#Article (Archive)

Let’s nurture the peace

Nov 22, 2013, 10:02 AM

There is no doubt that peace and unity are indispensable to progress. Where chaos and anarchy reign, real progress can never take place.

Despite the heterogeneous composition of Gambian society, there is peace here, which makes it the envy of the region.

It is this culture of peace that we want to see nurtured with vigilance, so that The Gambia could be turned into the Silicon Valley of the African continent.

Having different ideologies should never make us enemies.

One requirement of true and lasting peace though is for political leaders to commit themselves to social justice, as well as economic justice.

Where there is neither, discontent becomes prevalent, and it can find expression in many and various tragic ways, as we have seen in some parts of the continent.

There should also be political tolerance.

If The Gambia belongs to all of us, as many would say, then the views of the opposition parties should be taken into account in managing the affairs of the country.

When the opposition parties are consulted on matters of national importance, they will feel a sense of belonging that would impact positively on our politics and on our national development endeavours.

But, then again, one thing we always emphasized on these pages is that being in opposition is not a licence to run down a ruling party.

In a democracy, an opposition political party is just a flip side of the governing one. Each has a manifesto, spelling out its beliefs and intentions for a country.

It is on the basis of this manifesto that the electorate decides which party to entrust with the management of the affairs of state. When the prevailing needs and aspirations of the people are in agreement with the manifesto of a political party, that party carries the day.

But changing circumstances could make the same manifesto irrelevant to the electorate, who would then again vote out that same party. Seen in this light, it is the political party that is most responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people, at any given point in time, that is given the mandate to govern.

That is how democracy works!

Afterall, politics is a contest between rival forces for the same ends - the control of power. But how that power is used, when it is obtained, is a different matter altogether.

Preferably, it should be exercised in the best interest of the people, in whom real sovereignty lies.

“Our objective in the establishment of the state is the greatest happiness of the whole, and not that of any one class”.