Biran Gai: Gambia, A Country With a Loose Political Purpose

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By Biran Gai

It is no secret that The Gambia is encircled with circumstances that have retard its development for the past 55 years. Since independence, the governance structure of this country has not significantly positioned The Gambia to be reckoned as a great nation. This country has demonstrated up rightly in the past that the burning desire for change inspired by people’s commitment to remind the course of history was a scenario best depicted during our struggle for independence. These where moments marred with fanatic nationalism on the side of the oligopoly and the united forces in driving away foreign powers sprout prominent in the agendas of all liberation forces. One could cherish the symbolism of brotherhood which was highly palpable in people’s adoration to create a country call The Gambia. Small as it is, the shrunken ambition of the people was immune from all temptation of failure in the process of nation building. The consciousness at the time became very adaptive to people’s reasoning because the road map clearly sketches peoples vision and the sought of understanding developed within the collective values of the people. The preoccupation of freedom conquered the minds and as such precipitated a sprinting gap in terms of real differences when it comes to reconciliation of independent ambition and filling the gap of post independence. The two goals become parallel with the former been achieved and the latter found itself in a more loose dream. The first leadership was seen by many as the saviours of this land and from a right sense, what would be appeasing to them is a moral reward of unending leadership and time has justified this in the past. With the birth of nations, those who understood what freedom meant to them merited their stay in power and the directions they have pointed for their countries are enough for a rational justification. I am not quite in conformity with the direction of the first generation African leaders, neither am I also exaggerating nor disclaiming their rulership.  Nonetheless, thirty years rulership of Sir Dawda Jawara was unarguably obsolete within the parameters of development.The myth of a freedom fighter may not necessarily translate into the fact that he or she had what it takes to inspire a change from a greater political perspective that will encapsulate the economic goal of a country or having a catalyst impact on the ordinary lives of its citizens. A Plato argued the idea of a ‘philosopher king’ is to let society be ruled by men with knowledge. In a definitive sense, I would not only coined knowledge to mean those of degree holders or career academicians, but people with a focus vision in whose political agenda and will become  a propellant invincible course of action and is legitimately at par with the greater good of all

In order to affirm its independence, The Gambia needed to prove it’s survival by first challenging what was a prejudice name duped by imperialist ‘The improbable nation’. The size and the geographical position of the country prompted such dubious theories to emerged, but frankly their questions were rational. Independence was a victory for The Gambia. The  Gambia, just like other African countries was vicious of the fact that the rise into power from within by nationals will serve as a pavement in building an ideal state. During the early days of independence couple with the positive energy by the then independent leaders was a genuine thinking and an unashamed political standpoint. The baffling scenario for me during the first republic is their inability to dribble their ideas into goals achieving. My opinionated views on the characterisation of the first Republic have always been the fact that, for me, Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, was a liberation leader and this was the sketched of his political administration. He was visionary that is not an overstatement. However, I still rank him among those African leaders who have ideas of liberation and not in possession of ideal ideas of development. There should be a demarcation of one having romantic political ideas and the pragmatism needed to reflect these ideas towards changing the life of ordinary downtrodden masses of a country’s people. The regime lacks that decisive vision and their prolongation in political power attracts substantive divergence perception as to what composite their rating or positioning in the history of Gambia’s political adventure. America is what is it today because of the uncompromising stands of the founding fathers who fiercely built a productive nations base on a philosophy of democratic patriotism and a well established leadership structure that is centered on progressivism and a sustainable governance system.

The transformation of any nation most have revolved on a particular idea or the assembling of values from thinkers of unselfish intention who sees it as a patriotic duty to cement such doctrine that would concrete itself as not only a dominant idea, but an accepted idea by a people of a country. A nation which fails to orchestrate such a criteria is an essential partner to its own defeat.

What appeal to our senses as humans is when we always relishes the moment that our being into Earth is temporal and that the journey transit after death, what informed our consent to not only excite ourselves with hope, but also to believe that there is a prophecy of a great future that precedes after death. The Biblical revelation and other theological references that has alerted our conscience of what life entails and the fulfilment that awaits us in the hereafter the wonders, miracles and signs has substantively given us reason to be hopeful of a future after this world. But looking at the trajectory of Gambia’s political governance one can entirely paraphrase it with politics of Mediocrity. The leadership as a political mantra has not redirected what can be defined as a political fiasco into somewhat workable unit and usher us into a renaissance Gambia. The dominion and myth of nations in the 21st century is closely link to the level in which state have transformed their societies overnight and these tangible positive transitioning to a considerable extend, must ideally sprout out of state that is aspired by the people and were the governorship have a visionary reasoning that concomitantly correlate to the interest of the wider society.

The beginning of political fiasco in any given nation can be closely associated to the betrayal of political promises by politicians. Lip service politicking has been the hallmark of African politics and Gambia’s political narratives is of no little player to such a political tricks envisage by disgruntled politicians. Calibrating the current prefix and state of Gambia’s political paradigm, one can say, affirmative, to the fact that our country lacks political hygiene. Taken a closer look of political parties who per their symbol of unification in ejecting former president Yahya Jammeh out of power, visualised a great statement of intend by a political group who wanted to bring a decipher to what was a degenerating political system under Jammeh. The discovery of a new political voyage fill with hope and excitement arouses with the shrunken ambition of so many Gambians who eagerly waited in anticipation for a political redemption.

Referencing the trajectories of Gambian politics, it is overwhelmed with growing discontent from the populace who in their greater numbers felt been betrayed. The aforementioned depiction arises out of a political system that for so long has failed to usher us into better days and the spiralling socio-economic upheavals continues to spike up the misery. The oligopoly of this country remains increasingly sickening because their appearances and posture within the political arena needs comprehensive scrutiny. It should be appealing to every human conscience that politics should strive on ideas nor should it be on the basics of self perpetuated desires by a proportionate percentage of segregated personalities. It is highly palpable among many of our politicians that they lack substantive political values to run a country. The changing nature of politics commands for aptitude reasoning and this would come in the form of relating to proper plans and panacea driven reaction to swiftly address such societal inconsistencies. The new found democracy in the Gambia is protracted by many political aspirants as a potential easy short cut to political power. It is not with too much of a consideration that the number of political parties germinating is on the increase, in a wise, the liberalisation of the political space is the architect of such environment. If there is anything that we can appreciate from Jammeh’s administration was the fact that  his visions for the Gambia was nothing differing from that of a loose political cannon because of his uncontrollable ambition for power and also propagating rhetoric that lacks direction. Looking at contemporary Gambian politics and the three years five years political mayhem, we felt been betrayed and our political destiny been hijacked by undesirable figures at the echelon of our political governance. The coalition dream was a collective one at the time of its resurgence, but looking at the standpoint of parties that where encapsulated within the agreement proof those critics who believes in the nefarious nature of politicians to be correct. Understandably, political parties represent certain interest which should move beyond self seeking aggrandizement into a more resilient and broader appreciation of the greater good.  It is in the new Gambia that we have seen nomadic politicians gallivanting from one party to another searching for political greener pastures. No intention of sabotaging their political conviction, wondering, if they even have any. Parties should be representation of certain interest and political values. However, these values should correlate to the individual’s ideological standpoint. In The Gambia, the regard for such is never static and our malleable political society permitted such a kind. It will be considered a political earthquake in America that famous politicians can change colours from a Republican to a Democrat like no man’s business. Even if we have such registered trends in the US, the intensity of such occurring will be of no close match to how it is been done in the Gambia.

The spiralling nature of political indiscipline in the country is worrisome. It is in Gambian politics that we still regard our party leaders as demy gods and where their personalities are even accorded more credit than the parties so call visions. Post independence Africa was an interesting times and that was where the journey of decadence and tumultuous politicking began to sprout. When Alex Thomson narrates on the level of political arrangement in the African continent in his Book ‘Introduction to African Politics’ at the time of independence the relationship of the state and civil society was balconied through state clientele system. This was a system of client patron relationship between the leadership and the varying groups in society. This sought of a spoil system was seen by many first generation African leaders as a necessary prank to gaining majority support and in return the regime will reward these poor political illiterate with political favours. The gift from the ruler-ship towards this fulfilment was seemingly on the basics of enhancing electoral support either be it through ethnicity or by other means. At times when hopes are very high in the new Gambia, the country is taken a paradigm shift and it is without contestation that  we are hypnotised by the practice of somewhat undecorated political system that is far from being rational with our political destiny.

After decades of independence, our political arrangement is quite dubious for the simple fact that we lack to synchronise one particular ideal pattern of governance. The creation of a workable structure would have baptised our oligopoly together with the civilian population into what could be an accepted political philosophy that no one can betray. Is it highly noticeable that within the fabrics of Gambian politics, the system is very susceptible and can easily be dribble passed by narcotic politicians without been justiceably penalise. If for years of attaining sovereign status, our country is still dependant on mendicancy to provide for its citizens then somewhere lays the problem. Gambia is still one of the most indebted countries in the Sahelian region and it is crystal clear that the political leadership is yet to have any presentable alternative to bring a decipher to such an unending economic dependence

The art of politicking in the Gambia needs to be canonised by both the governed and the governors, who must be in tandem for such a desirable political goal to be realistic. Having a political environment that is rotten to the core signals a very transparent gateway towards a looming and catastrophic polity. No society can strive with the absent of certain moral values and the internalisation of such values should become intrinsic as a way of life for the people. It is a sought of a moral appeal been consciously personalise by members in a given polity and as such, it therefore serve as a prerequisite that will define particular set of manners upon which people ought to compose themselves. The broader perspectives is geared towards crafting a social and political environment that will be sanitise and for people to draw inspiration from a nationalistic view point as postulated by Kwame Nkrumah “seek ye first the political Kingdom and all else will follow”. Nkrumah would not have put it more precisely.

By Biran Gai

Political Scientist.

Email: birangai10@gmail.com

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