QUESTION OF THE DAY
“In advanced places and more tolerant and less greedy societies – people step aside when they see that they have tried and can’t make a change, and allow fresh faces to lead. Gambia is the opposite.
“When people want to lead political parties forever, they would obviously want to be President forever.
“Democracy and tolerance and less greed for power should start in opposition parties (as governments in waiting). But, if they self-perpetuate while in opposition, there is no guarantee that they would not do the same when they are in office.”
I do not know how other parties would respond but I consider Mr Joof’s comment to be commonsense understanding of politics and not knowledge-based understanding of politics.
I do not know how he would describe Germany and UK where there is no term limit. Is there less greed for power in the US where there is a term limit?
It is unfortunate that Mr Joof links political office to privilege that one wants to cling to. In PDOIS’ case political office is linked to sacrifice and deprivation of privilege. Our history reveals contribution of one third of monthly civil service income to build a party, buying passenger vehicles from such fund to maintain a party during the period leading to and after its formation; selling personal property like compounds to add to party funds, opening up night schools to teach adults free of charge at our expense , establishing early childhood educational centres to help working mothers and fathers, building a media house to challenge the monopoly of the ruling party on state media and conduct civic education to free a population that was living in the stone age as far as democracy was concerned .
In short, PDOIS found Gambia where there was no level ground for multi-party contest and had to conduct civic education without access to any state or electronic media in order to raise awareness by fighting ignorance so that the people would finally take charge of their destiny. This is a protracted struggle requiring consistency and self-abnegation chartered by refusal of Ministerial posts, and other privileges normally associated with state power. In 1994 8 PDOIS leaders rejected Ministerial posts as well as in 1997. They built coalitions in 2011 and 2016 and accepted others to lead. Where is the greed?
It is clear and incapable of distortion that the PDOIS leadership is carrying a load that few would wish to put on their heads and are turning their backs at pomp and privilege just to give the country a new democratic beginning that would enable the country to have a level ground for multi-party contest.
It is genuine multi party contests that had been prevented by many self-perpetuating rulers that should be the basis of the peaceful transfer of power from one party to the other, thus ensuring shadow cabinets when a party is out of office and functions as a government in waiting. This is what encourages parties to hold very competitive primaries to facilitate change of candidates.
At least PDOIS has achieved the fundamental aim of ensuring a peaceful transfer of power through the ballot at least once in our life time. The party is now moving rapidly to build new foundation. The Secretary General has already announced that he will not contest seat in the National Assembly of the Gambia. He has also declared that he will never serve more than one term if he were to be ever elected to the office of President. This cannot be taken as empty words since he has rejected Ministerial posts twice before. PDOIS is a service-based and greed free party. This is the verdict of history and truth and it is incontrovertible.
Apparently Modou Joof is advertently hiding with the self-perpetuating rulers to make it impossible for any genuine opposition party to contest a free and fair election and is blaming all opposition parties for their feeble performances while struggling to break the chains.