At such a time in the Gambia’s young and newly found democracy and freedom, it is time to shift gears and focus on creating a roadmap that will unite the nation, provide solutions and make the country a gateway for foreign direct investments.
Gambia’s near drowning in 22 years of dictatorship economically isolated and politically sanctioned the country. We lost our competitive advantage and we became the example of everything bad for entrepreneurs.
Opposition leader Mama Kandeh wants to scream that the elections were not fair. Gambia is not in the position to entertain an unnecessary political standoff. Kandeh, in fact, should be proud that his young party won 5 seats like other veteran parties, which actually back Barrow.
Election observers from the EU, AU and ECOWAS all say the polls were transparent, and all the uproar on social media and in the dotted ‘bantabas’ across the country accusing the UDP of unfairly taking an absolute majority by causing a fracture in the coalition and tribal politics will not help build a Gambia we can all be proud of.
“The parliamentary elections were clean, fair and credible. And UDP won fair and square, period. To attribute their win to tribal politics, as some would like us to believe, is folly and insidious as worst,” said Gambia’s former Foreign Minister, Sidi Sanneh.
Sanneh says it is time that we move away from this kind of criticism, which in his view, adds little value to the conversation.
“In fact, it has a diminishing effect,” he said.
Sanneh and I share a perspective: the challenges facing us as a country are enormous that demand from us not only our analytical and theoretical in proposing a roadmap for the new government but providing solutions to making Gambia competitive and a place we can all be proud to call home again.
This election shows Gambians are more aware of their political responsibilities today and the power they have as voters more than ever.
For the first, no party, including one from which the president emerges from won a super majority. This should be a proud moment for those that want to see democracy shine brightly in the small nation, which taught the world how to oust an autocratic without a shot being fired.
Above all, this election manifested the strength of and the challenges every political party faces in the next presidential elections.
Instead of being a wimp about their losses, political leaders should go back to base, get their analysts and strategists to work, examine their missteps, close loopholes and be well prepared to secure a victory.
The bottom line and the reality we must all live with is this: Ousainou Darboe and his UDP won fair and square. Yahya Jammeh is living with his loss in Equatorial Guinea, live with yours.