The ongoing debate and discussion in relation to the approach of the coalition to the incoming parliament is skewed towards depicting the coalition as a single entity with uniform intention of contesting the elections separately. Thus, many holes are left unfilled in the debate as many legitimate questions are not adequately addressed.
To this end, I maintain that we will not serve justice to individual political parties in the coalition if we continue to state that the coalition wants to set apart in the upcoming parliamentary elections. It will be unbiased if we specifically pinpoint parties and their stand on the issue in order to serve objectivity. The coalition consists of 7 parties plus an independent. Therefore, it will be an injustice to reduce the coalition to only two parties or to assume that they are developing tendency to stand separately in the upcoming legislative elections without fleshing out which party wants to set themselves aside and their arguments.
The logic is that whenever an issue is tabled before the group of divergent interest, the cleavage between certain groups will be narrower relative to the other. This is normally reflected in having majority who are in favor or against the motion.
As such, I am with the conviction that the stand of each party with regard to the coalition’s approach to the upcoming elections and the argument of each party should be deliberated rather than colouring the debate as if all party components of the coalition are blind to the national interest in their perceived inclination to contest the elections separately. In order to establish a constructive debate in a quest to enlighten and inform our readers and audiences, it will be of important to debate and discuss issues and foundations of those issues (what is said and why it is being said) rather those who are behind the issues (who said).
The prevailing assumption that for example, the United Democratic Party is keen to contest alone is not telling if we don’t put forward the argument of the party and interplay of factors that led them to take this assumed stand. Equally it is incomplete to assume that the coalition is not pursuing the national interest in their current perceived “division” over the issue at hand if we don’t present the degree of division in relation to how many parties are in favor of contesting the elections as coalition and their rationales.
Taking this approach could reveal that there is party one out of seven parties circumventing the idea of contesting the elections as coalition while the remaining parties take their positions in response to the individualistic approach of the first party. In either cases, serving national interest should be the reference point to qualify the approach of each party or group of parties as a legitimate option in our quest to salvage the country and heal the social, political and economic wounds of Jammehism.
Overall, while we have developed the courage to embark on discussing issues at length, we should equally develop the patience to feed our readers and audience with complete information that will answer the questions of who said what and why. This will not only help us to avoid engaging in character assassination and unnecessary argument over unsettled issues, but it equips us to debate based on the reality rather than on assumptions.
Alieu SK Manjang