By Nyima Camara

Ousainou Darbo and the UDP is not your problem. You focusing your energy and attention on them is a grave distraction. ‘Ousainou Darbo is a bad leader’, ‘UDP is a bad party’, and so you made that point pretty clear in the December presidential election. Their defeat, especially in December, was all they needed for accountability. And you sure will have your chance again.

Now if we are serious, we would know that the focus now needs to shift swiftly away from them and towards those that we have chosen to elect, get them paid from the taxes we pay. Those who run our affairs on a daily, manage our resources. Those who effectively decide who gets to live or die, eat or starve.

Currently, most of our energy is being directed towards the wrong people and the wrong courses for subjective reasons. We must re-channel asap, starting with detoxifying our political discourse. Rather than polarizing every issue and responding to scenarios and circumstances with subjective sentiments, let’s agree on some common values and principles and draw a line between what is to be commonly acceptable and what is not in our sphere of governance.

Some common values would include honesty, truthfulness, integrity, devotion to the common good… Against this background, therefore, the ‘winner takes all kind of politics cannot be the acceptable norm (even though unfortunately this has become normalized under the Barrow regime). Winner takes all kinds of politics is why we normalize politics of deception (the president saying ‘you can promise anything when seeking people’s mandate and do otherwise when in power, and actually living by it; or NAMs running on a ticket that’s popular with their electorates and in the aftermath of winning the election, switch allegiance in return for personal favors.) It is why a sitting president brags about brutalizing dissenters and has us laugh about, bribing opponents and electorates most likely by using our own public resources. It’s why ‘transactional’ politics or political clientelism has become normalized, placing individuals, who are willing to go far and beyond to elect a leader, in positions of power as their reward. It is the reason why people like Seedy Njie, FTJ and a host of others recycled from the Jammeh administration, whose crime was/is proving to be the antithesis to our new Gambia project, by not only aiding dictatorship but boldly remaining apologetic for doing so and indicating in many ways that they will repeat history if given a chance.

Corruption is endemic. Official misconduct is being met with impunity. Every day we watch ourselves lose the grip on having the ability or drive to hold our officials accountable or to promote transparency and responsible governance. We watch and wonder who our government works for.

And yet, we choose to be polarized in our defense and condemnation of these vices when we, collectively, are in fact the losers.

We must get serious.

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