Let’s encourage pluralism

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

The Gambia is going through a very interesting phase of its politics, as the 8-member coalition government that evicted the Jammeh regime from power is rapidly disintegrating and transforming into mergers of three and two parties, whilst others are going solo or back to their roots, even before the end of the three-year period or mandate given themselves to co-ally.

As this scenario unfolds, the masses of our people are beginning to get baffled over what they consider as ‘bad omen’ for the success of the coalition government in the on-going three-year transition period of our new-found democracy.

This perception gives the impression that some of the people, if not most, would want the coalition to stay intact and continue to rule and administer the affairs of state until such a time it is deemed necessary for them to separate.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary elections are around the corner and this election provides the right of franchise through which the people elect their representatives. In other words, elect them, to have a strong say in how state affairs are governed in their interest and for their good.

Therefore,  if such a power is entrusted  in the hands  of  mainly  representatives of a coalition , it is considered by some school of thought  to be a delicate situation, in the sense that  the power  to make or amend laws, policies  and regulations, etc. is essentially vested in the hands of a few people who might not necessary work  in the interest of the people or serve the nation well.

It is also assumed that it will be difficult for the people to have control over what the probable rubber-stamp parliament would be. This situation exposes the nation to the whims and caprices or misdeeds of the Coalition, as it continues to lay the foundation for another dictatorial regime.

To avoid such a situation or the nursing of another dictatorial and fascist government, it is believed some amount of pluralism must be encouraged or tolerated so as to prevent one set of people dominating decision-making in the parliament.

Hence, break-away in the coalition should be expected and seen as something that would strengthen the country’s new found democracy, where views of our representatives from different parties will differ and disagree to agree on taking decisions in the interest and good of the masses of our people.

Also, a parliament full of only representatives of one group of people or parties is a platform that will serve as a recipe for dictatorship, human rights abuses such as stifling of freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of the press and all sorts of human rights violations, which would not augur well for our new-found democracy in The Gambia.

The parties in the Coalition can decide to break away and be on their own and continue to defend their various manifestos, as well as propagate their programmes and policies for them to be bought or accepted by the people, as long as such political views, opinions and programmes are decent and within the confines of the law.

While democracy is seen to be unfolding in the new dispensation, whichever way the parties or players in the political realm of our country choose to go, our cardinal concern is to ensure pluralism, freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of the press, good governance and a better standard of living are observed and maintained in our nation.

“I deeply believe in pluralism. I believe in the close proximity of multiple systems or agnostic systems.”
Ben Nicholson