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Monday, July 6, 2020

Letters:The Gambia: A country in reverse

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Dear editor,

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The ushering in of the new dispensation by act of coalition was received with enthusiasm and high expectations that there will be a paradigm shift in the way state affairs are run.
A political terrain that would cease to strangulate the opposition but create a level playing field for all political actors to conduct themselves freely within the limits of the law of the land, and hold the executive to book for any deviation from the cherished and well-articulated goals of the coalition government.

These and many lofty unachievable expectations have been reduced to mare utterances and remain a chasing dream as far as the status quo remains the same.
The coalition which was one time the darling of democracies all over the world and the envy of the sub-region and the world at large, a beacon of hope for change of despotic regimes through democratic means, has disintegrated.
The country is divided in terms of its government and people, divided by government both arithmetically and behaviorally.

In arithmetic terms because no single political party has control or majority in both the legislature and the executive. As a matter of fact, the two arms of government seemed to be at loggerheads, at least with regard to policy and political philosophy and therefore the governance process has failed to inspire confidence.

Similarly, they are divided in behavioral terms because the executive is composed of people from different political backgrounds with divergent political agenda, beliefs and orientations and conflicting political and personal interests.
Divisions have become eminent since the fallout of the key coalition players and as a result, the government has been fragmented and the purpose of the fight against the Jammeh tyranny has been defeated.

This unpleasant situation induces the incumbent to do what most self-centred politicians do, and that is to go alone. It gives the president the impetus to not consult and bargain with the legislature and reach consensus on matters of national issues especially if it anticipates opposition.

In essence, each party banks on the legal and constitutional resources available to them in pursuit of their own ends, whatever the consequence to the other branch of government.
It can therefore be adduced that with such a divided government with conflicting political and individual interests, policies and agenda, the country is condemned to be in limbo. The Gambia’s political arena required a case study to avail the opportunity to identify cause of the division, evaluate the likely implications and probably devise means to solve the problem from amongst ourselves.

It is therefore my personal judgement that it is becoming perhaps too little too late for us as a nation to arrest the phenomenom collectively, even though all hopes are not lost.
My observation is that the level of division is so engraved in us at both socio-political and economical level in the country, and what compounds it is the fact that Gambians have become even more divided on ethnic lines.

As it is, the country must reincarnate the social cohesion, learn to accept diversity in our political opinions and redirect our energy to harness and promote peace and peaceful coexistence and on what will better the common good of every Gambian, and most importantly inculcate the sense of nationalism within ourselves, our children and in our educational curriculum.

It would be useful to constitute a national bantaba consisting of the political actors, civil societies, opinion leaders, religious elders and rural people every quarter to discuss inclusiveness, ownership and participation in the governance process and by extension partake in policy formulation and be directly involved in decisions that impact on their lives and livelihood.

The way forward henceforth, is for everyone to put partisan politics, tribal rhetoric and sentiments, individualism, and carefree attitude aside and see the country first.
The common good should be the occupant of our minds, heart, body and soul in order to salvage the country from the looming political crisis borne out of indecision and insincerity on the part of those at the top.

We formed the government, we are the government, and the governed, so the government must be seen to reflect our position and meet our expectations or else we reserve the sovereign legal right in our constitution to effect change of any government deviating from what is expected of them at our behest.

We must reaffirm our allegiance to the common good and renew our promise to The Gambia not just through utterance or proclamation but indeed by way of deed.

Karamo Marena
[email protected]

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