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What political alliance? Call a spade a spade

What political alliance? Call a spade a spade

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Political parties should stop kidding around and stop the pretence and insincerity. It seems it is only in The Gambia that political parties try to create structures of associations that have never existed in the history of politics around the world. Yet they keep pretending they meant good for the people of this country. With the usual “mashlaha” everyone avoids calling a spade a spade.

How can a minority and non-tested party ever lead a majority or a party with a practical track record of a quantified voter support? The current discussions on the formation of an alliance that are going on while the decision on the flag-bearer is yet to be made is like a circus.

Take as an example (only an example) a set of – GDC with 17% from last elections, PDOIS (maximum voter record 8%), GMC (virtually nil), CA (new), and the rest of them virtually new with no track record of voter support. By a natural look of things and the traditional and always conventional politics, GDC should be the party to lead. It is also that party that should decide their flag-bearer. How realistically can the rest claim or vie for that position when either their parties have never pulled convincing votes with their own leadership or have never contested.

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There has been a constant debate on why the last coalition failed when the simple answer is blatantly clear – it was based on a non-traditional and insincere mode of political association of democratic representation. The party with the majority always leads and that party also provides the flag-bearer for the coalition or alliance or whatever. The nomenclature makes no difference – coalition, alliance, or whatever. It is the basis of the association that determines its viability.

Political alliances or coalitions, all over the world, negotiate their association based on policies towards the development of the country. A conservative party will want consideration on their policy on say taxation; liberal party – welfare issues; a socialist party – taxation and distribution of wealth, a green party – environmental issues.  Never is there an agenda on leadership for coalition negotiations put forward in the world of politics.  Who is to lead in such a negotiation has always been a foregone conclusion – the party with the majority provides the flag-bearer.  Political alliances in this country have never had policy issues in the forefront – only who is to lead the association.

Political parties should stop taking the Gambian people for a ride and the people should be able to tell them the reality. If any party or its leader feels they are the most electable (and that is the qualification) among the lot just simply go it alone and stop wasting time on theoretical structures that hold no solid foundation or lack the political chemistry to hold together.

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By the way, what is the essence of a public invitation to the signing of a memorandum when the crux of the matter – the flag-bearer – has not been determined which makes it meaningless? In fact let all parties contest the current presidential elections in order to establish a track record that could from now on be used as a basis for any possible future association of parties – especially if a new constitution should provide for a second round of voting.

Furthermore, why are there the standard and traditional proposals in national constitutions globally that the two leading parties in a first round of elections should go for a second round of voting? In which case the alliances or coalitions formed by others joining either of them never question who the flag-bearer should be? What or where is the rationality for current “efforts” of alliances?

Naturally, parties with a history of voter support will pull out from any discussion that disregards this practical fact and they would leave it to the non-tested ones. Votes are not based on a string of academic degrees or rhetoric. The dynamics of political popularity and electability is more than these factors, if at all.

Advice: Go get the votes and stop wasting time with psychologically soothing ego massaging structural proposals. Let’s call a spade a spade. Just thinking aloud.

Lamino Lang Comma a former senior civil servant is the CEO of Investment Services International in The Gambia.

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