The Challenge Of Internal Party Democracy


The general expectation is that if there is going to be any political conflict, it would be between parties and not within parties.

Recent developments during and after a number of party congresses tend to confirm that people who belong to the same political parties could heap insults on each other and exchange inflammatory and derogatory remarks. This trend will not help political parties to build the integrity of the key instruments of leadership to enable the people to fill the highest offices of the land.

It is one thing to be among the silent majority and another thing to choose to be a member of a political party.

Section 60 of the Constitution states:

“(2)  No association shall be registered or remain registered as a political party if—

(a) it is formed or organised on an ethnic, sectional, religious or regional basis;

(b) its internal organisation does not conform with democratic principles”

Members of political parties should be able to debate and come to decisions in a mature way rather than promote internal conflict.

Political parties have a role to play  

Section 103 A of the Elections Act states that, “political parties may be established to–

(a) participate in the shaping of the political will of the people;

(b)   disseminate information of political ideas and on political, economic and social programmes of national character; and

(c ) sponsor candidates for public elections.”

Section 104 adds that, “(3)  The number of political parties shall not be limited by law and every citizen of The Gambia shall have the right freely  to choose  whether  or  not he or  she becomes a member of a political party and which party he or she supports.”

People should join political parties whose policies they support or help to formulate.