Please give me space in your newspaper to throw light on recent developments regarding the preparations of politicians for the upcoming elections. As we have two years and some months before Gambians go to the polls to elect a new president who will be given the mandate to steer the affairs of the country for another five years, I remain unimpressed with the level of political tempo in the country.
With the ruling APRC continuing to spread its political tentacles across the country with efficient organisation, the UDP and its allies will certainly have the chance to present a new face to lead the party for the 2016 polls, as Ousainou Darboe is constitutionally ineligible to contest. In the same vein, the PDOIS and the NRP may be looking to consolidate the United Front to have any chance of increasing their share of the vote.
However, as we brace for yet another exercise of our constitutional mandate as citizens, it is important that we make the right choice for our country and not vote on tribal lines or sentiment. The future lies in our hands as Gambians and it is of paramount importance that we scrutinise the political manifestos of all the parties before casting our ballot for any candidate.
In light of this, as a concerned citizens of The Gambia, I take this opportunity to urge all political parties that are ready for the electoral encounter to present their manifestos to the Gambian public at the right time for scrutiny before we go to the polls. We need to know the programmes and policies each party would like to implement when voted into office. These programmes should be scrutinised based on their feasibility and achievability for the Gambian people.
We need the politicians to speak to us as we are eager to know what they have in store for us when they ascend to power. Man being a political animal by nature only qualifies him to be the best of all animals when guided by law and order; and this can only be a reality when he (man) is politically oriented and not motivated. This is so because political motivation can come with conditioning factors that are unrealistic and will pose a threat to man’s rational endowment, the consequences of which can be costly to society. But political orientation will certainly put man in the right corners of society and also enable future generations to practicalise and benefit from that rational bequest.
Furthermore, The Gambia as a nation has passed stages of transition, from colonial rule to the PPP right up to the APRC rule, during which the populace garnered a lot of experience in terms of multi-party democracy. But the “utilitarian” theory of voting has always been the case instead of “issue” voting. Let “issue” voting shape our political life, this will be the “renaissance” of Gambian politics.
As the APRC will surely look towards maintaining its hold on power by winning the polls for the fifth consecutive time, the opposition factions will either maintain the factionalism or unite under an umbrella so as to have a taste of incumbency. As commented by a former Agriculture Minister in the PPP regime who is also the leader of the rejuvenated and reactivated PPP party, Omar Jallow, “We should come with a single candidate to lead the Alliance to be able to effect change”. But will they form an alliance? One may be tempted to ask. Well, 2016 will tell. I have no iota of doubt that the 2016 presidential polls will be a very fascinating one as Gambians, I believe, will massively turn out to vote for the best captain to sail the ship of the nation.
Moreover, despite our political differences, we should always realise that we have a challenge that lies ahead of us all as Gambians; it is the challenge of carving a more prosperous and dignified future for generations to come. Our political affiliations should not reflect on national development but all political parties must provide us with genuine programs and policies for the elections ahead.
On a final note, I wish to say our journey towards attaining meaningful and sustainable national development will be futile if we do not energies our efforts towards this cause. Political parties should not see each other as enemies but partners in national development. It is the ardent desire of all Gambians to see a developed Gambia in all aspects, but having different political ideologies does not make one an enemy to the state. We all have a common vision for our dear motherland and it is only working towards that vision that the proper foundation will be laid for a peaceful and prosperous Gambia.