The abrasive rhetoric coming from the party surrogates towards each other has reached a boiling point in recent weeks and perhaps, this underscores the broader need for a better party talking points strategy —rather than catering to a particular political perspective. Attempting to run an election campaign with unnecessarily rhetoric, historically, at least, has proven a foolhardy for encouraging unity. But preaching to the choir does little to unite people against the dictator, make progress in crossover appeal or change minds of worried undecided voters in a very flattering way. At this point in time, some people with credible knowledge about strategies to walk around the dictatorship potholes and others with political influence in the diaspora, should be working in tandem with various party leaders to facilitate unity. We all agree that it is time to thoughtfully engage people in an attempt to pick out the best candidate for coalition. They have a great opportunity to use their influence in such a way that it would correct past errors, promoting a sense of unity to temper down the current political angst and the rabid infighting, while at the same time fulfilling their long-overdue promise of helping to dislodge dictatorship.
However, the surrogates battle on the airwaves has picked up pace and some people are responding, in many instances, with defiance that their party alone can defeat the dictator. It’s funny anecdotally, but it is not the way forward. Other hopefuls, embittered in desperation, are pulling out all the stops to derail Dr. Touray and unleashed a brash onslaught of attacks on her apparent momentum, attempting to paint her as imposing herself on people. This undermines trust and invites deceit. The intemperate remarks of surrogates only create havoc within the parties and destroying any prospects of possible single coalition for stopping Dictator Yaya Jammeh’s reelection come December. Their opinions have become an albatross of disunity, squabbling over irrelevant issues, and bickering over the candidates, thus leaving Gambians incredibly frustrated and dumbfounded by the over-politicization going on social media and the airwaves used as a divisive political weapon.
Some are very bitter, chastising people and even resorting to bullying tactics publicity stunts by making wild statements about people instead of addressing the issues. In fact, because of this flagrant problem, most Gambians find it difficult to support them enthusiastically. Yet, most people fail to realize that these attacks the presidential hopefuls are equally offensive, if not foolish and entirely off-base, and they have consequences. There is too much is at stake and this is giving the dictator the distraction he needs to continue terrorizing Gambians and resting comfortability. If the hypothetical opinions of surrogates broadcasted on the online radios in regards to the upcoming election seems confusing or is ostensibly giving you pause– don’t worry, you are not alone but the great news is party officials are doing ground work in an attempt to forge a coalition ahead. Of course, some of surrogates or people within party will be promoting their candidates flawlessly in an attempt to sell their candidate but they end up making it seem like there is a potential intra-party competition.
The Dictator too is desperately seeking to find his mojo back but it’s too late for his to be relevant again because his hands are all stain win blood and sins of his victims. As of now, beyond the partisan pummeling, the party leaders are working behind the scenes and we pray that they strike a deal for a coalition. Perhaps most serious, regardless of disagreements, let’s not give the dictator chance to lick his wounds because he is untrustworthy and incapable of governing our beloved Gambia. The problems to be addressed are numerous but misconceptions about individuals and party positions tends to stunt progress on other fronts. In fact, our assumptions about others, in other words, can easily hinder our ability to honestly deal with each other and create vital solutions. The good thing is, there is some cause for optimism though, because — there is a current inter party meeting going in Gambia initiated by PDOIS — with the possibility of a coalition breakthrough. Beyond that, let’s find effective means of dealing with our concerns and communicating their beliefs effectively in a persuasive manner — if you wish to hold a candidate’s feet’s to the fire in clarifying their positions.
However, the most troubling thing is Yahya Jammeh is sitting by untouched, enjoying people in the opposition parties pitting against each other in a dangerous political game and licking his wounds. The consequences of which may backfire and have dire electoral consequences for the opposition grass root to get excited in rally around one candidate for the coalition and, more importantly, on productive political discourse progress. Dictator Yaya Jammeh have dispatched his team of ministers with their mayor and are using the political opportunity— by quietly running away from the spotlight whiles bowing their heads low to their knees to walk around issues. It is troubling that they are conducting apology tours in villages for their worrisome missteps and doing their typical local politics of using the nation resources to buy off people with societal influence. This is indeed an outage but the good thing is: two decades of demagoguery of the opposition and killing of the Gambian people from Yahya Jammeh has manifested itself into call of change and spread to all parts of the country.
Time is moving fast towards election and kicking the can of unity down the road is not the wisest thing to do. People should remember our elders and tortured women are in prisons —in various part of the country, sleeping on hard wooden beds infested with mosquitoes and the most degrading toilet facilities. The demagoguery against party leaders and people only deepens divides at a time when the Gambians citizens are looking for optimism and a reason to band together and tackle challenges facing the country for twenty-two years. Let’s rub our eyes lashes from the dust Yahya Jammeh blow in our eyes and wash them with water to see him as the enemy-not ourselves. We should avoid the unthinkable become reality in December 2nd because the Godfather of dictatorship will symbolically began passing the torch to his eldest son -Muhammed. Still, the pathway of progress has to be primarily cleared by all party leaders whom are driven to serve us to show up in meetings unless they are ill, instead of their deputies to answer the difficult existential questions. It is probably wise to take heed now because unity and superstition (our lifelong companion of setbacks) in our politics to take on the dictatorship has always been our uphill climb to enlightenment.
Habib ( A Concerned Gambian)