Opinion: After all, can we trust our politicians?
By Basidia M Drammeh:
Public trust in local politicians is alarmingly eroding in the Gambia, amid unkept promises. When major opposition political players came together to form a Coalition in 2016 to unseat longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh, they reached a gentleman agreement that stipulates a three-year transition program. Under the agreement, the winner would oversee the implementation of an ambitious reform in order to restore democracy and rule of law to the country following two decades of tyranny and autocracy under Jammeh. The Coalition partners also sought to herald in a new era that would put a definitive end to self-perpetuation in power.
During the campaign, the Coalition's flag-bearer Mr. Adama Barrow has consistently reiterated his pledge to serve for three years upon which he would organize free and fair elections to which he would not be a party. Since his dramatic win, Mr. Barrow made conflicting statements with regard to his tenure in office. He initially stated that the decision rests with the electorate. However, Mr. Barrow, in a thundering tone, during a rally in Brikama earlier this year, affirmed that he would serve his five-year mandate no matter what. The remarks did not go down well with the President’s remarks accusing him of reneging his promise. Meanwhile, the leader of the United Democratic Party Ousainou Darboe was on record when he was serving as Foreign Minister in Barrow’s first Cabinet that the President should be allowed to serve out his five-year constitutional mandate and threatened to take part anyone who forces Barrow to prematurely step down. In a major U-turn last week, Darboe backtracked on this stance, thus calling on Barrow to honour the Coalition Agreement by bowing out in December. The decision had left tongues wagging both inside the country and beyond. Though the Party’s militants have been scrumming to justify the move, the decision has raised serious questions and the trustworthiness of our political actors. We have equally seen instances when politicians make contradictory statements after being shown the exit door exposing their inconsistency and opportunism. During campaigns politicians make all sorts of promises to win the hearts and minds of the electorate but very few pledges would be kept. Though I am not affiliated with any political entity, I must admit that PDOIS stands out to be probably the most consistent and principled party in the country. Politicians need to engage in serious confidence building, otherwise, the country stands to witness yet another voter apathy in the next election cycle.
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