By Janko Camara
- Your views insinuate lack of trust among the opposition parties
- Weak leadership and thus candidate prone to manipulation by other forces within the party.
Now let us look at these and your other points in detail.
If your insinuation on lack of trust is true, then there is no need to talk about alliance and/or coalition, in whatever form. There is no way that people who are mutually suspicious of each other can cooperate in anything, no matter how noble that thing appears to be. Essentially, our Opposition politicians, you seem to insinuate, are strange political bedfellows and, as a result, this talk about unity for the greater good is just a mirage, which can never be translated into reality. So why continue fantasising? It is so vivid even to a casual observer that no single party, under the current dispensation, will ever win elections in The Gambia. So let us close shop and retire. However, in that case, it must be pointed out that the dereliction of our basic civic duty is a very dangerous thing, which might give rise to other forms of changing the status quo. In such a scenario, there is no guarantee that there would not be bloodshed and wanton destruction of both public and private property. Therefore, for the sake of our country and ourselves, we (as well as our politicians) must put aside our “mistrust” for each other and unite for the benefit of the country and her people. We need to be mindful of what type of country we are bequeathing to our children and grandchildren.
Secondly, your insinuation of weak leadership and all its attendant vices, in my view, would not arise where a UDP/PDOIS alliance is formed on solid grounds and in good faith. Systems (political or otherwise) are put in place by people. Therefore, if the collective will of this same people is to have a change not only of political leadership, but also of the entire system, there is no way that such change would not occur. An example may suffice here; Former President Abdoulaye Wade inherited the same old system from his predecessor, Abdou Diouf. He pioneered some reforms in the early stages of his rule only for him to attempt to recant on some of these later on. However, the outcome is now History. The collective will of the people prevailed in the end. You might think Darboe is a weak figure but this, in my view, would be erroneous. On the contrary, here is a man who proves his strength of character when the need arise. He is conscientious but when the need arise, he can also get very tough as we have seen in recent times. Therefore, the insinuation that he may be prone to manipulation by other members of his party, in my view, is just mere conjecture. We need to learn, at all times, to filter the message from the noise so that the narrative is not dictated by people with myopic agenda. I keep hammering about a UDP/PDOIS Alliance because, in my view, this will be a very good combination that can make significant impact on the ground. This alliance, in my view, is capable of delivering the sort of political reforms which will guarantee our rights whilst at the same time ensure accountability.
Bax, comparing The Gambia of 2016 with The Gambia of Pre-1994 (Darboe and Jawara), in my view, is a bit out of context. This is because times have changed considerably and thus, the époques are different. People’s level of awareness then and now has also changed significantly. Most importantly, the level of advancement in technology then and now has also changed significantly. Thus what former president Jawara and his administration “got away” with (if this phrase is appropriate), Yahya Jammeh is not getting (and cannot get) away with now, despite his military-style rule. Don’t you see that whatever happened in Jammeh’s bedroom is global news within hours of its occurrence? Jammeh would have wished that technology did not exist to lay bare his not-so-good activities. I also believe Gambians have gone through so much suffering in the last two decades that they would never allow any repetition should this government leave power today. Of course, there are people who, for reasons best known to them, prefer the status quo, but these are in the minority. All around you, more people are calling for greater freedoms, despite the docility and the low sophistication level of the average Gambian voter. In the Jawara era, speaking against the government was seen more as a role primarily for the politicians. The rest of us were just complacent and by-standers in matters affecting our lives. Now, it is not the politicians alone that are talking. Bax is talking, Janko is talking and so are many others.
Finally, you asked which “formula should be agreed upon by all..?” I am for an alliance of that will ensure not only a change of leadership but also a change of political system for a better one. In other words an absolute Political Revolution, totally different from A(F)PRC’s understanding of the concept. It is also my belief and ardent hope that a UDP/PDOIS Alliance can do just that, if there is trust between the parties and a strong will to do so. Without appearing dictatorial, let me dare say this is the “common sense” that appears to be so uncommon in our discourses. Over to you Bax.