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City of Banjul
Friday, April 19, 2024
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The Local Government Commission – Knowing how to complain

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By Lamino Lang Comma

It beats logic and certainly goes against the grain of democratic practices to set up a commission of inquiry into an institution that is facing imminent elections. Yet the theme for the 58th Independence Celebration is about “Democracy: A Recipe for Peace and Development”. Was it some miscalculation or simple mockery of the democratic dispensation. One basic ingredient of the recipe is to have a level playing field (emphasis). Indeed, the executive has all rights to have an interest in the management of the councils. However, it had all the time to have done so well before the elections and would have even had a greater time to do so after the elections, but doing so during the election period can only be considered quite an incongruous way to uphold or concoct a democratic recipe. Well, democracy can have a good recipe with the right ingredients, if, 1. The IEC, the referee, shouts out foul about the impact of the commission on the field of play which is one of their foremost responsibilities and presumably a strong mantra of the institution. 2. ALL (not one) opposition parties should lend a hand with building the echo chamber of complaint and they may even drag in an arbiter – the law courts. Political parties should be interested in protecting the guardrails of democracy. That is not about party affinity or a leadership competition. A concerted effort in protecting democracy and its processes and institutions is part of the recipe. 3. The National Assembly questions their role in the ongoing scrutiny of council audit reports which will now seem to be hijacked 4. Civil Society and development partners (particularly ECOWAS) should bother about securing these guardrails 5. Media houses too – are they not the fifth estate? 6. Some voices of the voiceless add in the flavor of complaint. A US Senator, late John Lewis, once mentioned that one of the ingredients or outcomes of democracy, which is freedom, is an act not a state or condition and is in constant need of protection. “Freedom is not a state; it is an act. It is not some enchanted garden perched high on a distant plateau where we can finally sit down and rest. Freedom is the continuous action we all must take, and each generation must do its part to create an even more fair, more just society” and (one may add) a democratic society for peace and development. That would certainly be more congruous with the theme for the 58th Independence celebration.

Just Thinking aloud.

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