Opinion: Our Political Parties and Their Responsibilities
Political parties have a huge role to play in a multiparty democracy. There cannot be any progress in the area of good governance without the political parties playing their roles. It is the political parties that give us the President, the National Assembly Members, Councilors and Mayors.
Therefore, it is unfathomable for the political parties to not be concerned and not speaking out or engaging when issues of national import arise in the country. In most democratic countries, when issues of national import arise the political parties are all over it.
They make their views known by speaking out in the media or writing position papers, appearing on television and/or radio talk shows but most importantly, they use their representatives in the national assembly to bring about change.
In The Gambia unfortunately, our political parties (or most of them) have not been engaging fully when issues of national import arise. We have seen this repeatedly that issues of national importance will arise and everyone will be talking about it but the political parties remain mute.
Most of our political parties only engage with the people during election season. Before, during and a little after elections, one can see and hear political parties talk about their plans and positions on some issues. But after the elections, one hardly sees them take an active interest in what the government does or does not do. This is hindering our progress.
One of the roles of political parties, especially the opposition parties, is to hold the government of the day accountable for its (in)actions. This means that on every issue, the opposition parties should have a say. They should engage and tell the people what they would have done or what the government of the day should do in certain situations.
For example, we have not heard of any political party talk about the Diploatic Passport saga. They should have spoken out about it and inform the people about what their position is on this matter, Similarly, the arrest of the thirtyseven youths, the Janneh Commission and so on. It’s high time our political parties took charge of their role in the governance of the country.
There is the issue of reforming media laws which has not been forthcoming as desired but they have not said anything about it. The political parties have to speak out and seek to hold government to account. Another role political parties have is to educate their members, give them the political awareness they need and let them know that power lies in the hands of the people.
The most talked about political question currently is the Three Years Jotna movement who are calling for the president to honour his promise and step down after the three years he campaigned on. Yet, most political parties have given it a passing mention in their discourses. This is an issue they should be interested in.
Unless we reform our political parties to take up their role, our democracy won’t progress.
Editors note: Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjur News Online. Got an opinion article? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com