As we approach December 2016 presidential election, Gambians have seen the formation of a new political party known as the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) which takes center stage in our political dispensation. The newly established party has a young likeable leader whose political philosophy, stand on issues of national importance, democracy and rule of law is not known to vast majority of citizenry who are yearning for restoration of democracy and constitutionalism in our country. While it is a welcoming idea to have a new and young likeable political leader and his party in the fight to restore democracy and rule of law in our country, we as citizens deserve to know what Mama Kandeh really stood for in the past 22 years and what was his contribution towards military dictatorship which has notoriously violated fundamental human rights of Gambian people, systematically destroyed their peaceful co-existence as one big family as well as economically prostituted our meager resources for self perpetual rule of the tyrant? These are fundamental and legitimate questions which every Gambian must ask himself or herself in order to avoid the replica of false narrative which Gambian population were hood-winked in the similar manner by the then Lt. Yahya Jammeh and his semi-illiterate soliders who had no serious plan for national development and democracy for our country when they took over power in July 1994.
I have made extensive research on the GDC leader, his stance on issues of national importance as well as his political achievements in terms of his support for any meaningful legislations during the time he served Jammeh’s regime as a National Assembly Member for APRC (Alliance Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction). I have not seen a single issue of national importance which Mr Mama Kandeh stood for and supported which today has contributed to economic development or better democratic dispensation of our country. Instead I came across the record of a man who has consistently voted along with all the AFPRC deputies on bill during his tenure.
I have a reason to dig deeper into the legislative life of Mama Kandeh. I believe it is a sacred duty or responsibility of every citizen to thoroughly vet Mr. Kandeh to avoid a repetition of the current political dispensation we are desparately working hard to replace. Mr. Kandeh is an extension of the current political dispensation by every measure and standard. This is evidenced by his lack of concern for horrendous human rights violations in the Gambia for the past 22 years . Mr. Kandeh’s political opportunism and prostitution is further evidenced by his inconsistency and ability to join any political party to look for cheap popularity without any substantive contribution toward democracy and socio-economic advancement of the Gambian people. Before Mr Kandeh joined APRC, he was a member of opposition National Reconciliation party (NRP) where he sought relationship with the leadership for cheap popularity and political recognition. He later joined the APRC as a National Assembly member until his expulsion for violation of Dictator Jammeh’s edit.
Mr. Kandeh’s rise in politics happened at the time when innocent citizens were tortured, raped, exiled and murdered. Kandeh has been silent on these atrocities all these years. In terms of his voting record in the National Assembly, Mr. Kandeh has shown and proven to Gambian people that he would be no different from the leaders of current rubber-stamping Parliament which has denied Gambians better democracy, rule of law and economic advancement. His formation of a new political party, which comprised of former supporters and officials of APRC, is an affront and further confirmation that Mr Kandeh is in politics as an alternative to disgruntled supporters who were once key players in the constitutional entrenchment of the dictatorial regime. In essence, Kandeh played a part in the regime’s human rights violations and economic destruction. While it is indeed noteworthy to see him calling for national unity and democracy in his political bolster but it is also significant to note that Mr Kandeh lacks substance in his political deliberations. His political record does not match with his recent rhetoric on the campaign trail.
The historic tragedy of military dictatorship must teach Gambians that they should not fall for young and untested politicians who have no proven record, experience, and qualifications to run the affairs of our country. This will help the country from slipping into a replica of the APRC regime. We must focus on leaders and their parties with wisdom, knowledge, experience and better policies which have been consistent in the fight for rule of law, constitutionalism and better economic policy of our country. We have passed the time for experimental leadership in this defining moment of our country’s political dispensation. As citizens, we must look for steady, consistent, honest, decent and proven leader who is temperamentally fit to lead the nation in peaceful and unifying manner, and who sees our diversity as a gift of God’s creation that encompasses potentials ready to be tapped for enterpreneurism and economic advancement.
I therefore urge Gambians to take a hard look at the leadership of Gambia Democratic Congress before we make similar horrific mistake that APRC regime under the leadership of Dictator Yaya Jammeh has brought on Gambian people. We deserve better. Untested and unproven leader will lead the nation into a failure.