On Wednesday, 24 February, 2016, the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) issued a press release indicating that Halifa Sallah was selected on the first phase of its primaries as Presidential Candidate for 2016. Many people expected GRTS to broadcast this news item.
On Thursday, 25 February, 2016, the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) held a congress to amend their party constitution and select a flag bearer for 2016. The GRTS announced this as a major news item. The APRC congress was also broadcast and repeated.
This role of the GRTS is very unhelpful for Gambian democracy. The duty of this national media is to inform the Gambian population at large. Suppression of information gives rise to half-truths and rumours. This does not cultivate an informed citizenry.
The GRTS should not wait until it is taken to court by political parties that are being discriminated before complying with Section 33 of the Second Republic Constitution which states:
“(1) All persons shall be equal before the law.
(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5), no law shall make any provision which is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (5), no person shall be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority.
(4) In this section, the expression “discrimination” means affording different treatment to different persons attributable wholly or mainly to their respective descriptions by race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status whereby persons of one such description are subjected to disabilities or restrictions to which persons of another such description are not made subject, or are accorded privileges or advantages which are not accorded to persons of another such description.…..”
Gambians do not expect the race towards December 2016 to be done at the same pace as the previous races to the presidency.
High expectations are building up as all the parties are making preparations for congresses or conventions to select their presidential candidates or declare their candidates with congress.
Foroyaa is waiting in anticipation and will publish all news from the parties. So far no press release has been received from the APRC regarding the selection of its flagbearer. No one should accuse those media houses which are not informed of suppressing news from the APRC.