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Three different visions for Gambia’s progress

Nov 17, 2011, 1:26 PM

By this time next week Thursday, Gambians will be going to the polls to mandate any of the three presidential hopefuls to steer the affairs of state for the next five years.

It could be the incumbent president Yahya Jammeh, or Ousainou Darboe, the standard-bearer of the UDP/GMC/PPP alliance or Hamat Bah, the independent candidate standing under the banner of the opposition United Front.

It will all be known shortly.

For the past five days, all three presidential candidates have been up to the neck in selling their manifestos to the electorate.

Throughout his campaign, President Yahya Jammeh drew attention to the monumental infrastructural development he has accomplished. He reiterated that more and more of such would be seen in the next five years.

By contrast, Ousainou Darboe has reaffirmed that improving the lot of Gambian farmers will be his priority.

He reasons are that farmers are engaged in upholding the backbone of the Gambian economy, and so they deserve a better deal.

For Hamat Bah, it is the entrenchment of democratic structures that is overriding.

The United Front intends to transform the country democratically, and then establish democratic institutions that will operate on the principle of respect for fundamental rights and freedoms.

Clearly, the three presidential aspirants have three different visions for The Gambia’s progress.

The APRC candidate envisions a country that is infrastructurally transformed with all the concomitant social, economic and political dividends.

The UDP presidential aspirant, on the other hand, envisions a Gambia where farmers, who form the majority, are given pride of place so that the country can rapidly achieve food self-sufficiency.

And for the independent presidential aspirant, he envisions a country where the rule of law will always prevail.

The three different visions represent three different approaches towards moving The Gambia forward.

In the larger picture of things, all the three visions are potentially beneficial to Gambians.

We cannot say which is the best, but we can suggest to the eventual winner to incorporate the two other visions into his development agenda for the country.

And in the overall interest of The Gambia, we also suggest that the eventual winner should establish a non-partisan think tank that will integrate and harness all the three different visions.

Every Gambian, irrespective of political and ethnic affiliations, should be given a chance to contribute meaningfully to the development of our Motherland - The Gambia.

“May the best candidate win”