QUESTION OF THE DAY Could opposition parties campaign for a ruling party?

This is an opinion column. It amplifies the questions and concerns raised by the readers and distributors of the paper move about. There are many who cannot or do not want to put their concerns in writing. Hence, this column gives them an opportunity to take part in national discourse. Those who disagree with the opinions expressed may add their voice. Debate allows the battle of ideas to prevail over the battle of emotions. All will grow for the common good. Now let us proceed to the question of the day.

Could opposition parties campaign for a ruling party? The answer to this question is in the positive. One may now ask how that could be. The answer is simple. Political Science teaches that political pluralism is to have a multiple of political parties, each aiming to form a government. Under such a system opposition parties are alternative governments. Hence they have a duty to explain what is wrong with the existing order and what they intend to do differently to perform better. Secondly, they should be able to erode the support base of the ruling party and increase their own support base. Such parties may even form coalitions on the basis of strength and support a candidate who would generally create a wave noticeable to all to indicate that they are the choice of the people. Those who are interested in change should focus on such candidates when they emerge.

Hence, an opposition party that does not indicate what it intends to do differently and dwell instead in emphasising the strength of the ruling party and the weakness of the opposition without relying on any polls would indeed be knowingly or unknowingly, campaigning for a ruling party. Hence, if progress is to be made in creating a viable opposition and well scrutinised ruling party the sovereign Gambian should not be a tied voter who is under the dictate of any political leader. They should be able to gauge all policies and programmes and give their support to the party of their choice. When they opt for change they should know the option before them and why they opt for it.

In an election year it is pollsters who could predict. Those who predict outcome without conducting any polls are at best soothsayers and at worst confusionists. A sovereign people who own their minds will generally think alike and would exercise their right to secret ballot to make informed choice.