What am I

All political discourse on Gambian online forums (especially amongst opposition supporters) has deteriorated into taking sides - not in the context of a particular issue, but in the Manichean sense of are you a supporter of the original NADD project or are you for the UDP/NRP alliance. It is increasingly difficult to take a nuanced stance on any topic when it comes to opposition politics in the Gambia. So try to find out where I stand.

I do not support the withdrawal of the UDP/NRP from the NADD alliance. However when they did, I fully supported their right to association. If we are going to build a truly democratic society, we should be tolerant of others right to choose what they want, notwithstanding the extent to which we disagree with their decisions.

I fully support the need for PDOIS (NADD’s biggest constituent party today) to forcefully espouse the virtues of enlightenment in the electorate, but oppose the contorted lengths their supporters will go to malign the characters of those who disagree with them as unpatriotic.

I am a believer in values such as honesty, forgiveness, trust and tolerance. However, I oppose extremist of any nature (be they religious or political). Both parties to NADD have broken a tenet of these values along the way and since the breakup. The vitriol displayed is sometimes stupid considering that both alliances lost the presidential elections. The status quo characterized by cronyism, nepotism and brutality remains intact and arguably strengthened by the results. Instead of formulating ideas to undermine that stranglehold, opposition camps are harking back and forth at trying to lay blame on each other for their woeful showing at the polls. Get over it guys, we lost and will lost again if we don’t learn anything from the previous six months: that obtusely clinging to ego will not get anyone anywhere. Pragmatism is what makes great political movements.

I am a firm believer in the capitalist system of competition, but was flabbergasted at the rhetoric employed by all presidential aspirants during the run up to the elections. They promised the electorate everything under the sky, instead of calling on the ingenuity of their countrymen. It was all a bash of feel good rhetoric with no basis in macroeconomics.

Do I believe government has a role to ameliorate poverty and its effects? You bet. What I don’t like and in fact despise is candidates to political office bamboozling the electorate with grand schemes that will not come to pass. Both candidates did that in one form or another. Instead of promising to buy farmers produce, why don’t they promise to institute policies that will foster an environment where private entities could fill the void. Governments and the bureaucracy they entail are not the best machinery for the undertakings that is needed to market our farmers produce.

Despite what the UDP/NRP alliance might be saying, the electorate has spoken. Do I like the result? No, but I agree with the electorates right to decide the nature of society they want to live in. If the process leading to the election was fraudulent, they should have not participated in it. Somebody should have figure out that you don’t play in a flawed game and cry foul at the result.

I think I have managed to piss off both parties to the September 22 poll. What label should I apply to myself? I consider myself a concerned Gambian, but opinion been what it is, you go ahead and label me.

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