(JollofNews) – The systematic and organised attack against the APRC risk the reemergence of political terrorism in the Gambia. According to J. Cook political terrorism is the use of indiscriminate violence for political end. Political violence tend to involve against civilian population, non-combatant and major victims are political parties, institutions and players.
However, the systematic attacks against the former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) in both Mankamang Kunda and Busumbala perpetrated by politically misguided Gambians not only demonstrate the weakness of our state intelligence and security institutions to quickly response or deter public violence, but the parochial and unhealthy political culture of an average Gambian.
This culture has killed and buried us as a nation in a grave of underdevelopment and poverty. Until we have a leadership that is committed to transforming the culture to development and social cohesion as a sovereign people in a sovereign republic, we will be rotting in this grave of underdevelopment.
It is sad that since independence, we have struggled to live and respect the principles of a true democratic atmosphere. The agitation for APRC to be ban and use of violence to intimidate the party’s supporters questions the civilisation, intelligence, and maturity of the agitators .
As one the greatest feminist of all times, Madam Eleanor Smeal asserts in her famous address in 1997 ” violence and terrorism is not an acceptable political strategy in a civilised society.” Sorrow shakes my heart when headlines of the 10th January 2018 in our papers read “NCCE (National Council for Civic Education) constrained ahead of council election.”
My heart was torn apart when I read the content of the report only to find out that NCCE are extremely underfunded, lacks a permanent office and struggles with mobility. This unfortunate realities encountered by the council immensely manifest the lack of interest by our state managers to support institutions that is mandated to enlighten the public on their civil , democratic and constitution rights. NCCE becomes redundant and fails to projects its activities throughout the communities .
This is a major cause of political ignorance and misrepresentation in the Gambia thereby causing political indiscipline and misrepresentation of politics and democracy as the population lack enough political orientation. The state never have interest to build the sovereign people in a sovereign republic since independent.
The reason for this as one of my colleagues told me, is that when the NCCE work effectively in conjunction with other civic society, the political cultures of many Gambians will be transformed which will be beneficial to the state, but not to some leaders because citizen will choose their representative through ideological master plans and not chose by tribe or even party. When this happen many party will fall as they lack what it takes to serve as an alternative government forming party.
Another disaster caused by our state managers is the indiscriminate award of scholarship in the university of the Gambia. Political science students are least or never consider in the annual award of scholarship by the Government through the Ministry of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (MOHRST). Officers of the ministry will plainly tell the public that government priority is the science causing large number of financially constrained politically science to indefinitely differ the semester or divert to other fields and disheartening increase the political science stigma in the Gambia.
This move by our governments is so senseless and reflected in both our civil and diplomatic services. President Barrow flawed exclusive interview with CGTN speaks volumes of our diplomats in both the office of the president and the Ministry of Foreign affairs. For example, did they advice President Barrow on the history of the Gambia diplomatic relations before he face the media?
In essence, the government need to empower the social sciences students at the University of the Gambia equally as the natural sciences to have a very balance society.
Finally, form a peaceful and progressive society that is free from political and related violence. Police should not only give permit for political and it related gatherings, but provide intelligence officer as well to assess and report any threat of violence for action before is too late as it happen to the APRC party. The security sector and others state institutions should also be made to understand that they have no wider political role.
The civic societies the NCCE, and social sciences in the university should also be empowered to effectively engage in civic education in effort to the transformation of our very parochial political culture as a state for development and national unity.
By Sanna Badjie
The author is a political science student at the University of the Gambia.