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Friday, December 3, 2021

Where is the IPC as political tension rises?

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The Inter-Party Committee or the IPC is the platform used by the disparate political parties in the country to, among other things, collectively iron out issues arising from the political processes in The Gambia.

The committee, which predates the current government, was given a new leash of life after the coming into office of President Adama Barrow in 2017. It has been so successful in its deliberations to the extent that most of its decisions were reached through consensus.

In fact many regional organisations and states in the subregion have referenced and praised The Gambia’s Inter-Party Committee as an example of how different political views and positions can converge on matters of common national interest no matter how contentious.

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However with the December elections inching every closer, the mercury of political tension in the country is rising acerbated by the bellicose rhetoric from political leaders and their surrogates.

However, when it is time to be seen and heard the loudest, there is a conspicuous silence (at least publicly) from the IPC.  The IPC should know that like the proverbial golden fish, there is no place for it to hide.

The very and many contentious issues between the political parties – mainly the NPP and the UDP – arising from the current voter registration exercise should warrant meetings and issuance of statements from the committee.

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The current hullabaloo over voter attestations, the ballooning incidences of politically motivated tribal insults, the furious exchanges of highly venomous political language between some parties as well as the near fist-fighting between rival party supporters are all matters that can be and need to be effectively dealt with by the IPC. No group is better placed to stem these threats to our national bodypolitic in the bud than the IPC.

Yes we understand the committee drew an elaborate plan for the monitoring of the voter registration process and could not activate it because of funding delay, but a simple thing like coming out to issue a statement does not require a budget. All what is required is for the representatives of all committed parties in the IPC to meet, discuss and jointly issue statements on the incidents as they occur.

Increasingly, the IPC is morphing into the analogy a critic of the committee once painted of it: that, the IPC is like the organisers of a football tourney; they agree on rules for the games but once the actual whistle for the match to start is blown, each team does its best to fight, scream and cheat to win at all cost. For example, political parties are speaking in discordant voices on issues arising from the registration exercise.

As we inch towards the elections, the IPC must make its presence felt by keeping a constant watch on emerging issues and addressing them before they develop into full blown tumours that will fester and imperil the unity of the people of this nation.

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