The forthcoming by-election in Nianija constituency has thrown up yet another opportunity for the politicians to do what they enjoy doing most - trading words. Femi Peters of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) had boasted that his political party would win the constituency hands down. But shortly after his boast or overweening optimism, an APRC man Seedy Njie has written off Femi Peters's high hopes as unrealistic, even laughable. "The opposition camp in the country has lost direction for the simple reason that Gambians are no longer fools. People are no longer interested in people who have lost credibility and that is what the opposition are," Hon Njie said.
This should certainly sting the great Femi Peters who believes that the time has come for the opposition to control the political destiny of the country. To have his party dismissed as not trustworthy must be hard on him. But to be a politician you need to have a thick skin; otherwise you will break down due to the incessant attacks on your person or integrity, or the psychological warfare that politicians frequently wage on one another.
What is going on between Femi Peters and Seedy Njie is purely a psychological warfare. Both men are trying to test each other's nerves to see who will crumble under ferocious attack. Njie is young and feisty, willing to make his mark. By contrast, Peters is a veteran of many battles - some won, some lost. He knows from experience that the road can be rough; he knows that winners don't quit and quitters don't win. So whatever happens, Peters is ready to stay the course to see what happens on 18 December, which is just around the corner. His APRC counterpart, on the hand, is new to the game. But such greenhorns tend to give more of themselves in order to win the trophy. So no matter what happens, he will fight until he sees the APRC win the seat.
The by-election therefore offers high drama in the days ahead. It is likely that we are yet to see the end of the war of words. The more it builds up, the more the excitement in the build-up to 18 December. So who will represent the Nianija people at the National Assembly, the opposition or the APRC? Only time will tell.
Politicians are the same everywhere. They promise to build a bridge even when there's no river."