Peaceful electioneering and matters of national concern

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The political momentum in the country is bubbling as leaders of political parties take turns to appear at the Independent Electoral Commission house (IEC) for nomination, less than three weeks to the December 1 presidential election.

Soon after the nomination, which wraps up today, parties will be released on Wednesday 16 to crisscross the country as they engage in a nationwide campaign to canvass votes for the seat of the presidency.

In this atmosphere of political activities, we reiterate our call for a peaceful electioneering under the watch and fair play ‘disposition’ of the electoral commission.

The airtime on state TV GRTS, and the allocation of time and days for party rallies, should be handled in the most appropriate manner that should give no semblance of favouritism or bias by all the concerned institutions.

Peace starts with fair play and justice, so these virtues must be maintained in officiating or overseeing electioneering matters.

We are, however, calling on all and sundry to cherish peace and tranquillity, and eschew violence and hatred.

Violence and hatred should have no place in modern day electioneering. The just-concluded US election is a case in point in terms of non-violence and protection of the national interest.

The battleground in our election really should be on national issues such as the economy, industrialisation, job creation, electricity and water supply, provision of quality and affordable education, food and health, foreign exchange rate and inflation, housing and road rehabilitation, poverty alleviation, human rights and democracy, freedom of association and expression, press freedom, international relations, and good governance.

These are among the burning issues at play in the hearts and minds of the people of this country, not violence and hate speech.

The Gambia needs continual progress, growth and development in all facets of life. And so these are the heart cries the people want addressed, so that abject poverty, school dropout, teenage pregnancy, alcoholism and drug addiction, back-way or illegal migration, and misery can be put under arrest.

  “We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower