WE CANNOT WISH AWAY THE POLITICAL REALITIES OF THE GAMBIA AT THIS JUNCTURE: Consider A handshake Initiative!

One would have to live on Planet Mars to say that they are oblivious to the political realities of our beloved Gambia at this moment in time. The euphoria of our new found freedom following the ejection of a dictator is now threatened to turn into the unthinkable. One cannot leave it to wishful thinking, or simply wishing away the political wrangling found at the very apex of the political class, or more importantly the leadership at the helm of affairs of the country. The political, and yes, even the personal rift developing at breakneck speed among personalities in the leadership of the Gambia is disheartening. Disheartening because of the following:

  • We had hoped that the Gambia has now the chance to nurture our democracy and restore the lost glory as a nation renowned in championing democracy, deep respect for civil liberties, respect for the rule of law and justice for all. This may not be achieved if the trajectory of issues at hand continues in the wrong direction of bickering.
  • If politics becomes the basis for divisions and enmity in the county; that could cost the country dearly. We had hoped that the direction would have been, the ending of politics of division which was the hallmark of the Jammeh era.
  • If things continue in the current trajectory, we will not achieve a sanitized political environment which we all yearn for, and where people compete on issues, and on matters of policy, but not about specially favored personalities, tribal interest, and even partisan interest, yes, politics is about interest notwithstanding. But there is also decent politics as once stated by the late President George Bush Senior.
  • The political wrangling is a distraction to the development The primary purpose of the development agenda is to alleviate the hardships of the populace (Job creation, youth advancement programs, affordability of quality education, access to quality health care, infrastructural development, economic advancement of our communities, woman’s development initiatives in community food production, and access to quality water which all contribute to the alleviation of poverty etc. etc. These issues are the bedrock of any development goals of any country on the phase of the earth.
  • Individuals and groups are not helping with political punditry of all kinds, fanning flames in the hearts of people who are in diametric political positions; adding to the already toxic political environment, and growing more toxic by the day.
  • Without sounding like an alarmist, the overall security of the country may be at risk because of unhealthy politicking.

Thinking of what could happen if we should fail to consider the above, is disheartening. More disheartening if the cause can be prevented only if our leadership would sit around the table and trash out matters for a better Gambia, but fail to do so.

As a concerned citizen, I propose to resolve these issues without delay. How might we resolve these issues? I proposed a handshake initiative for our political leaders to be followed by a dialogue of the cadre of political leadership. I hope that respectable religious leaders, national bodies in the civil society, and necessarily the involvement of international entities to spearhead a handshake initiative in the Gambia.  Hence mediation which will bring our leaders around the table is the only solution. This will bring about the lowering of the political temperatures in the country. This is necessary to avert the outcome of the political crisis of the type already seen as an example in recent history on the African continent.  History had shown us examples to learn from. 1) The inter-tribal clashes that occurred in Kenya during the Kibaki era were based on the political differences of the Kikuyu and Kalenjin; an intertribal clash.

As a result of this intertribal clash, fueled by political differences, the current president, Uhuru Kenyata and deputy president, William Ruto of Kenya were indicted and tried in the Hague. Prior to the case in the Hague, the two leaders shook hands and pledged to bring peace to the nation of Kenya which later resulted in the dua winning elections, and are currently serving their second term to end in the year 2021. The case was later discontinued at the Hague but one could not fail to think of the heavy price paid through lost of lives notwithstanding. Several hundreds of ordinary citizens lost their lives because of political agitation. 2) Similarly, we recall other political agitations that led to wanton and senseless unprovoked killings in the Central Africa Republic. 3) Needless to narrate here, one would not want to recall the tribal clashes of Rwanda between the Hutu and Tutsi. Shall we allow history to repeat itself on the African continent again? I do not even want to think of it.

We wish our political leadership would embrace each other in the name of national interest. The Gambia is at the crossroad and the world is watching. The whole world had admired our political maturity for using the ballot box as a means to an end; to remove a dictator. We should build on this admiration, this maturity and remain a political model that appeared to have been emulated by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the just-completed election (10/1/2019) to replace a long-serving president. Let us build on our gains for a better Gambia.  God bless The Gambia!

Morro Kruball, UTG

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