It’s already a long struggle – 50 years. NCP and other political parties fought against PPP. The goal was not democracy (maybe am wrong, it was about their version of democracy). It would not have made any difference if anyone of those parties won and assume power. Perhaps some cosmetic changes – ‘A New Sheriff-In-Town’ with his clique.
About 20 years ago we had a new sheriff-in-town came – Yahya AJJ Jammeh. It seems his clique changes every 3 months or should I say he recycles the clique every 3 months. Many argued we’ve gotten worst politically, economically and socio-culturally. I couldn’t agree more! It made my point that a mere changing of the guard is ‘not necessarily a fix to the underlying problem’.
Our failure to fix the problem is not because is difficult, dangerous and/or complex. Certainly over time the effects of the problem became complicated and would require a meticulous approach to disentangle them.
Our problem is simply – ‘no democracy and/or lack of democracy’. This is true and non-negotiable because our nation was found as ‘A Democratic Republic’. Therefore the ownership of state resides with her people and government a representative servant on our interest based on the laws we provided them to govern.
From 1965 our governments have increasingly become ‘masters and the people their subject’. It’s definitely upside down, isn’t it? Of course this was/is possible because our people never had the ‘Requisite Human Capacity Capable of Democracy’. Instead of cultivating that capacity the governments took a detour for the ‘lust for power’.
As sad as that maybe, it’s even worst after 10s/100s of thousands of Gambians have read/write and travelled beyond any imagination of the average 1965 Gambian we still failed to identify the problem. Is it by accident we still do not have ‘A National Plan of Action’ to confront our problems? Repeatedly some want to convince us our solution lies on everyone go for PPP or APRC and/or some opposition coalition. First it’s unnatural for any group of human beings to agree one leader. More importantly it is undemocratic – democracy require a free choices and majority decision. In the process goes the blaming-game. I blamed you and you blamed me. While some simply heap blame on Yahya others said its opposition parties either their failure to unite or a leaders greed for power. Some even blamed to the everyday citizen who voted one way or another. Others blamed and/or frustrated about the number of Gambian Civil Society Organizations. There is a lot here but I will leave that for another day. Only to say none of the above are our problems and some are very good for democracy.
The only natural point of convergence as a nation/Gambians – is ‘democracy’. This is what we cannot differ. We were found/formed a democratic republic. It’s ‘non-negotiable’. Banding Drammeh and/or Imam Fatty can neither make us a Islamic theology nor can Bishop Johnson/Archbishop Fr. Cleary made us a church state – it doesn’t mean we are not religious but its an individual choice and state has no business in making that choice. Yahya and his green boys/girls will not succeed in ‘President For Life’ and/or ‘Constitutional Monarchy’ campaign. Yahya can wrap himself in 100 meters of clothing, carry swords bigger than those of Alimamy Samori Lafiya Toure and/or put on mite taller than those of Popes J. Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis combined – Gambia is and will remain a democracy. PPP/Jawara are living example of all these efforts. They’ve failed and we not even a practicing democracy.
The question now begging – what’s democracy? I’ll not transcribe the lexicon definition but give the practical governing meaning. I also want to take note of many of our compatriots (‘so called anti-democracy’) who confused democracy and the different governing philosophies within democracy. They’re so called anti-democracy because they’re personally benefiting from the status quo hence a vested interest of it continuity. A flip of the status quo will see them jump on democracy and the truth and/or used their sneaky skills to jump on the ‘Next Train At The Station’. Democracy has a universal meaning. That’s given! Individual governments take on the ideology of the leader and/or members. Basically the differences are the different schools of thought on the rightful role of government. The role of a democratic government no settled science – expect even further evolutions in the very near future. Democracy is settled. Their laziest argument at every opportunity is to stick finger at USA – the Bush/Gore Florida Recounts is one of their favorite guinea pig. As ugly as that may look at a distant ‘isn’t that democracy on full display’. There were laws in place telling what should happen in such eventuality. Unfortunately the populous argument was – change the laws because Gore overall has the popular vote while Bush won with the Electoral College. We can argue all day but instantaneous changes will be undemocratic. Isn’t that what Yahya does every time he want and/or need something.
It maybe be unhelpful to say lack of democracy/no democracy is our problem and leave it at that. It would require breaking it down to bite sizes for better consumption. This break down would define what is democracy in practice without transcribing the lexicon meaning. It’s important to note these conditions are not absolute – it’s a question of degree and the higher the more democratic.
A nation’s level of democracy is measured on the degree of the following:
- Capacitated Human Resources – a people freely accessing and utilizing accurate, managed and protected information for inform decision making
- A Separated/Distributed Governance and Decentralized Authority – governance with 3 co-existing arms of government, decision making about people and local matters left to those it impact
- Impartiality of Laws – laws are made to preserve the morality of the people, protect them and their property, administered and applied fairly while the rights of the individual is maximally protected
- Adequacy of Choices and Risks – citizens are free to make choices, political or otherwise, freely associate and take risk that they may benefit and/or face the otherwise consequences Creation of equal opportunity and not equal outcome
- Readily Available Accurate, Managed and Protected Social Data – this is an enabler condition; democracy doesn’t work on ego, it has to operate on information that is derive from well collected and managed data (birth, dead, ID, voters, vehicles, production/productivity, etc. registers)
This is the ‘ONLY’ thing we have in common. To have a lasting solution to our problems we would have to call people to rally on what our nation is found on – democracy. Doing so will lead us to why are we not a practicing democracy. The identification of those problems will guide our path to the natural solutions.
This is ‘A National Agenda’. It’s all-inclusive! We will not be propping up anyone’s particular interest. Instead it will level the ground, provide equal opportunities, laws made for our morality and protection, laws administer with impartiality and people will be able to make free and inform choices as they wish.
The early we come around to this and stop thinking that catapulting someone to the corridors of power in Banjul is the solution – the sooner we take charge and dictate the march towards masters of our own destiny. Failure means perpetuating to remain subjects of one leader and/or another.
The People’s Movement For Democratic Gambia’ was formed to sell this fundamental concept. We are a natural partner if your struggle is A Democratic Republic of The Gambia. In addition we also have ‘A Plan’ that will take us from being noisy in Europe/America to the ‘Corridors Of Power in Banjul’ to demand reforms/overhauls necessary for our nation to once and for all become ‘A Practicing Functioning Institutional Democracy’. Please join today to expand this frontiers of a lasting solution.
Involvement, comments, suggestions and questions welcome!
Burama FL Jammeh
The People’s Movement For Democratic Gambia
810 844 6040