QUESTION OF THE DAY
Do political parties in Senegal pay a fee before being allowed to register as political parties?
We have interviewed the leaders of many parties in Senegal and they have over 250 parties which had formed different forms of Alliances. They promised to give us a copy of the electoral code in Senegal which we would review to make comparisons. From memory many claimed that fees are not paid to register a political party. According to them a code of conduct is established which a party must adhere to in order to be registered as a party. This includes the commitment not to form parties on the basis of sectional, religious, ethnic or regional basis.
They explained that a deposit is paid to stand as presidential candidate but is refunded if one has 5 percent of the votes.
In the Gambia the executive and the National Assembly members have collaborated to make a law requiring political parties to pay 1 Million Dalasis to be registered as parties.
The Gambian people need to ask themselves whether such laws are progressive or reactionary / retrogressive laws.
The lesson is clear, people holding executive and legislative power could make laws to try to perpetuate themselves in office. When they do so the people should not be alarmed and debate whether the political parties would be able to meet the conditions. Mature political parties cannot be shackled.
What the people should debate is the intention of those who enact reactionary laws and whether those who restrict the freedom of choice of people by monetary obstacles should get the support of the vast majority of people or not.
Those who make bad laws in the country where the people are truly sovereign do so at their own peril. They either amend the laws or are usually removed by the people to show that the electorate owns state power.