Do We Have Genuine Opposition Parties in The Gambia?
The role of the opposition parties in a multiparty democracy is so important that one can safely say that without a genuine and vibrant opposition, democracy dies a natural death. The government in such a situation will be left almost without anyone to check it or hold it to account. It is among the role of the opposition to check the government at all times.
Towards this end, opposition parties should organize themselves and prepare to engage meaningfully in order to ensure that they serve the interest of the nation by holding the government to account. This they can do by setting up shadow governments whereby the relevant ministries will offer alternative solutions or policies where the sitting government is failing.
However, in The Gambia, opposition parties do not have shadow governments and hardly offer any trainings for their followers or offer alternative solutions to governance problems. Mostly, what they do is criticize usually unnecessarily because it will have to be at the right time or for the right reasons.
What most of them are good at most of the time is bickering and spewing innuendos at each other for cheap popularity and thus government continues to do whatever they like. Perhaps on rare occasions and from maybe one or two parties, one may hear them raise genuine issues and offer suggestions but that is the exception, not the rule.
Take for instance Mr. Mamma Kandeh, the Secretary General and leader of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC). Sometime last year, he made wild allegations that the coalition government was sharing millions of dalasis meant for the development of the country, an allegation he could neither prove nor was he interested in pursuing.
This morning (Monday, 27th May 2019), in The Standard Newspaper, Mr. Musa Batchily, the leader of the Gambia Action Party (GAP) is quoted as saying that if President Adama Barrow does not invite all the opposition parties to a meeting within three months, he will expose the massive corruption in government. What a crap!
I am in no way saying that there is no corruption in government (which is most likely the order of the day in some areas) but should it be used as a ticket to see the president and pose for a photo op or should the GAP leader genuinely expose whatever he thinks is wrong for the benefit of the country?
I think it is high time that the citizens of this country started holding these opposition parties accountable also. Before focusing on criticizing the government, sometimes needlessly, they must put their houses in order first so that they can be poised to change it through the democratic means provided by the Constitutions. Why would they just condone whatever government does by not offering an effective way to tackle it?
Musa Bah is a teacher at Nusrat Senior Secondary School. He is also a
writer, novelist, poet and social commentator. He is currently the
vice president of the Writers’ Association of The Gambia.