Less than two months before the 4th December presidential election, presidential hopefuls are busy crisscrossing the country trying to win the hearts and minds of the electorate, the ‘king makers’, so to speak, who will decide on that important day who will serve them as president for the next five years.
No incidence of violence has been reported so far and speeches, though full of fire, are less insulting than in past election campaigns. If this trend continues Gambia will boast of a peaceful, free and transparent election.
The culture of political campaign has to change. We have to move away from the politics of mudslinging, subterfuges and personal attacks to the politics of issues. Debates of presidential candidates should be encouraged by independent media organisations. Will such debates that will bring the nominated presidential candidates face to face be organised by independent media organisations after nominations? This will enable the incumbent to defend the plans and policies of the current government and for his opponents who intend to replace him to come up with real alternatives that are superior to what the current government is pursuing. This will encourage the electorate to focus more on issues than on sentiments when making up their minds as to who to vote for. Needless to say, the Finance Minister will table the estimates of income and expenditure at the National Assembly a week from now. This will open an avenue for debate.
The Gambia has to move forward. An election is worthy of its name if the electorate are capable of making an informed choice.