Wednesday, November 30

THE LESSONS OF THREE YEARS JOTNA AND FIVE YEARS JOTUT

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The remarks of the President on a recent demonstration need further clarification and elucidation.

In a democratic system of governance every four, five or more years provide the opportunity to the sovereign voters to take stock of the performance of the government in office and decide whether to allow it to continue or discontinue in office. This means that even though a voter may have voted for the President to be office, that same voter may change his or her mind and vote against that president. Hence it is important to draw lessons from what happened to the two movements before the 2021 presidential election.

The two forces launched a pro-Barrow and an anti-Barrow movement. Consequently, two permanent camps were created which was not based on critical appraisal of the government performance in order to take a position on whether to support or oppose the government on the basis of its performance. This is the danger of a politically motivated demonstration and counter demonstration by forces with political objectives.

Demonstration in a democratic society should be issue based. It should remind an existing government of its obligation to the people and help the government to hold the government into account in a peaceful manner. Once demonstration and counter demonstration are partisan, the participants become rigid in their politically motivated positions, which undermines issue based purposes for holding them and promote factional feelings among the population.

What is therefore very significant is to re-examine the effects of the three years jotna and five years jotut demonstrations and draw correct lessons. The Gambian people should not be held hostage to partisan sentiments. All Gambians should wish any government that is in office to abide by section 1 subsection (2) of the Constitution and use its authority to promote the welfare of the people. Should it fail to promote the general welfare of the people all Gambians irrespective of party affiliation should recognise the failure and work together to have a democratic system of government where they will be able to express their will in the next following election.

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