(JollofNews) – Over the past weeks and months the Coalition has managed to articulate non-partisan messages in order to appear as a unified unit in public. But it has become increasing apparent the mimicry unity could not hold parties’ combatants together to strategically contest the forthcoming parliamentary election.

The combatants seem unwilling to unleash their respectable positions for a compromised decision. There are suggestions from some quarters that the fragmentation was caused by ideological differences as members aspire to pursue their own party’s agendas, whatever the case is, the future composition of the Coalition has become less predictable, dependant on the outcome of the parliamentary election. Perhaps, this is an opportunity for the reconfiguration of the coalition after election results’’. Who knows who is in, or who is out after election night?

This represents the characteristics of multiparty politics, ambivalence at best, confusion and instability at worst.
Of course it is not unusual for political parties to divide over policies for ideological reasons. But it is politically prudent for the Coalition to agree on measures that are necessary for it to function as an effective government. Without a majority in the National Assembly the Coalition may not be able to accomplish what it sets out to achieve. Therefore, any form of strategic alliances or even in the spirit of alliances will greatly bolster the Coalition’s grip on power. That is what I call as Smart Politics, the politics that protects citizen’s ‘common good’.

Certainly, the agreement forged to bring the nines parties together was effective in ousting the previous executive, but seems to be conflict with the constitution. I would argue that by limiting the term of the Coalition to three years, this has tacitly limited the term of the president to the same period. A departure from the dictate of the constitution which sates this: ‘The term of office of an elected President shall——– be for a term of five years’. This raises the question whether the Coalition’s agreement is unintended violation of the relevant provisions of the constitution.

By any interpretation, a citizen who has been elected under the mandate of the constitution has the right to serve for five years, unless his/her presidency is invalidated by the reasons stated in the constitution. The rule of law is not satisfied by having rules of law or a law of rules, but it must guaranteed the fundamental human right, including citizens’ political rights. In this regards, the agreement cannot subvert the constitution.

In my view, the Coalition’s agreement can be construed as a contractual in nature that only bound parties of the contract. Therefore, it is plausible to suggest that the Coalition’s agreement cannot limit the term of presidency. In any case if we accept the fact that, a contract may be terminated by the conduct of the parties to the agreement, therefore, the Coalition’s stance on the parliamentary election serves as a death knell to its initial agreement.

Consequently, the fixed term of the president stipulated in the constitution must prevail. It is also the case that holding election within threes does not seem sound, given the dire status of the Gambia’s economy.

Nonetheless, parties’ combatants are all heading out anxiously to respective constituencies equipped with the best weaponry, in a desperate search for possible votes. Their deliberations are bound to be full of divisive issues, promises, even personal vilifications that are designed to influence citizen’s political choice for representation. Despite this we must demand political parties to spell their proposed policies in simple terms, so we understand the ways in which they intended to govern to protect the interests of the represented.

What seem pointless is for political parties to deliberate on policies that are impossible to pursue in future. As Thomas Hobbes observed long ago, there is no point in deliberating over issues that cannot make any material difference to the outcomes that are transformative. So therefore, big promises that failed to take into account the economic reality may never come to realisation, at disappointments of the voters. Indeed, the prospective representatives have to act in responsive manner to the voters’ interests. These interests must be captured in parties’ manifestos to allow post-election accountability.

I do hope that all political parties are committed to building of a fairer society equipped with good roads, good schools, and good hospitals in order to root out the structural inequalities that are embedded in our society. But it is also incumbent upon on citizens to deselect self-serving politicians.

Undoubtedly, the APRC is in a better political position than most political parties given its 22 years of ruling. Although its support has been haemorrhaged by the rise of GDC, the party can still hold on sizeable proportion of its last votes if it machineries are tactically deployed. As a legitimate political party, its life span is not dependent on few individuals. It is a legal entity created in accordance with the constitution to partake in Gambia’s political life. Therefore, such role must be protected for the interest of the society. In any case; a pluralistic democracy requires multiparty system with divergent political views.

It is seems right to suggests that outcome of the parliamentary election will mark a new turning point in Gambians’ politics.
In conclusion, I leave with the wise words of Plato (a Philosopher), albeit with slight alliterations to suit my purpose. As he asserted this; ‘‘one of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics, is that you end of being governed by your political enemies’’.

Forward with the Gambia!!

Solomon Demba