Politics, a National Issue: The Interview and the Coalition
The Author Bai Koro Sillah, a veteran Gambian journalist
Friday, November 04, 2011
Politics is a national issue. Hence a politician is a national figure. He or she sacrifices himself for welfare of a nation. And so, every person has right to him or her.
Thus, the recent interview of lawyer Ousainou Darboe, not only as a politician but as well, a party leader and hopeful presidential candidate for the Nov 24 presidential election by The Daily News editor-in-chief, Mr Saikou Jammeh is provocative indeed.
For the interview did not only touch on all matters pertaining to the crucial issue of the time - why a coalition of opposition could not be attained - but gave lawyer Darboe the golden opportunity to wipe-out all misconceptions.
But the answers fell far short of that. The answers given were only indication of personal agrandisement, selfishness and a quest by each of the parties to hold the presidency.
It is quite critical that with this hidden motive or agenda, the meetings upon meetings, not just about a coalition, but having one presidential candidate from the opposition camp, was the sole obstacle to the bid for coalition and the reason for the obvious failure of talks for a united front.
And so, they kept paying lip-service and giving flimsy excuses about the coalition only to baffle the public whose anxiety is so much hampered and ultimately would bear the consequences in the elections.
However, what the learned politicians failed to accept as fact is that the common denominator is to win the presidency. It is not who or which party holds the presidency. None of them could win in a straight poll for a simple majority even by one vote.
It could not therefore be idle to be so much intransigent and dogmatic that the UDP’s majority over its counterparts is an assurance to be able to win the presidency by itself alone in the elections.
In the opinion of many observers, UDP should have agreed to the proposed method of selecting a flag bearer in order to enhance chances of winning.
Politics is give and take. This encompasses huge sacrifices such as life, wealth, leadership, freedom and the like for the sake of the welfare of ones people. Examples are Nelson Mandela, Jommo Kenyatta, Patrice Lumumba, Saikou Touray and others who have become political heroes and martyrs in the fight for the liberation of their people.
Thus in this special circumstance, as a centre figure and a leader, lawyer Darboe was expected to be able to target the whole nation and convince if not all, but those doubting his leadership as a president.
This has been exemplified in the interview by the question: “How is UDP very much like and unlike the APRC as a party?
Darboe’s answer was that “… we share in common a view for better Gambia.”
Politically, Darboe should have explained how his UDP as a would-be government would much better develop the country in accordance with his party’s manifesto than the APRC. But the commonality of their view for a better Gambia would warrant a change of heart from the APRC as a government.
And again in another vein, lawyer Darboe this time around in the interview has praised the IEC for what he described as a positive change of attitude contrary to what he had expressed as almost a total lack of confidence in the IEC in the recent past.
Thus, he was giving distinction to the credibility of IEC even before votes are cast and counted. It is indeed a very rare case for a politician to praise electoral officials when elections are looming.
Even more startling in the interview, Darboe was dogging the question that he only had one more chance to unseat president Jammeh.
He said that the question was being personalised as it was not he Darboe who was contesting, but the UDP.
The title of any office is given to any person who holds that office in a stipulated term until the expiry of that term.
The title is synonymous to his name as mark of honour and a distinction from officials of the same office such as chief justice, prime minister, head teacher and others.
It is therefore within context to use the word party leader and presidential candidate to distinguish Ousainou Darboe from other members of the UDP.
And so in the same context, Yahya Jammeh, is no person other than the leader and presidential candidate of the APRC and as well the president of the republic of The Gambia.
Therefore, the president and Yahya Jammeh are the same person as long as he is in State House.
The presidential election is just with us. Whatever the outcome may be, it is apparent that the performance of the opposition parties, especially the failure of the coalition has devastated the opposition parties very much indeed.
And whatever are the shortcomings of the APRC, there is no dispute that it is a well organised party covering all groups of persons, including women, youths, elders, businessmen, musicians, religions leaders and farmers, among others. It has a very good campaign method.
Also, with a strong command of the state paraphernalia - the chiefs, alkalolu, village elders, women and youth, it would be a mokery of oneself to hope the defeat of the APRC presidential candidate, Yahya Jammeh on the 24 Nov. election.
And if emerged victorious from this presidential race, president Jammeh would not only be conferred specialist political scientist professor, but the untouchable president of The Gambia.
Author: Author: Alhagie Momodou B. Sillah, a veteran Gambian journalist