Fatoumatta: The Local Government Elections are just a new calendar. And so far, the chaos of candidates of Chairmen and Mayor’s/Mayoress choices is loud, sufficient for even a stubborn optimist to admit to the cynicism of citizens who have long predicted another case of our vulnerability to political polarizations in the Gambian public. Observing the ongoing political drama, and interacting with fellow Gambians from various political parties, independent candidates, religious preachers, and ethnic groups, validates the fears of the cynical.
Politics is a dirty game! Politicians always defecate on the mat of morality. Politics is a war politicians fight to satiate the greedy … ogre they always worship. At whatever cost, what matters most in politics is the protection of present selfish interests and having an assured relevance in tomorrow’s political games. Nothing more, nothing less. Today, politics seems to be about the self, for the self, and the self alone. The dramatic defection of politicians from one party to the other is all motivated by selfish interests, not the common interests of the majority. Democracy is insane as it always serves as a reliable vehicle for transporting capitalism and godlessness to every clime. May God save the poor from the hands of his foes parading themselves as his leaders.
Fatoumatta: I think the “politics is a dirty game” perception is why we’re still unable to rescue this country from corruption and racket cankerworm of corruption and racketeering. But, unfortunately, these politicians are humans, like us, and they have shown us the merciful side of dirty politics. But, unfortunately, we paid the ultimate price as a victim of the game of dirty politics by politicians without the audacity to challenge flaws in the more significant Municipal Council’s budget allocations, namely, the Banjul City Council and the Brikama and Kanifing Municipal Council.
Politics is amoral! Politicians always defecate on the mat of morality. Politics is a war politicians fight to satiate the greedy … ogre they always worship. At whatever cost, what matters most in politics is the protection of present selfish interests and having an assured relevance in tomorrow’s political games. Nothing more, nothing less. Today, politics seems to be about the self, for the self, and the self alone. The dramatic defection of politicians from one party to the other is all motivated by selfish interests, not the common interests of the majority.
Democracy is insane as it always serves as a reliable vehicle for transporting capitalism and godlessness to every clime. May God save the poor from the hands of our foes, parading and masquerading themselves as our patriotic leaders. However, the pro-democracy and pro-education advocacy groups are expected to have adequate attention drawn to our structurally and academically collapsed public schools, which will also demystify class divides, rousing the essence of a generation of the haves and the have-nots existing along blurred social strata.
Fatoumatta: You may think that the memories of all we have witnessed and experienced, including the disappointing stink of the management of the Banjul Municipal Councils, Kanifing Municipal Council, and Brikama Council, as well as the Basse Municipal Council, Mansa Konko Municipal Council, Kerewan and Kuntaur Municipal Council respectively, may be hard lessons for us in its disastrous term. But our attitude indicates otherwise. Our attitude to the activities of the opposition parties and the stunts of candidates who have shown interest in the race to the Councils so far assures us that we still need to be more serious. So for this baffling un-readiness to get it right this time, what do Gambians want?
We don’t know what democracy is all about. Yet. We have taken democracy for a magic wand that makes everything all right with a streak of our criticisms from our air-conditioned rooms and offices, tweeting randomly against communal troubles that are also our responsibility to eliminate. This hatred towards, or misperception of, democracy, acquired from our history of misbehaving leaders and powerful and influential politicians, is no doubt the cause of this chaos in reaching a consensus on what we want, whom we wish to do, and how we want it realized.
Fatoumatta: If we want to practice substantive and procedural democracy, we must be democratic and not act like autocrats. How do we expect credible leaders and our politicians when all we do is criticize without participating in politics? And because we see one another in the same image, every praise of a leader or a political party leader is seen as compromised or sponsored. If I write in favor of one leader, I’m bought. I’ll be accused if I announce my support for Adama Barrow as President. I’ll be charged if I tell you my support for Ousainou Darboe as President. Equally, I’ll be accused if I announce my support for Sidia Jatta as President. I’ll be charged if I tell my support for Mama Kandeh as President. I’ll be accused if I declare my consent for Hamat Bah as President. All because we do not understand that the product of representative politics is our effort and sacrifice. And the accusers, as usual, would not name a candidate decent enough to be a popular choice; this is where we undermine the power of our number and the possibilities of teamwork. However, for diaspora or overseas Gambians, it’s patriotic to give your all in supporting an admired presidential candidate. However, when you mention “Adama Barrow, “you’re automatically accused of supporting or labeled as an NPP member, a Fula, someone from URR, or a paid publicist!
Sometimes, the stones are cast by the actual sinners: our journalists. Though our journalists should remain reasonably objective in covering and gauging the nation’s pulse, this is hardly the case. Instead, our journalists are more ethically confused. They preach against corruption, yet they will only cover your story if paid. And the fact that they expect private citizens not to get involved in the political process, considering such a compromise, is a disturbing delusion. Private citizens should free themselves from the lie that they cannot express public support for candidates they see as their hope for a new Gambia.
The second set of Gambians that must never be our models are some of these critics overseas whose ideologies hardly encourage citizen participation in our political processes, as such is seen as complicity in the looting of the country. Unfortunately, some of us have been hoodwinked into adopting their “never join politics” development thesis as we celebrate these consistently loud voices that quote Karl Marx and Adam Smith in vilifying an entire nation for the sins of a few.
We are different from them. You are the direct victims of any failed political experiment, and screaming and writing about failed governments without struggling to infiltrate the ranks of our “laboratory politicians” whose incompetence cause these troubles means we are complicit in the fall of this nation.
Fatoumatta: If a UK-based critic, for instance, sets fire to his Gambian passport out of disappointments in the Gambia, it’s understandable. He has another home. You don’t. There’s a limit to his participation in the evolution of our democracy. You live in the Gambia, and so you must walk the talk!
So, dear compatriots, we have to change our methods of engagement. Politics is not as dirty as the fabric of the hypocrisy we exhibit in boycotting the system. Yes, “all politicians are thieves,” but I have not seen your poster; nothing tells me you’re in the race. So how can I vote for you, sir? Your absence, my most reverend saint, means my vote is invalid. May God save us from us!