• Basidia M. Drammeh

Commentary: Drum-besting politics must end!

Updated: Aug 26

Veteran politician Halifa Sallah and political pundit Dr. Ismaila Ceesay must be commended for mustering courage and audacity to square off in a first-debate of its kind in Gambia’s history. The debate adds nuance to Gambia’s democratic dispensation and sets the tone for the 2021 presidential elections. Gambia’s politics has long been characterized by drum-beating, fanfare, empty promises and character assassination rather than focus on issues and policies to address socio-economic challenges in a country beset by abject poverty and bedevilled by endemic corruption and bureaucratic ineptitude for more than half a century since the country attained (in)dependence.


Since the debate was announced following Dr. Ceesay’s brazen challenge of members of the Coalition, there had been feverish anticipation for the debate involving two political luminaries. Dr. Ceesay accused all members of the Coalition of failing Gambians who reposed their trust in them to deliver the new Gambia after the uprooting of the former dictatorial regime of President Jammeh. Honourable Sallah, widely seen as the mastermind of the 2016 Coalition, wasted no time in accepting the challenge.


The two gentlemen have not only deliberated over the 2016 coalition, which was the genesis of the debate but they were also engaged in heated exchanges over policy and the way forward to pull the Gambia out of its economic woes and stagnation.


To me, both gentlemen have won by beating mediocre politics and raiding the bar for other politicians in the country.


Veteran journalist Harona Drammeh deserves commendation for professionally moderating the program and raising all the relevant issues and pertinent questions.


I hope this momentum is maintained by extending invitations to all presidential aspirants to participate in presidential debates to highlight their policies and programs.


Politics of personal attacks, insults and character assassination must stop. Drum-beating politics should come to an end and make room for debating issues affecting the lives and the livelihoods of the masses.


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