OPINION | Paradigm Shift in The Presidential Voting Criteria
By Philip Saine
The Gambia Electoral Cycle has reached a climax for the 2021 Presidential Elections. A total number of 962, 157 voters have been registered and citizens are presented with 6 Presidential Candidates namely: Abdoulie Ebrima Jammeh, Abubacarr Ousainou Darboe, Adama Barrow, Essa Mbye Faal, Halifa Sallah, and Mama Kandeh, There would be 1554 Polling Stations and political campaigning is now intense.
It was Prof. Lumumba, a reputable African Political Analysts, who opined that elections in Africa are more of a national census, the most populous tribe wins (demographic population distribution is the singular determinant factor). The implication of this statement is that Africans voting criteria is based on tribe or other sectarian motivations. As Gambians there is need to listen to the words of wisdom as admonished by Matthew Jallow, a distinguished Gambian political commentator. ‘Everyone should put their presidential aspirations in the back burner for the purpose of putting Gambia back on track. This is a moment when everyone's patriotism is put to the test. The Gambia deserves it and citizens need it’. The Gambian voters’ mindset must be properly retuned (aligned) to yield a paradigm shift in the presidential criteria. Select a candidate not because you like or dislike him. Vote for The Right Candidate Not Your Tribesman! Vote Based on Substance and Not on Identity. A president is a leader and a Commander in Chief.
The Chief Executive is expected to be the Premier Servant of those who voted for and against him into office. He is obliged to discharge his responsibility without fear or favour, affection or ill will; once an oath of office is solemnly taken an individual is entrusted with powers to resolve our country’s challenges particularly the chronic problems namely: worsening socio-economic conditions, erratic electricity supply, inadequate and poor quality potable water supply, poor medical and health services, lack of job opportunities, Gam-petroleum saga, the deteriorating security challenges in dealing with child delinquencies, criminality and murder incidents. Youths are now preoccupied with violent crimes (armed robbery, robberies, and money making rituals).
A chosen candidate for the presidency must be the person, amongst the presented candidates that is most likely to solve The Gambia’s chronic challenges; not a tribesman or most populous candidate. Each of us must make the noble decision worthy of a patriotic citizen. The voting criteria should be based on the candidate’s honesty and patriotism. Honesty is a pointer to One’s Character. In Politics, Honesty Matters! In Selecting A Leader, Personal Honesty Matters! Think Gambia first before anything else. Therefore our selection of a president should be guided by: capability, knowledge, skills, honesty and statesmanship. Each person’s vote is crucial and should go to the candidate with strong character of moral integrity, truthfulness and honesty.
The track record of a person is a good gauge for identifying a suitable candidate. The Track Record of The Candidate of Your Choice Mirrors What You Should Expect. Each of the presented candidates has a track record, either good or bad, for leadership. A plumber, businessman or professional has a track record on which his (their) character and trustworthiness could be assessed. Those who believe in this new Paradigm Shift in The Presidential Voting Criteria must take responsibility to inform and educate others. We must all embrace the concept of ‘Taking Personal and Collective Responsibility’. The more informed voters must demonstrate patriotism and inform a neighbour about this crucial action. Vote for the most competent and effective candidate. As a nation, on 4th December 2021, we have the power to select the best; a person with impeccable conduct and proven worthiness. Gambians abroad should inform and persuade their dependents at home to vote wisely. The Gambia needs a Paradigm Shift in The Presidential Voting Criteria.
Philip Saine is a Gambian social commentator, community leader and writer.
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