To all aspiring chairmen and mayoral 2018 candidates
There are many hitherto unknown persons, some of them nondescript and a few familiar faces who have expressed interest in running for Mayoral and Local government offices. Several candidates in total seeking elections to become Mayor and most conspicuous comes from Banjul and Kanifing Area Council. Many of us have called them non-starters, projects and time wasters.
Collectively, we are the non-starters. We are the projects of tribal bigots who use us to ascend to power. Yes, we are the time wasters by electing people who are not fit to become chairmen of local cattle dips to high office. These aspiring Gambian politicians have something many of us lack. Guts. They have risen to the occasion to participate in a leadership contest that many of us will never take part in.
Many of us prefer being in the “anonymous fringe” as ordinary voters. We complain about bad leadership, yet we are afraid of offering ourselves as the alternative.
I pray that in April 2018, Local government elections we reject ethnic fortification in exchange for a battle of ideas. It must not be the ultimate battle between the Coalition & the Tactical Alliance and between APRC & GDC just for the sake of it. It is about finding the right leadership for the Gambian voters. It must not be about the display of wealth and endless campaign spending.
It is not about the most beautiful billboard, branded cars or the most glittering political party headquarters. I hope Cham Demba now knows that elections are not won by displaying large military grade trucks. It takes winning the hearts and souls of the ordinary voter to govern. It has never been a beauty contest! Remember the crowded primary conventions at Kairaba beach hotel, a standard bearer of the coalition was elected? Some contestants thought they had won the race by their physical looks! Fatoumatta, in 2016 December historic elections voters were not looking for the “Jester ” but were looking for a Messiah.
A night guard was elected to represent his people as flag bearer. A night guard equally become President of a nation. This gentleman who campaigned on a coalition platform. He was elected, and voters were excited to hear from him and his coalition. We must start electing leaders who live like us. Those who appreciate our daily struggles.
The Banjul and KMC Mayoral offices must not be reduced to a jewel crown “negotiated” in turns among a small circle of organized money.
Some fools are talking 2021, yet the 2018 hurdle remains. That is the trademark folly of organized money. They imagine they are the only constant in the political equation. As the organized money cartel loot and accumulate for 2021 they have no guarantee that they will be alive or in good health to run for office. They have forgotten that God is the extinguisher in chief. Remember Comrade Solo Sandeng? May he rest in peace. He died a few months before December 1, 2016 elections that packed President Yahya Jammeh into exile.
Benjamin Todd Jealous opined “In a democracy there are only two types of power: there’s organized people and organized money, and organized money only wins when people aren’t organized.”
I think we have given too many chances to the organized money cartel. Since Independence. They have rewarded us by looting from us to get more powerful.
It is time for organized people. I salute all aspiring politicians who have decided to run for the the Mayoral and Local government elections.
Alagie Yorro Jallow
New York City