17 March 2017

Gambia: Let's Observe Peace and Stability


The wind of electioneering for the Parliamentary elections is right on the horizon, as 239 candidates have been nominated and are qualified to contest for seats in the 53 constituencies across the country.

Nine political parties and some independent candidates have thrown their hats into the polling ring, vying for seats in the National Assembly. This has definitely made this race stiff and tough as they crisscross the length and breadth of their constituencies, and across the country to garner support and votes from the electorate.

This is the true spirit of democracy, which needs peace and stability to produce good results.

We are, therefore, appealing to all and sundry, especially staunch supporters of candidates, to respect the values of peace and tranquility on the platform of just and fair play as we progress with the campaign.

It is really good that one of the candidates, just like many of them are advocating, is also urging all supporters, as well as candidates to observe the peace and stability in the country.

"I am also advising my fellow aspiring candidates to maintain peace and stability, especially during this campaign, and I will do everything possible to play my part in the maintenance of peace in our beloved Gambia," were the Lower Fulladu West candidate's words of advice.

The various political parties in The Gambia last week signed a memorandum of understanding to observe the spirit of peace, dialogue, cooperation and serene electioneering.

The nine registered political parties in the country signed the MoU, which states how the parties would relate with one another, as well as ensure the ruling party refrains from the practice of abuse of state resources, which is commonplace in Africa and elsewhere. The Gambia, unfortunately, is a case in point, particularly under the Jammeh regime.

The parliamentary elections have prompted and necessitated the MoU signing, which unfortunately failed to take place prior to the December 1, 2016 presidential election under former president Jammeh.

The MoU, as stated, is a by-product of a common desire to create a peaceful and stable political environment, as it would encourage political parties to operate within the confines of the constitution and other laws of The Gambia.

It is vital that the agreement is poised to encourage dialogue and cooperation among political parties and respect for authority.

Elections around the world, especially in Africa, are always infested with violence and other crises, mainly ignited by party supporters and perpetuated and fuelled by political leaders in their interest, but to the detriment of national cohesion, progress and development of a country.

To deter such happenings in The Gambia, we are, therefore, emphasising the spirit of the MoU, which calls for dialogue and cooperation among political parties, to promote and consolidate democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance in our country.

As we nurture a healthy inter-party relationship to promote an environment of free and fair electoral process, we are essentially living no room for violence and disorder.

So let's therefore observe the peace and stability we are known for.


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