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Monday, August 8, 2022

More political parties, less one-party domination

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By Mathew K Jallow

Politically, it almost feels like the second coming; the second coming of political independence, that is.

After Yahya Jammeh’s 22 tragic years in power, the excitement of our fathers, in the 1950s, has provided a template for how we navigate the political exuberance of the moment.

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As Gambians relive lost freedoms, there is new determination to again build a political infrastructure that can survive the stresses and challenges of a truly democratic state.

The years of political independence have been both bitter and sweet, and through it all, one thing is undeniable; the years were both teaching and learning moments, for what worked and what didn’t.

At this stage, we will be damned if we allow this new opportunity to build anew to turn our past failures into success, slip away.

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The only thing Gambians are guaranteed right now is the use of our wealth of knowledge to visualize a different Gambia in which we can all, irrespective of our tribe, take equal ownership of.

The alternative is a Gambia perpetually mired in political wrangling and debased by our own very primeval mentalities.

Over the past several decades, Gambians have learnt a lot about the opportunities, but also the inherent flaws of our democratic experiments.

Political parties, as catalysts in the democratization process, can also be its fatal flaws. The Gambia has experienced 50 years of two party rules; one party 30 year, and another 22 years. Regardless of by how many votes a political party wins, the domination of politics and government by one party is unhealthy for democracy.

Democracy works every party can reasonably expect a shot in governing. It is thus necessary to build strong political parties that can win elections.

In Gambian politics, bending towards tribal preference has hampered the democratic process and ensures on party domination.

This makes the multiplicity of political parties, necessary, even indispensable.

It is also why a new political party that splits the votes, and denies party monopoly of the voting population, such as BB Dabo’s new political party is welcome addition to Gambia’s democratization process.

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