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Brave Literate Citizens for Electoral Nomination, Crowd Funding, and Monitoring of Representatives (BLiCiElNoCFaMoRe)

Mar 2, 2017, 12:42 PM

For too long Cowards and illiterates led and influenced Gambian Politics, but where are the Brave and caring literate Citizens ready to take over Gambian Politics? A wise American president said: “When the competent do nothing, the incompetent will take over.”  We are less than two weeks before candidate registration ends and just about six weeks for parliamentary elections and the Coalition are yet to even decide how to run. Meaning we may vote without informed choices and accept any candidate thrown at us? That will be very stupid of us and how many will then continue to blame them? Read through and take a stand today for a change in the Gambia and possible exportation beyond Africa. We must demand some things from the coalition or we all vote Independent candidates.

First, how to get the best candidates from the Coalition or as Independent? The brave literate citizens should present them about three candidates or choose our own, if they reject the three we deem fit. Every major Word in the title is paramount in this special club for better representatives.

Brave or Bravery: The club must demand and encourage bravery through debates, open and secret voting for representatives. For example: if the Jokadu District club has about 2000 members – after listening to debates on every ministry, 700 members openly voted for candidate A and about 400 members secretly voted for candidate A, it makes it harder for candidate B or C to claim fraud like Jammeh and Ms. Clinton wrongly did. Open voting is not for everyone and not trying to copy the U.S primary system. We do not need super delegates on voting, but something similar as committee.

Literate or Literacy: The club should be only for literate folks, illiterates can donate and submit suggestions, but not vote on party nominations.  Since we are looking for change and politics is too complex for illiterates, we must bravely show our illiterate parents that they should listen to us more than we listen to them on politics. Continuation example on Jokadu: About 70% of illiterate partners have two or more literate children, meaning the youths are the majority, not the women or community elders. How rarely do candidates target youths, especially in Africa? Beside the majority of the 2000 members, how many elders and members will eventually vote for the candidate Jokadu literates deem fit. Since it is for literates, we can have website, emails, and other means to communicate – allowing illiterates will make the communication harder and more time consuming. We can have online voting, SMS voting, etc to save money than U.S primaries as example. Ultimately every party may borrow and have something similar, but we can take the lead and remain united against them if they include illiterates.

Citizen: Since this is a new thing in the Gambia, and perhaps in the world – I will leave it open to debate with suggestions. I want us to start one immediately for Jokadu district, NBD. Beside the 2000 Jokadu members, I think it will be wise to allow Niumi Literate citizens to join the Jokadu club, if Niumi does not have the club system yet. The Jokadu MP will make decisions that will affect the Niumi citizens, so Niumi folks can be allowed to advise and vote where it may help. The Niumi members who meet our requirements, including financial contributions, will likely vote better than some Jokadu natives who may vote on bloodline than honest decision based on thoughts.  We ultimately want similar clubs, nationwide, to choose presidential candidates for parties, rather than the one person party ownership across most of Africa. So the literate folks should network as much as possible, but the local committees can decide if only Jokadu Citizens or any qualify Gambian citizen can join the club for change. Beyond Gambia, If a Senegalese, Nigerian, or others in the U.S want to join, help fund, and possibly learn through the Jokadu BLiCiElNoCFaMoRe, only cowardice and lack of love may question “why” until our laws advise otherwise. I will love to be a member in as many constituencies as possible, donating based on how ideal are the candidates.

Electoral Nomination: A nomination based on election or wider audience than the traditional behind the scene hands-up system by community elders and mothers of questionable clubs (Yaaye Compin). A system that failed to produce the best of us for decades needs change. Every member will only have vote at the nomination of candidates. It will be mainly youths who can vote through online, SMS voting, etc. We will have live weekend debate and voting for educated elders who are not computer literate. 

Crowd Funding: Financial Sacrifice is not exclusive to literates, but illiterates find it harder to understand political financial sacrifice. Many illiterates have faulty expectations from politicians and vice versa. It took right or wrong explanations to have a culture that heavily donates to naming ceremonies, wedding, religious ceremonies, etc. So few simple questions should be asked to mainly literate folks to start a culture of funding for the best candidates. How much money will you donate every year to non-political ceremonies versus political ceremonies for every five years? D100, D200, or D300 for regular membership and D5000 or D15,000 for premium membership or committee level. How many thousands can we quickly generate through members, plus donations from literate and illiterate ones? Every payment should be verifiable or you are not literate enough to be in our club, or waste our time on accusations. Suppose you want to remain anonymous, we will still accommodate you with number based receipt to be posted on our website. Amadou Gigo, Saihou Omar Gigo, and how many others are quick to donate D30,000 annually for Muhammad’s birthday or heavy meat eating in Jokadu, so how can we convince them to donate similar or stop complaining. We know they are less likely to leave their lucrative business to sacrifice for us like Trump, Bloomberg, and how many educated business folks? We know many donated over D5000 repeatedly to some form of fund raising by Jammeh or Jawara – we must help the willing altruistic young ones beyond registration fees and feeding volunteers.

Monitoring: Accountability is necessary to earn more trust. Suppose we raise D200,000 for our preferred candidate – we will expect the committee to show us how it was spent – food, Transport, fees, etc. Some things will be debatable but we can remind literate ones on tolerance. We cannot allow personal bribes from our money as tolerable in the name of culture. The whole purpose of such clubs is to change the culture of politics beyond the Gambia.  We fought against what we deem wrong in foreign elections, but when will we confront our own? The secondary monitoring includes advising members on what is being debated at the parliament and giving suggestions to representatives. It does not mean the representative will always vote based on the committee or general members recommendations, because the representative have to be convinced or else will be like a robot.

Why we should consider Independent candidates over the Coalition?

Simply put, the coalition and no party should be able to expel any voted MP through party expulsion.  They have made serious mistakes and demonstrating snail-pace politics to be blindly trusted. Imagine a very competent MP being expelled for disagreeing with the coalition or any party?  Our constitution must be rewritten and some executive orders or solid agreements must be made to this effect. The role of the party is really more of recommendation, and should never be able to overthrow a candidate or people’s voice except through the judiciary, ‘impeachable offence’. Any difference they may have means they can recommend someone different in due time. We must avoid unnecessary elections and loop holes to dictate MPs with fear of dismissal.

Further on unnecessary elections, we must demand the Coalition to scrap their internal agreement of “three years” for Barrow or re-write it for the vice president at the time to rule the remaining two years. Beside waste of money, elections come with risks. It is shameful that they cannot trust each other and expect us to trust them? I have differences with Barrow but I should be able to convince him or tolerate him for five years. We have other priorities than trying to honor an agreement that was unconstitutional and cowardly in many ways. Demonstrate respect for our constitution and money, or all literate folks should recommend Independent candidates. A robust parliament can be created through independent candidates if the Literate folks take it to a new level with or without me as the head at the national or regional level. For now, I am looking for potential candidates and committee members to join me for the Jokadu District. We must register an independent candidate before the dead line. If the coalition fails to work with us or present a reasonable candidate, let us all vote independent. If you think you are among the best to represent the constituency and having money problems, still contact us. We will demand at least fifteen thousand from potential candidates, plus the mentioned ways of funding to fund the best candidate.

Mr. Ousman Ndure of Willingara,  Kombo North, is one good example of why and how the literate folks should consider Independent candidates. Mr Ndure is highly educated and capable of getting higher paying jobs than MP. He was an instructor at GTTI, worked for Shell International, and many other respectable institutions. If the constitution could have guarantee Mr Ndure he won’t be expelled, I would have recommended he run for the coalition or a party. Now that he is using his hard earned funds to register as independent because of the coalition close door approach, among other things, we must still support him as a principled and altruistic Gambian.

Regardless of what the Coalition decides, please avoid voting APRC or PPP members, even if they run under the coalition banner. These two parties did terrible things for decades and hardly admitting their wrongs. Avoid voting for anyone around seventy, old folks should advise but no longer lead Africa. May the Lord bless us and continue to bless Showlove Trinity: Let’s learn, let’s work, let’s have fun.

By Jarga Kebba Ndure

An Activist and            Transformer