Veteran politician Halifa Sallah and political pundit Dr. Ismaila Ceesay must be commended for mustering courage and audacity to square off in a first-debate of its kind in Gambia’s history. The debate adds nuance to Gambia’s democratic dispensation and sets the tone for the 2021 presidential elections. Gambia’s politics has long been characterized by drum-beating, fanfare, empty promises and character assassination rather than focus on issues and policies to address socio-economic challenges in a country beset by abject poverty and bedeviled by endemic corruption and bureaucratic ineptitude for more than half a century since the country attained (in)dependence.
Since the debate was announced following Dr. Ceesay’s brazen challenge of members of the Coalition, there had been feverish anticipation for the debate involving two political luminaries. Dr. Ceesay accused all members of the Coalition of failing Gambians who reposed their trust in them to deliver the new Gambia after the uprooting of the former dictatorial regime of President Jammeh. Honourable Sallah, widely seen as the mastermind of the 2016 Coalition, wasted no time in accepting the challenge.
The two gentlemen have not only deliberated over the 2016 coalition, which was the genesis of the debate but they were also engaged in heated exchanges over policy and the way forward to pull the Gambia out of its economic woes and stagnation.
To me, both gentlemen have won by beating mediocre politics and raising the bar for other politicians in the country.
Veteran journalist Harona Drammeh deserves commendation for professionally moderating the program and raising all the relevant issues and pertinent questions. It goes without appreciating Kexx Sanneh for facilitating the debate.
I hope this momentum is maintained by extending invitations to all presidential aspirants to participate in presidential debates to highlight their policies and programs.
Politics of personal attacks, insults and character assassination must stop. Drum-beating politics should come to an end and make room for debating issues affecting the lives and the livelihoods of the masses.
Sanity and decorum must prevail
If you know, you know
The allegations coming from within the KMC are not a political chess but a national concern of serious allegation of corruption and abdication of duty. As such, it is prudent for sanity and decorum to prevail in resolving this delicate issue which is degenerating into a political heavyweight contest. Both the Ministry of Local Government and the KMC must exercise restraint and allow due process by upholding the law in mitigating this obnoxious allegation of corruption.
No person is more Gambian than another as such all should be presumed innocent until all investigations are completed and the guilty will then carry their cross. Oftentimes especially in the heat of a moment, emotions tend to cloud logic and reasoning. Politics aside, everyone genuine Gambian wants to see the bottom of the matter. In-as-much as some are choosing political standpoint on the KMC saga, it is fitting to remember not all that glitters is gold.