Politics is all about convincing your aopponents to seek compromise to solve problems. Politicians who are unwilling to compromise not only cause political polarization which leads to insolvent of national problems but also defeat the whole purpose of representation of people’s common interests at the national level. The Gambia’s opposition leaders have failed to compromise to salvage our country from constant assaults from the Jammeh regime. Today, we have systematic human rights violations and economic deterioration which affect majority of our citizens. With this in the minds of politicians and ordinary citizens, this time around I believe there will be a compromise. Without a compromise, it will be disastrous for our country in the next five years to continue on deteriorating human rights violations, moral decadence and worsening economic conditions for the citizens. We cannot afford to have five more years of military dictatorship.
The recent nomination of United Democratic Party presidential candidate and selection of Dr. Isatou Touray as an independent presidential candidate have all signaled that there is a possibility of seeking a consensus and compromise candidate who will lead the nation into its first ever political change in the Second Republic. As an optimist, I believe for the sake and interest of our beloved country, our political leaders will do the right thing. After 22 years of trials and tribulations characterised with constant blame games, it is about that our citizens and leaders finally accepted the truth about brutal dictatorship and sought compromise to end the untold sufferings. I believe that UDP is a party of selfless people who put the interest of the country first before the personal leadership interest. This has been demonstrated in the leadership’s selfless sacrifices on behalf of Gambian people in recent peaceful protest which led to kidnapping and illegal incarceration of entire executive members and the party’s supporters. For over 20 years, United Democratic party has always shown to Gambian people that when there is call for national action towards democratic and constitutional rule, they answered to the needs and aspirations of Gambian people. This has been demonstrated in the party’s continuous efforts to highlight the economic deterioration and horrendous human rights violations in the Gambia both locally and internationally. The party also offers better policies to citizens. In the past year, UDP has adopted a strategy of grassroots campaign with the sole objective of eradicating fear and to empower citizenry in participatory democracy so that the regime of terror will be voted out in peaceful electoral process.
The nomination of Mr. Adama Barrow who is as diverse as the country itself is a compromise for the sake of unity, prosperity, peace and security of the country. This nomination, I believe has further signified the need to see more compromises among the opposition parties in seeking a consensus candidate who will serve the best interest of the country. In this defining moment of our history, a compromise among the opposition parties is the best way forward to save our country from civil war and tribal conflict. Already Dictator Jammeh has set the stage for possible tribal conflict. This has been evidenced by his continuous targeting of Mandinkas in many of his regime’s policies and political vitriol. The United Democratic Party being a pragmatic party which has its core principle in seeking to govern the country based on unity has shown the need to always look for compromise and cooperation among our diverse population and opposition parties. This is why Mr Barrow’s nomination is a step in the right direction.
In Mr Barrow’s acceptance speech, he has signaled to reach out to ”sister political parties” about the need to seek compromise to salvage the country from current military dictatorship.
I believe there are many good reasons which signifies that this year is a year of compromise among the opposition parties and various players to salvage the country from slipping into civil war. Among the most important reason which signifies that there will be a compromise is the nomination of non-Mandinka politician as UDP flag bearer . Mr Barrow’s nomination discredit critics who see falsely see UDP as Mandinka party. Mr Barrow is a reflection of Gambian society as anyone can relate to him and this is why his nomination is a compromise in itself. I believe that with Mr Barrow’s extension of an olive branch to sister opposition parties will serve as motivation factor for other political parties in return to seek compromise. As a keen follower of Gambia’s political situation and as a non member of UDP, I believe that Well before Mr Barrow’s nomination, UDP has been working on the need to have a compromise with other opposition parties. As a party of resilience and selfless people, a compromise has never been a dirty word for the party which prides itself for the Unity of citizens and justice for all.
The Second reason I believe there will be a compromise is Dr Touray’s entry into the race. This will not only create significant cooperation between UDP and Dr Touray but I also believe that there will help to have a compromise among all opposition parties in this difficult period of our country history in order to end 22 years of impunity, economic deterioration, corruption and lawlessness. Dr Touray has international recognition, local connections with women folks and she has been human right advocate for her entire life. Her candidacy can be a tremendous asset in partnership with other opposition parties to salvage our country from military dictatorship.
The most important reason I believe there will be a compromise is that Gambians are sicked and tired of dictatorship which has brought nothing other than untold sufferings across the country. Even the opposition leaders themselves are sicked and tired of dictatorship and they want to see the end of tyrannical government. The Gambia has reached a stage of slipping into total anarchy and heighten possible civil conflict, a compromise among the opposition leaders and non-partisan leader is the most important conflict prevention and strategical means of saving the country and her people from total destruction. A compromise is far more needed this year than ever before due to countless number of victims of political persecution, massive exodus of youths, poor economic performance and daily horrendous lawlessness due to violations of the constitution.
We have seen massive defection from APRC party which led to establishment of Gambia Democratic congress (GDC). Such a significant defection cause serious blow to APRC regime which has now embarked on witch hunt of some of the members of this newly political party. Supporters and leaders of GDC will likely seek to compromise with other opposition parties than to go back to former enemy who has nothing to offer but only terror and humiliation. Therefore, a compromise for the sake of the country is what will end the regime’s terrorism and human rights violations. Failure to compromise this year is a prescription for nation abyss and destruction of opportunities for future generations. It is time to compromise for the interest of everyone.