By Alagie Manneh
One of the oldest political parties, PDOIS yesterday demanded an end to politics of inducement in The Gambia arguing that that it is the only way to bring about any form of “substantive democracy” in the country.
Addressing a joint press briefing at its head office in Tallinding, the party secretary general, Halifa Sallah, hinted that they may not take part in the next election if the issue – which only seems to favour the incumbent – is not resolved.
“It’s illegal to give any butut to anybody to acquire their vote. It’s illegal. It’s in the Elections Act. There must be commitment, and there must be sanctions when these laws are violated. Our assessment is that we will not go to another election without coming to conclusion on that. Either it becomes politics of patronage or substantive politics,” Sallah stated.
Flanked by APP and Youth for Change leaders Dr Ebrahim Jagne and Alagie Mamadi Kurang, Mr Sallah added: “The issue [of inducement] must be taken to the people for them to understand what formal democracy is, and what substantive democracy is. It should become a national campaign of explanation to the Gambian people and eventually taking a national stand that the laws of the country must be respected, and see to it that it is respected. It also involves having an inter-party that is galvanised, empowered to be able to make decisions as well political parties and civil societies that are convinced and committed to the principles of working together to ensure that this is the type of system that must prevail here and no other will prevail. We must all analyse the system that we have.”
Mr Sallah described the issue of inducement as a “threat” in a democracy that must be eliminated. “And we are capable of doing so if we all act together to save our country,” he added.
The Youth for Change leader, Alagie Mamadi Kurang, said: “We know what happened and transpired during the election. We accept in good faith that we have lost the election, however, that cannot stop us from highlighting to the people some of the practices that will not lead us to democracy. Most people asked me during the campaign why are prices in The Gambia going up and I said well, it seems like that’s what we voted for. We all worked to make sure the dictatorship go away. A lot of sacrifices have happened, so, we expected a dividend to come. The people who voted to change the system expect a dividend. But now some people are in power and they feel that to remain in power, they have to go round in the night and give envelopes to people. The politics of inducement has multiplied in The Gambia. We don’t think there’s a future for politics of inducement. A government is supposed to increase economic growth by investing in things that will create jobs, but if you take money and give it to every Tom and Babucarr, what is going to happen is that we are going to have too much money in circulation. That money will go back to the market to chase the goods again. So, you have plunged us into what is called ready-made inflation.”
Kurang said what the country must engage in is the “politics of policies.”
“When a president goes and does that type of politics and now they form a cabinet, where you find square pegs in round holes, [that’s a problem]. That is a cabinet that is intended to win the next election, but not necessarily to bring inflation down.”
The press briefing was designed to update the public on the next elections cycle including findings of the party in both presidential and parliamentary elections.