Jan 21, 2009, 5:23 AM
The forthcoming presidential election is, no doubt, getting closer as we now have less than three weeks to go.
As it is always the case, this is a time when most politicians do what they like to do most, hit-and-run smear campaign.
But as we always implored in these pages, our politicians must try to turn their backs on hit-and-run smear campaigns, and face up to the challenges confronting the ordinary Gambian in the street, as the nation heads towards yet another presidential election.
We have always emphasized that the average Gambian will only crave for a government that will create the enabling environment for their prosperity, come 24th November.
Gambians want to have food regularly on the table; they want to pay their children’s school fees without tears; they want to see the tap water running 24 hours non-stop; and they want to be sure that any time they flick on the switch, there is electricity, whether at the office or workshop or in their homes and respect for their rights. They also need a government that always respect their fundamental right and freedoms.
Undoubtedly, a leader who can do all these, and much more for the populace, will enjoy their unalloyed loyalty. We have also maintained on several occasions that change just for change’s sake will never help.
As we always say on this page, Gambians are now fed up with criticism; they want constructive action. Our politicians must learn to be creative and results-oriented.
Instead of criticising, they must create entire new paradigms for The Gambia’s development.
It is evident that, if sound economic structures are put in place, our youth will not need to risk life and limb to cross treacherous seas to seek greener pastures in
Our politicians must cease to play to the gallery by exploiting the predicament of our people.
What Gambians want to hear is not the reiteration of their problems, but practical ways of getting round the problems.
While we pray for a peaceful, free and fair election in the country, we would like to urge all the players in the political scene, and all Gambians in general to work towards ensuring this.
We should avoid anything that would hinder the holding of free and fair elections, as this will go against the image of our peaceful country.
Also the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) party should be seen to be accommodative of criticism, and understand that the constitution guarantees every citizen of The Gambia the right to associate and support any political party of his or her choice.
Now that we are about to enter the campaign period, we believe that all political parties should be given equal access to the national TV and radio, as this will augur well for our democracy.
On the other hand, the opposition must also be seen to be criticizing constructively, and to give credit where credit is due.
While the IEC has already expressed its determination to ensure a successful election, we also call on all Gambians to not only end at registering as voters, but also come out and vote during elections to avoid voter apathy.
Our message is that all contesting political parties should display a high sense of maturity and treat each other with respect.
“The politician’s prayer is may my words be ever soft and low, for I may have to eat them.”
The Sunday Times