SHOULD THE OPPOSITION BOYCOTT ELECTIONS IF THERE IS NO ELECTORAL REFORM AND HOW ARE CREDIBLE CANDIDATES TO EMERGE?

Electoral reform are undertaken by governments which are genuinely committed to free and fair elections or are put under siege by the overwhelming majority of the electorate. Governments which undertake them voluntarily earn integrity.

Since the outcome of elections is determined by the people reform or lack of it does not necessarily determine the outcome of elections. People have power to determine the outcome of elections whenever they are aware of what they want.
Hence political parties should consult with the people. Once they are ready for change the opposition must give them an option to express their wish and will.

How are credible candidates to emerge? Under the Gambian electoral system candidates could be put up by political parties or stand on an Independent platform.

At this point all those parties that have credible candidates should declare their candidature and those who deem themselves to be credible independent candidates should also declare themselves.

Once that is done the public has a duty to start galvanising around the candidate of their choice.

The lessons the citizenry needs to bear in mind when they make their choice are as follows:

First and foremost, the candidate must be someone who would not allow his or her victory to be stolen. For example in Zimbabwe, Tsagarai won in the first  round  but allowed himself to be intimidated and did not go for the second round.

Secondly, the candidate must be able to earn the respect and trust of the law enforcement, security and military forces to conserve his or her victory.

Thirdly, the candidate must earn the trust of even those who did not vote for him or her and be seen as a symbol of national unity and cohesion.

Fourthly, the candidate must be able to earn the respect and trust of academics, public servants, civil society and the International community.

Fifthly, the candidate must be someone who is ready to serve only one term to put things right and become the conscience of the nation  as two term limit is established to prevent self perpetuating rule.