Political Stability to 2021 – And Two Foolhardy Predictions!

London Letter With Dida Halake

Now that the parliamentary, council and mayoral elections are out of the way, the political environment appears stable for the next three years – not least because the UDP has shown its political dominance winning all these elections.

Sure, the first-past-the-post (or winner-takes-all) voting system is unfair, but Westminster is the “Mother of Democracy” and no-one can criticise UDP’s dominance which is based strictly on the voting system that exists in UK today (here too the voting system will give us a “winning” Mayor – even though 73% of the votes cast are against him or her!). One thing that can be said for the first-past-the-post system is that it produces clear “winners” and stable governments – contrast this with Italy’s system where they have had 40 or so unstable governments since the way.

So now that Lawyer Darboe and his UDP have the legislators and the mayors that they need in place, it is full speed ahead for the necessary reforms and infrastructural developments that they need to show the electorate in 2021. Clearly there will be formidable challenges in the area of youth employment where population growth easily outstrips jobs created; in the area of food-production where new mouths to feed easily outstrip growth in local food production; and in the area of general security as some of the unemployed youth turn to crime (no different from UK). But the political environment will be stable – and that is what is most important in addressing those other pressing issues.

President Darboe in 2021 – for one term only!

That is my first prediction – and if it happens you can say you first read it here. At the moment Lawyer Darboe, the man who risked his life with his comrades to get rid of Jammeh, is sitting comfortably at the helm of his dominant UDP and nothing can stop him from becoming President in 2021 – if he wants to.

Darboe is already in The Gambia’s history books for his 22-year challenge to Yahya Jammeh, just as Mandela was by 1994 for his long challenge to Apartheid. The aged Mandela was rewarded by his grateful fellow countrymen and women with a one-term presidency and then a graceful retirement. I think Gambians, and certainly not least the general membership of the UDP, feel that Darboe deserves nothing less than a one-term presidency and a place in the history books as the 4th President of the Republic of The Gambia. I have no doubt that the 3rd President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, thinks and feels along these lines too. Whether likes it or not, Darboe will not be able to resist the clamour for his presidency come 2021.

President Bensouda 2026?

This is more of a wild prediction since the young man has just been elected to his first ever political office as Mayor of Kanifing. But it seems to me that the support of the UDP-party machine, and the 100% support of the Barrow Government, not to mention generous international donors and the goodwill of local business, all mean that Bensouda may be able to fix the massive problems of the KMC that other mayors have not been able to fix before (anyone remember my front-page headline in the Daily Observer – RUBBISH KMC!). If Bensouda can fix The Gambia’s biggest council, not least by clearing the Bakoteh Dump and fixing the roads, he could claim rightly that he is the person to fix The Gambia’s problems in 2026. But I think he has only one-term at KMC to fix the problems, for if he eyes 2026 he will need to be Darboe’s VP at some point to get national exposure (and he will need a long white kaftan, Barrow’s white hat – and some prayer beads when travelling to Basse!).

And of course, it is all “INSHALLAH” dependant!

Dida Halake.


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