The Gambia of the future appears to belong to the past which the world is leaving behind. Literally, our power addicted politicians masquerading as democrats and patriots through their opaque state of politics, cynical Thomases started laughing, laughing like it was the funniest scathing wit and a sacrilegious view of the Gambian politic as well as the creation of cleavage and periphery political parties.
To such believers of pluralism and participation as well as citizenship rights in the Gambia, for decades, the brand personality and political branding of exploring and consolidating the brand personality elements of our political leaders become visible like the fake political marriage of same day occupy the same comical seat in our national train.
Some of these power addicted politicians see both incidents of politics as masturbatory. And what good does masturbation do to the actor beyond its being a ‘solitary vice’? The one who does it thinks it is both therapeutic and self-satisfying. But that is where it ends. The crude discovery has got to be true beyond the formation of cleavages of political parties. These political leaders must put money in the pocket of the desperate voter for their story to be truly victorious. It is not enough to yell eureka at the nation; the nation must feel what has been found in concrete terms.
In the Gambia, not much weight is given to ideas in politics. Political parties lack ideological anchors. That is why we should probably not blame politicians changing parties frequently because there are no ideological borders to cross in the political landscape. Our Political traditions have proved not be durable. Whatever happened to the traditions of the People’s Progressive Party liberation of Sir Dawda Jawara, United Party (UP) nationalism of Pierre Sarr Njie and the welfarism party of Ibrahima Garba Jahumpa Muslim Congress Party also what happened to the liberal progressive NCP Party of Sheriff Mustapha Dibba in the Gambian politics today?
Specifically, what are the ideologies of the United Democratic Party (UDP) the majority in the National Assembly and government in power, the opposition, Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC), the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC)? These parties are yet to mobilize the people around coherent visions of development. Apart from the People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) whose party ideology has been identified since its inception as “scientific socialism, democratic sovereign republicanism”.
The three administrations so far, the PPP, APRC and the UDP led majority government (eighteen months before the political divorce with President Barrow’s government) produced only and came up with “agendas” after their respective leaders assumed the presidency. Similarly, the UDP led alliance government in power was/ is yet to articulate any coherent strategy of development. Little surprise that the rumblings in the Adama Barrow so-called coalition have nothing to do with policy disagreements just as the schism in the APRC and PPP does not derive from any ideological division.
Politics has been indecently reduced to electoral calculations towards simply electoracy and no more democracy. The country’s present political parties and its structures need parameter pillars that will make it stronger with unique ideologies. However, the Gambia’s present political parties need surgical operation that will fusion them into a reasonable number. I have been an advocate of two party systems but in this present reality in the Gambia, our political parties can fusion into strong political association/party that can form a formidable opposition to a ruling party.
As students of history, we are aware that many advanced democracies have two distinct ideological political parties, with a handful of smaller political parties that serve as buffer whenever any of the known political parties derailed or became unpopular. I still believe in two party systems as the best option for Gambia with a population of less than 2 million people.
Political parties are multiplying, and some see this as a cause for celebration. A longer menu means that citizens can vote for parties that more closely match their beliefs. This is good and increases political engagement. Countries with proportional-representation systems, which tend to have more parties, have higher voter turnout than first-past-the-post countries such as the Westminster parliamentary system experienced in the Gambia.
It is my prediction that most of the smaller parties especially the APRC,GAP, GMC GDC ,NRP, PPP and others will die a natural death, or retreat into eternal insignificance just like the United Party of Pierre Sarr Njie.GPP of Assan Musa Camara and the NCP of Sheriff Mustapha Dibba. These newest political parties are a tool for mass coercion parties whose only ideology is elections will die a natural death. There are political parties in that people don’t talk about. Its members are greedy, selfish, and self-serving. it is called AGIP (Any Government in Power).
Gambian people say that in the homestead of the strong, you find all sorts of children. In new Gambia has various kinds of people. There are fools who take any bait as food. There are cynics like the doubting dudes who take the party politics as a vector of sectional lies. They think it is a ponzi scheme.
Alagie Yorro Jallow