You want to create a manifesto, just Google “manifesto” and you will get 1000’s of samples, take one that suite your environment polish it and bingo! Even a form four high school student can perfectly do it especially with their mastering of IT, smart phones and Internet of things. Any candidate trumpeting a manifesto should first give the PDOIS a big kudos when they produced one long time ago when the Internet was non-existent.
Who reads a manifesto in Africa? Not the semi-literate majority who form the majority of voters. A manifesto in Africa is meant for the consumption of the minority schooled elite.
Gambians confused politics in the Western hemisphere and politics on the African Continent. They are totally different in form and context.
In the Western world, politics centers on policies and programs and foreign policy. You will never hear a Western candidate campaigning by telling people I have built roads, schools, hospitals, and houses for you if the person is the incumbent seeking for another term in office or a new candidate vying to be elected. Rule of law, the independent of the judiciary and the legislative are also not part of their campaign speeches for these are acquired facts and realities and they know it is the intellect and taxes that people pay that made all of the above possible. A candidate who venture into the above propaganda will be taken to mental hospital in fact that candidate will not even pass the test of party lines primaries. This is why Western presidents age fast when elected into office because the challenged in the delivery of their mandate, whiles their African counterparts get fatter and shiner and younger, because they are not challenged and are given exclusive powers that no institution can challenge. Having these extraordinary powers conferred on them transformed them into dictators and family feuds.
Whiles these campaign slogans are not a criteria in the Western world; it is the modus operandi of the African candidate campaign trails. The reason being that the majority of African still think that it is the presidents that dip their hands into their personal pockets to build the national infrastructures and the African intelligentsia are not doing a good job in enlightening the tax payers that is their monies spent by presidents except in the Gambia PDOIS. Until the African intelligentsia fight for the independence of the Judiciary and the Legislature as CONTROL institutions of the over powerful presidency, Africa will NEVER take off.
Power is sweet and corrupts easily and absolute power transforms the person into a political animal generating dictators and family feuds. The power of African presidents must be reduced to the level of the Western hemisphere for them to become the SERVANTS of the people and not the masters of the people. Manifestos are the least respected by African presidents and president Macky Sall is a prime example when he accepted the “ National Charter of Benno Siggil Senegal headed by Professor Amadou Moctar Mbow of UNESCO” during the second round voting only to dilute it when elected into office. Only the House of Parliament could have rejected the diluted piece of legislature but because of party lines and the veto power of the president, the “watery law” passed despite the huge campaign against it. Having control of the national coffers and applying the “stomach politics” versus the meager resources of the Opposition parties made the diluted law passed like pay as you pass go.
The African presidential candidate is entrenched in what we call the “stomach politics”. The candidate is only audible to the audience when he or she talks about food, health, schools, houses, hotels and roads etc. Since independence, politicians in connivance the corrupt technocrats and the top brass army officials conspired to keep the populations ignorant of the power of their taxes and voting cards. Until the new honest intelligentsia unlocks the TRUTH in people hearts and minds, they will remain victims of corrupt governments and politicians.
As far as the Gambia is concern only a trusted charismatic leader can appeal to the people yarning for change and make them go out in large numbers to put their voting weight behind that person. Insulting, vindicating, vendetta and promise for revenge will not appeal to the majority electorate in the Gambia. It is only the promise of peace, stability and development that can appeal to the ordinary people. After 22 years Gambians know who Yaya Jammeh is so there is no need to remind people, as they are the victims. He who feels it knows it.
CHANGE back to the smiling coast is the most appealing slogan to the Gambian electorate than anything else.
Written By Baboucarr Bojang.