Gambia (JollofNews) – ‘Gambia our democracy, Gambia our homeland, Gambia our smiling coast. Gambia is the Land of hospitality, the land of rule of law, the land we all proud of’.

Democracy is the system that exhibits the voice of its people, protect the right of everyone irrespective of their colour, religion and race.

Functional democracy protects and cements peace and stability. True democracy makes everyone proud and makes reconciliation possible. Democracy may not be perfect; however, it gives people hope and aspiration for their future. Democracy   belief in freedom, rule of law, respect and promotes equality in the society. Gambia is a democratic country and hold elections every five years as prescribe in our constitution. However, if my recent my trip can serve me well, Gambia lack functional democracy at present time. I don’t want to be critical of anyone but, I just want to express my opinion as a normal citizen.  Democracy gives people rights that cannot be taken away. Everyone should have democratic right to vote whoever he or she chooses without been coerced, intimidated, threaten or forced to do so.
Citizens in a functional democracy have rights and duty of care to participate fully in the political system. Functional democracy gives people the courage to participate in national development and promoted society cohesion with different divergent views.
Functional democratic societies are committed to the values of tolerance, cooperation, and compromise. Democracies recognize that reaching consensus requires compromise that may not always be attainable.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.”
Functional democracy gives hope and aspiration to everyone in the society and reduces situations where people may resorts to ‘the only way we can achieve our hopes and aspirations is through violence’.
Gambia needs democracy that works for everyone and not only had to hold election as prescribed in the 1997 constitution. As a concern citizen, I want Gambia to adapt democracy based on the following principles which should be inserted in our constitution:

Every president should serve maximum term of 8 Years.

Presidential election should be held every 8 years.

Mid- team election which we should call Performance test should be held on the fourth year of presidential term in which people will vote whether president has done well to complete his or her 8 year term. If he or she fails the test, new election should be organised within 6 months in which he or she is disqualified. I believe, this may reduce or eliminate election violence.

I believe, this may reduce or eliminate election violence.Gambia

No one should be allowed to contest in presidential election more than twice (including opposition leaders). I believe this may also reduce election violence and an opportunity to know the potential of others.

Any minister who want to contest in presidential elections to succeed the incumbent president most vacate his or her ministerial position one year six months before the election. This will remove any influence their position may have on society and will give citizens the opportunity to judge them based on their performance.

Any serving president must step down as head of political party two years before the election and must remain neutral in coming election and cannot express his or her support in any form to any individual.

He or she should not participate in any selection to choose his or her successor.  

After successful completion of presidential term, they should have ceremonial role for another 8 years after which should live a private life with state pensions. They should be used in some capacity during state opening of parliament, swearing of cabinet ministers and Guest of Honours during independent day celebrations.

Any candidate who secures 15% in national ballot should be qualified to serve as a nominated member in the parliament even if they lose in the election.

Any runner up who secures 30% or more of the national vote should automatically be qualified to serve as speak of the parliament.

The following position must also have term limited of 8 years: Inspector general of police, Army chief of staff and Head of intelligence.

Parliamentary election should be held every five years.  All members of parliament must have maximum term limited of 20 Years and should not be allowed to stand again if they lose their seat.

Immediate member of the president’s family cannot succeed him or her (wife, son or daughter). This is source of conflict in many Africa countries and we must do everything to avoid the occurrences of similar situation happening in the Gambia.

No president shall be allowed to change presidential term without the consent of all the registered political parties and all the political parties must be given veto power in any event president want to change the constitution to enable him to run for elections.

Any changes to presidential term shall take effect ten years after the current term of the president expire.

Accountability and upholding of the rule of law is a fundamental requirement of good governance and this can only be achieved, if the citizens are given opportunity to choose from alternatives. The present system in Gambia does not give Gambian that opportunity.
Gambia has democracy but lack functional democracy from all angles as none of the political parties have term limits. What have we achieved from the first Republic’s slogan “progress, peace and prosperity, ‘accountability, probity and transparency’ to second republic’s “From Gambia been Singapore in Africa to vision   2020”? I may be too young to remember the aforementioned words but they were well documented and Gambian cannot forget. This six words (PPP, APT) and fundamental pillars of good government.
The greatest threats to good governance come from corruption, violence and poverty, all of which undermine transparency, security, participation and fundamental freedoms. These are all if not present in the Gambia and unless we address the situation, the security of our nation will be at stake.
Functional democracy is a source of political stability, good governance, progress peace and prosperity. Functional democracy promotes society cohesion and eliminate tribal politic as the system works for all irrespective who you are and where you are from. Gambia is at cross road and we need to come together as nation to salvage it. This cannot be achieved without the participation of cross sections of the society and stake holder in the political spectrum and fundamental reform to our way of life. Present government need to listen to the people for the sake of peace and stability of our nation. Reform is needed and cannot be done in isolation. National dialogue is needed for the attainment of Singapore in Africa and vision 2020.
Vision 2020 state’’ We want to transform the Gambia into a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated , trained , skilled healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population and in so doing bring to fruition this fundamental aim and aspiration of Vision 2020.”
Providing leadership, direction, pro and re-active facilitation to private sector and public sector institutions for an aggressive and focused drive for maximization of sustainable growth of The Gambia’s Foreign Trade.?????
To transform The Gambia into a financial center, a tourist paradise, a trading, export-oriented agricultural and manufacturing nation, thriving on free market policies and a vibrant private sector, sustained by a well-educated, trained, skilled, healthy, self-reliant and enterprising population, and guaranteeing a well-balanced eco-system and a decent standard of living for one and all, under a system of government based on the consent of the citizenry (source) Gambia government website.
The Gambia is an investment haven. This potential and promise is predicated upon sound and consistent macroeconomic policies, constitutional guarantees against expropriation of investment and for protection of investment. ‘Are we’ with current political system?
Adherence to the principles of democratic governance, constitutional guarantee of rights to freedom and liberty, welfare, property ownership and protection. In this regard, the country is constitutionally obliged to encourage, promote and protect beneficial investment as the enabler of socioeconomic change and progress. ????????
Gambia is thousand miles away from achieving that and with current structure of government, I doubt we will ever achieved without fundamental reforms to current structure of our democracy and government.
We need Gambia where our hope and aspirations can be achieved. We need Gambia where security of our job is guarantee irrespective of one’s political affiliation. We need Gambia where right of every individual is guaranteed. The children of Gambia need a guarantee that their future lies here and that can help reduce brain drain.  
Politics of the Gambia takes place in a framework of a presidential republic, whereby the President of the Gambia is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. However, Gambia has two parties which rule Gambia since independent that is people progress party (PPP) and Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).
Without fundamental reforms, AFPRC will be in power for decade to come.