In light of recent speeches of leaders of some political parties, and as The Gambia’s presidential election approaches, it is fair to say the country is experiencing rising political tension. Therefore, concrete measures should be taken immediately to calm the atmosphere and prepare the country for a free and fair election in December.
As the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the head of state has a responsibility to maintain security, peace and stability in the country at all cost, especially as the December presidential election approaches. The president’s statements and actions should enhance not undermine national security.
Our political leaders have to keep the country safe and avoid the pre- or post-election violence that a small and homogeneous country like The Gambia cannot afford. Political leaders must rein in their outlaw supporters who only resort to using insults or assaulting those who do not share their political views. We must learn peaceful coexistence and respect those who express differing views. A citizen’s electoral card is his voice, so he can use it with or against whomever he wants. In other words, you don’t need to insult anyone or assault your political opponents to push your political agenda.
Tribal and ethnic policy, or personal attacks will not work or move The Gambia’s development agenda, but rather issues affecting the lives and livelihood of Gambians should be the focus of politicians, their supporters and their concern. Thus, insulting and inflammatory statements must be condemned unequivocally by political leaders.
Regarding the attack of the United Democratic Party voter registration monitoring team in Kanilai, I add my voice to those who condemn this uncalled for behaviour, because the village is an integral part of The Gambia and it should not be prohibitive for any citizen or political party to visit. Every political party should have access to any part of the country without any hinderance. The people of Kanilai have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice without resorting to violence.
Finally, we emphasise that the voice of reason and logic and wisdom should dominate in order to preserve the country’s security and stability, which is considered as everyone’s business without exception.
What is the Inter-Party Committee?
The Gambia already has a national parliament, laws and institutions to govern the country procedurally and legally. Therefore what is the relevance of the Inter-Party Committee in The Gambia?
The Gambia is a democracy. Let’s keep it that way. Let the country be governed from the parliament. Recently a Gambian published a book titled Usurped – Stealing A Country or something like that. The title denotes the unwitting and inadvertent surrendering of the nation. No one stole the nation; we just have to learn to understand how democratic politics works!
Talking about the Inter-Party Committee like Halifa Sallah and Ousainu Darboe do, is like surrendering the nation to the undemocratic forces and practices in the country. Let us govern the country from the parliament, the laws and institutions of the state according to the fundamentals of democratic politics.
Using the Inter-Party Committee is like outsourcing political decision-making to a committee of the unelected and the unelectable outside of the authority of parliament. That is the usurpation of democracy and stealing the politics and democracy of the nation.
It’s simple! Democratic politics in The Gambia will continue to be usurped and stolen unless we reform our politics in structure and narrative.
We definitely need a better understanding of the concept of democratic politics and how democratic politics works in practice, accountably and transparently delivering the expressed political will of the majority from the national election.
Parliament is the inter-party committee in a democracy. Period.