There is an old saying that says “if you are going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk.” What if you talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. That means inability to back up rhetorics with action. That’s not the Gambia we deserve. Right! After 22 years of dictatorship that succeeded in paralysing our democratic institutions, we are finally “walking the walk.” We have had enough – all we need is having competent people in office. The people who know what they are doing, when, why and how. That is a panacea to our sea of problems. We may not be able to write off all the junk Yahya Jammeh has left behind right away but our people’s confidence boost when they see necessary actions are being taken.
For 22 years, democracy existed in the Gambia only by name, for it was not allowed to thrive in reality. The ousted Dictator was busy uprooting our democratic pillars. All he left behind is a country in transition.
What is the essence of a democracy that bars and discriminates citizens from political participation? Jammeh used the parliament to make laws that are inimical to democracy, human rights and politics. Two such laws are the Elections Act and the 65 year cap for president and vice president. Both discriminate the poor and elderly from contesting elections. Does it make sense for a presidential candidate to pay D500, 000 deposit when the president’s yearly salary is less than that amount?
But the hands that tie the lion have been called to untie it. It is intetesting to see our rubberstamping parliamentarians freely debating and amending the 1997 Constitution Amendment Bill 2017 and the Elections Act. They too are basking into the sweetness of democracy.
We are delighted that our judges can retire at 75, presidential candidate age caveat is removed and that presidential candidates pay D10, 000 deposit.
We agree with Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty that “democracy is the participation of the citizenry and that failure to address the amendments means entangling “a large section of our population who would like to contribute and take part in the affairs of the public.”
At last we’really proud that our government is walking the walk. We want to see democracy in full force that’s why Jammeh is shown the Red Card. Kudos to the Coalition government for moving fast with reforms. The road to the Promise Land will be long and painful but we will get there. All we need is the spirit of determination, hardwork and patriotism.