It has become an incontrovertible datum that Gambians have achieved in a short period of time what other nations have failed to achieve in decades.
Within the period of one year, Gambians collectively exerted efforts to peacefully uproot an entrenched dictator of two decades through ballot boxes.
Since the installation of the new coalition government led by H.E President Adama Barrow, The Gambia has embarked on a long process of erecting an almost-collapse nation, a process that includes not only building democratic institutions but also reconciling with the past, as a necessary step to restructured our already social bonds.
Despite this, loomed in the surface of our political scene is the lack of a coherent shared set of beliefs that will make this process smoother for Barrow’s government.
This is compounded by budget constraints, unrealistic expectations of citizens about the amelioration of their living standards, constant social problems related to unfound tribalism and security challenges.
Thus, the process of achieving a political stability become challenger than projected during the campaign.
Therefore, while all the inductions suggest a bright future for the Gambian political and social stability, amid prosperous of its economy from its current recession, needed to speed up this is developing a shared cognitive orientation (knowledge and awareness about political objects like politicians and political institutions) and shared effective orientation (feelings and emotions about these political objects), which institute our political culture.
In other words, we need to build a shared set of ways of thinking about politics and government – a pattern of orientations to political objects.
This will produce a conducive environment within which political conflict is conducted and public policy is made.
To achieve this thorny task of political stability, our political cultures should be reoriented to reflect the following spirits:
Patriotism: This entails identification with the nation and to ensure political loyalties to the nation as well as putting the security and the welfare of the Gambia and the government above all nations and governments.
Trust in people: This means that we should not trust only members of groups we belong to (family, tribe, class, religion or regions) and that we should not see anyone else as the enemy should they hold different views and beliefs from ours.
Confidence in institutions: There should be a popular confidence that our authorities have won their positions and posts rightfully, and that they make and enforce their decisions by proper procedures. This is necessary to respect their decision and compliance to policies.
Citizens’ obligations: That is obeying the law; which means doing what the authorities have required and not doing what the authorities have forbidden regardless of whether citizens agree with the wisdom or fairness of the authorities’ decisions.
Cultural and social tolerance: This means accepting others and their cultural heritage which includes, their languages, music and their way of life. This should be reflected in our daily lives as well as in our official dealings.
We need to develop this consistent political culture to nurture our democracy and political stability.
Thus, it is incumbent upon our politicians, especially oppositions, to inculcate these cultures into the belief system of their supporters.
Likewise, media fraternities and education should give enough space and time to the teaching of these to the nations. Online radios in the diaspora, activists and active members of various political parties should reorient their political beliefs and discourse to reflect these five components.
Unless this is done, materializing political stability and a stable nation will remain an elusive dream to Gambians.