By Louise Jobe
Gambian political leaders have pledged to respect the guidelines enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding and the Code of Conduct for political parties as the country edges closer to the presidential election slated for 4th December, 2021.
The political leaders made the pledge during the Inter-Party Committee (IPC) first quarterly breakfast meeting held over the weekend (20th March, 2021) at Dawda Jawara International Conference Center.
The meeting, which was convened by IPC in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), brought together all political leaders to demonstrate their commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding and Code of Conduct among political parties.
The Code of Conduct has provisions binding parties to work together towards sustaining peace and holding of free, transparent, credible and peaceful elections.
Established by registered political parties, the Committee’s quarterly breakfast meeting was viewed important to bring leaders together and build consensus on matters of national interest and concern, including the conduct of peaceful, transparent and credible elections.
Musa Amul Nyassi, the Master of Ceremony, said the IPC creates safe spaces for political actors to come together to discuss matters of mutual interest and further settle divisive and contentious issues.
“Such conversations are crucial to bridge gaps in communication, promote trust and collaboration among the political leaders especially in countries on the path to democracy where difficult decisions need to be made on contested fundamental reforms or institutional changes,” he said.
Nyassi said conflicts, interparty strife and polarized relations between political parties can block a country’s development.
“On the other hand, a basic level of trust and cooperation between political parties can pave the way for peace, stability and sustainable growth. Cooperation between political parties is also vital to ensure that democracy and peace become deeply rooted going beyond electoral competition,” he added.
After the presentation of key provisions of the Code of Conduct by the co-Chairperson of IPC, Halifa Sallah, party leaders had exchanges and re-committed themselves to the Memorandum of Understanding and the Code of conduct.
Meanwhile, since the dawn of the new dispensation in 2017, The Gambia will be holding its first presidential election in December 2021 and political divisions are already evident.
The meeting was attended by leaders, representatives of all the 17 registered political parties, Inter-Party Committee (IPC) members, United Nations Representative, national and international stakeholders among others.