#Article (Archive)

Political Maturity Must Prevail for Our Democracy

Jan 27, 2009, 4:57 AM

President Jammeh tells us that "criticism is fertilizer" for him. Many will not be surprised by this revelation as many citizens know the president to be both direct and definite in responding and reacting to critics in the past. It is a happy thing however that we can criticize, it is an essential component of a healthy democracy.

No human being is perfect so it is the most natural thing in the world that we all get things wrong from time to time. Only God Almighty is possessed of the ability to never make mistakes.

We can try to emulate him of course but ultimately we are destined to fail from time to time. Where we fail or make mistakes however our fellow citizens, advisors, family and friends can often see where we went wrong and give us advice as to how we might rectify our mistakes.

This kind of dialogue and discussion is not only healthy but also extremely productive. Two heads, as the saying goes, are better than one.  It obscures the facts and truth behind a wall of disingenuous pandering.

The ability to accept criticism is also very positive as it shows not only humility but a willingness to grow and learn through the life experience which can be the best teacher one can learn from.

Of course criticism for criticisms sake is a betrayal of the positive aspects of offering reasonable advice on mistakes. Some people misuse the facility and in doing so cheapen it. It must be wielded with great care so as to as effective as possible when advice is given or criticism offered.

Thankfully we have an opposition in The Gambia which does only criticize when necessary and they feel they can do so constructively. This is why it is such a positive thing to hear President Jammeh say that he will listen to criticism and take it on board. Our democracy needs this kind of approach if it is to remain healthy.

For far too long on this continent people have been subjected to megalomaniacal leaders who thought of themselves not as men but as infallible gods whose word and every whim was law.

Unfortunately our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe are still suffering this kind of torment today but we pray that soon Mugabe will begin to think of his people rather than himself and relinquish his grip on power.

Meanwhile we pray that a vibrant democracy can continue to flourish in The Gambia where criticism is both offered and taken in the spirit that it should be; for the benefit of all the Gambian people.

"Nor in the Critic let the Man be lost. Good-nature and good-sense must ever join; to err is human, to forgive, divine"