Mr. Mbai, kindly allow me to add my voice to your recent brilliant editorial on why “Halifa Sallah is not electable” published on July 3rd, 2016 and also to respond to the article written by one of the disciples, Mr. SulayMan Bah of PDOIS who responded to your editorial.
In your editorial Mr. Mbai, you have brilliantly stated all the reasons I always find as main obstacles to PDOIS political progress since its inception some thirty years ago. As you rightly pointed out, PDOIS being one of the oldest political party in the Gambia is not only declining but in my view the party has also lost credibility among Gambian electorates and diaspora at large. This has been evidence in the party’s poor performance since its inception resulting from lack of clarity in their messaging, outdated political strategy, lack of honesty in the leadership in their refusal to recognize our current predicament as military dictatorship, attack on diaspora, rigid temperament and self-righteousness character of PDOIS leadership. PDOIS and Halifa Sallah’s failures in Gambia’s politics has many factors but among the most important factor is the party’s inability to connect with voters due to their uncompromising and outdated political strategy based on not understanding culture and Gambia’s political dynamics. Any given society, you need to understand the nature or “group thinking” of the people before you can successfully win their confidence or votes to support your programs and later when you become successful, you can put in place relevant institutions or policies to transform the society. This is one of first mistake of the PDOIS since its inception because they do not understand the people and cannot connect with the electorates.
In our current military dictatorship, I agree with you that “Mr. Sallah is not a straight shooter” in his political deliberations and he pandered a lot without clarity in his communications. This is where his political honesty and credibility comes into question. Mr. Sallah’s honesty and credibility is question by those Gambians who PDOIS even considered as political conscious citizens. A true and honest politician should always make known to people what is his or her true position (s) on issues and speak with clarity. Honesty and credibility are cornerstone of success of any politician. Halifa Sallah and PDOIS knows that The Gambia is under military dictatorship but he still refuses to recognize this simple fact. PDOIS political statements and strategy does indicate that they are an agent of dictatorship because they failed to do what it takes to be fighting for true liberation of Gambia from current military dictatorship. The reasons for legitimization of dictatorship is their refusal to work with any decent organizations and failure to recognize that we live under dictatorship, their lack of political will, their business interest, antagonistic attitude towards keys players and diaspora which I already mentioned in my previous article named “PDOIS is as an agent of military Dictatorship”. In addition to these factors mentioned above, I completely agree with you that Mr Sallah is not only electable as president in the Gambia and to borrow a quote from his progeny, Dictator Yaya Jammeh, he will never be president in the Gambia in “one billion years” because Gambians will not elect someone who is not likeable, honest, lack of clarity and vagueness in communications and unwillingness to fight to ensure that Dictatorship is remove.
I won’t waste much space to respond to extreme supporter like Sulayman Bah whose rumblings is that of typical indoctrinated disciples style of lack of thinking outside the checked box of PDOIS. I find Mr. Bah’s statements below not only concerning and it further confirmed my belief that PDOIS is not interested in regime change. Here is the statement below from Mr. Sulayman Bah’s published in July 5th, 2016 in respond to your editorial.
“For example, a leader of a political party who knows about all the rules of the game that at age 65, he cannot contest as a candidate and did not do anything during the five years since 2011 but decided to take what may be termed as desperate measure of taking to the streets with a view to creating chaos only in five months to election”.
In the above statement, it is indeed an insult to the efforts of peaceful protesters who put their lives on the line to fight for electoral reforms and UDP leadership subsequent protest to ask for SOLO SANDERG death or alive and demand the release of all the peaceful protesters illegally kidnapped by the Jammeh’s regime. Such an irresponsible statement is also an insult to those who yearn for justice and rule of law in our country. It further exposes the mindset of indoctrinated individual who lack true understanding of justice and constitutional rights of both UDP leadership and peaceful protesters. How can any sane opposition supporter call the actions of UDP leadership and peaceful protesters as “creating chaos only five months to election”.
The above statement also indicates to honest and decent Gambians that PDOIS and its supporters are only interested in mere election to legitimize dictatorship but they are not interested in free and fair electoral process which the call for electoral reforms truly represent and advocate for. PDOIS leadership attack on diaspora as “warmongers” and its supporters continuous call for UDP and peaceful protesters efforts as “creating chaos” and as a “distraction” in many online forum and face book is further evidence that PDOIS is only engage in empty political rhetoric but they are truly interested in the current political oppression to continue. Every patriotic and decent citizens knows that proper electoral reforms are the best ingredients for genuine democracy and proper representation of the interest of our citizens. PDOIS and its supporters are better off with current political dispensation based on the track record of the party and its supporters in their rhetoric and political strategy in our current predicament.
Written By Maxs Jarju