an investment for many! The return on this investment is government positions or some other opportunity.

Well guess what, I personally don’t like any of the political parties enough to become a member of any! That does not mean I don’t like anything about any of the parties. There may be times when my position on certain issues aligns with the position of certain parties, but that does not mean I support the party. And when I speak on issues that go against the position of other parties, that does not mean I’m against them!

What I find problematic is this position that there are no neutrals or independents in Gambian party politics! Often, those who make this claim will follow it up with a call of “stop hiding; you can come out.” If you ask me, those who hide their support of a political party include spineless opportunists, spineless businessmen or possibly, those who are restricted from openly showing their support to any political party.

I certainly don’t see myself in any of the above! I have no reason to hide support for any party if I was enamored enough with any!

My hope in the sociopolitical systems our nation subsists on are evolving, but let’s say the more I learn, the less hopeful I get in us transforming our African nations to rise. There isn’t a single African country that has reached its potential as a nation; yet, somehow, we continue to champion programs and policies anchored on the very foundations that were handed down to us from the colonialists, and not meant to advance us as a people. Mind you these political systems are as racist as they can be and were never meant to empower African people to own their destiny. They were meant to keep Africans subservient to colonial interests. Since the colonialists kinda left, Africans are yet to take stock and actually examine these foundations to determine what to adopt and adapt our realities to, as nation-states or as a continent. When I see a party that is willing to dismantle these foundations, starting with questioning the utility of the presidency, the judiciary, the legislative, education system etc, then may be we can have a conversation.

Until then, the only parties that will take control of our lives will be parties that play the same game as the party in government. Personally and importantly, I will not be part of any political process with unrepentant Jammeh enablers because in my mind, anyone that is really serious about accountability will not entertain the very people who forced our country on its knees, and remain unrepentant. Until then, claim your party affiliation but do not think that everyone is also affiliated somehow.

Alagie Saidy-Barrow