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The Path Forward For The Gambia: Learning From Senegal’s Democratic Progress

by Haruna Jallow

In recent days or weeks, a recurring question has emerged both within and beyond the borders of The Gambia: Can we draw lession from Senegal’s recent advancements in governance?

To consider emulating the strides made by Senegal and the Pastef party, The Gambia must first lay a solid foundation:

1. Constitutional Reform: We must prioritize reintroducing the new draft or drafting of a new, inclusive constitution by the end of 2024/2025, ensuring that it reflects the diverse voices of our nation.

2. Electoral Reform: An inclusive electoral reform in imperative, to be completed before the end of 2024/2025. This reform should emphasize the adoption of a ’50 plus 1 percent’ majority rule to ensure a more representative governance.

3. Civic Engagement: Political parties, civil society organisations (CSOs), activists, and other stakeholders must intensify their civic engagement efforts. The primary focus should be on educating voters about the critical decisions they must make in upcoming elections.

With these foundational elements in place, The Gambia can aspire to replicate the recent democratic achievements of Senegal.

Moreover, it is essential for Gambians to be enlightened about the importance of self-patriotism. Much of the misconduct observed among individuals entrusted with public offices stems from a lack of this sense of national duty: self-patriotism.

Consider the precedent set in Senegal: upon assuming office, President Diomaye Faye resigned from his political party and refrained from using state facilities or resources for political activities, such a meeting. This was made possible because the Pastef political party was built on principles as a sustainable institution and not around one individual or group of people. 

In contrast, The Gambia has witnessed a different approach. Political parties are often built around individuals or group of elites who, when gone, most often lead to the party’s demise or disintegration. From President Jawara to President Jammeh, and now President Barrow, the use of the State House and state resources has persisted even after democratic elections.

For too long, our State House has served as a cradle for nurturing new political entities than a symbol of national unity and governance.

Finally, as a nation and as a people, we face a daunting task if we are to engage in serious reform. The challenges are substantial, but with perseverance and a commitment to self service, we can achieve the common good for all Gambians.

Haruna Jallow

Former Contestant 2022 Parliamentary Elections 

Sami District 





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