Friday, August 19, 2022

Foroyaa Has Opened This Column For Political Debate On Divergent Views, A Political Debate That Is Enriching, Enlightening And Free From Insults, That Is Geared Towards Nurturing A New Gambian In Order To Build A New Gambia.


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In response to the press statement of the Secretary General of PDOIS Foroyaa picked the following from facebook which aims to introduce divergent views.

Part 2

Mr Pata PJ  Saidykhan did make the following remarks:

ANC claims to be a centre of the left political party. PDOIS is a leftist party.”

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“PDOIS has never had more than 5 parliamentarians at any one time in the Gambia’s Parliament/National Assembly. And the 4 they have this year is circumstantial and mainly cos the UDP chooses to tactly (sic!) seat out and not contest against them in 3 of those seats.” 

It is important for the sake of clarity to engage Mr Saidykhan on these two remarks. First and foremost, may we ask, is ANC a centre leftist party? Is PDOIS a leftist party? What is the definition of a leftist party? What is the definition of a centre left party?

What are the policies of a centre-left party? What are the policies of a leftist party? Mr Saidykhan will find it very difficult to address this question. Stigma and branding have been the diseases that have affected the minds of many Africans which have barred them from examining the nature and characteristics of political systems. They simply brand their opponents with terminologies like leftist, radical, communist and so on and so forth. We hope that this is not the disease that has affected this particular PDOIS critique.

PDOIS has never claimed to be engaged in a football match where you have left wings and right wings. PDOIS claims that Gambia is an agrarian society living on a rural economy. Industry contributes only 16 percent of GDP. Hence there are few industries while the school system releases over 500,000 youth every twelve years. PDOIS has proven that capital investment has not generated sufficient employment to save over 70 percent of the population from poverty.

PDOIS stands for the cooperative economy where sovereign national wealth derived from dividends from public enterprises and shares from mining corporations, etc. would be put in a cooperative to give seeds, fertilisers and farm implements to family farms for family production, and the same is given to village farms whose output would be put in a village fund to finance milling machines and other labour saving devices, provide water and other village amenities. We can go on and on.

The cooperative banks will finance cottage industries or appropriate industries to process farm produce and will also link them to those at the marketing end in order to complete the production, processing and marketing chain for sustainable economic development. We have also even shown how the KMC and Banjul City Council can collaborate with Social Security to change the face of our cities by exchanging poorly constructed houses in a whole street with tall buildings that would accommodate those who surrender their land and others who are contributors to social security fund. We can go on and on to show how sovereign national wealth should go back to the people to provide productive inputs to ensure individual and social income to facilitate economic and social prosperity.

We will be disseminating the PDOIS programme in the party magazine GONGO which will soon be published for the consumption of our readers. Is this what Mr Saidy is referring to as leftist? Is he really saying that the ANC is opposed to this policy? We pause to hear from him so that we can elaborate more on PDOIS policies.

On the other hand Mr Saidykhan gave the impression that without the charitable action of the UDP, PDOIS would not have had even four seats in the National Assembly. This is a very interesting notion. Mr Saidykhan has all of a sudden forgotten that in 2016 the UDP leader and his executive were incarcerated in Mile 2. He was also above 65. It is the PDOIS leadership that concentrated in mobilising all the leaders which ultimately gave rise to change of December 2016. Without that change one would not have been talking about UDP winning seats, one would have been talking about freeing its leaders from jail. Instead of showing appreciation to the PDOIS leadership, he is now trying to transform PDOIS into an object of pity and charity. This is how quickly some people forget the lessons of contemporary history. Mr Saidykhan has forgotten the coalition’s aim to put party behind and allow to contest on coalition ticket and then start the race after three years.

Some claim that they do not want their party to die so they campaigned by putting Barrow’s photo to their photos, putting their flags besides the coalition flag and telling the constituents that the tactical alliance was the coalition and those who were not part of it were the opposition. PDOIS was identified as a party that did not even take ministerial posts and will give Barrow trouble if elected to the National Assembly. Has this campaign tactic been forgotten so quickly? Has the chicken not come home to roast? Have some NAMs not been classified as Barrow’s NAMs even though they stood on a UDP ticket. Didn’t some parties recruit many people who wanted to stand as coalition candidates by offering them campaign funds to win them over to their parties?

Let us conclude by saying that from 1996 to 2016 party politics was dead in The Gambia and coalition politics was the order of the day. PDOIS could have got close to President Barrow and exploited the advantages to build its party machinery. The end result is what other parties are experiencing today. One cannot escape the tutelage of those who give you political weight. That is a lesson of history and it is incontrovertible.

Let us remind Mr Saidykhan that he should check his facts before drawing conclusion. During the council election UDP did put up candidates in both Bartez and London wards in Serrekunda Constituency but lost in both wards. Now that exploiting President Barrow’s executive power is no longer going to benefit any individual political party, Gambians will only know the weight of political parties in the next political cycle, where Gambians who are qualified to vote at home and abroad will cast their vote. It is then that we will accept the true reflection of PDOIS’ political weight. We hope Mr Saidykhan will wait till that time before passing judgment on PDOIS’ political weight. That is how matters stand.

Read part 1

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