By Gambian Correspondent – The opposition Gambia Moral Congress has congratulated the ruling APRC for its recent victory in the Wuli East constituency bye-election.
The ruling APRC, it would be recalled, won the contest with the opposition National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD) in the bye-election, which followed the death in March 2011 of Hon. Bekai Camara, National Assembly Member for Wuli East.
Saidou Sabally of the APRC polled 2,745 votes while Suwaibou Touray of NADD polled 1,849 votes. It would be recalled that Suwaibou also contested and lost to the APRC candidate in the 2007 legislative election.
In a congratulatory message sent to this paper yesterday, the GMC expressed belief that while it shall continue to provide a viable alternative to APRC, and continue to engage the government on the fundamental challenges the nation and citizens confront, credit should be granted not only where it is due but also when it is due.
What follows is the full text of the GMC statement:
The Party Leader and entire membership of the GMC congratulates the Party Leader and membership of the APRC on the election of their candidate Saidou Sabally in the Wuli East. The GMC believes that while we shall continue to provide a viable alternative to the APRC, and continue to engage the government on the fundamental challenges our nation and citizens confront, credit should be granted not only where it is due, but also when it is due. Politics is a battle of ideas and not a journey of hostility.
We congratulate the people of Wuli East for exercising their civic responsibility with maturity in such a manner that allows the peaceful co-existence among the indigenes to continue to prevail. We urge Mr. Sabally to extend a hand of friendship and understanding to the other side, realizing that he now represents all constituents equally, regardless of political inclinations.
He must promote reconciliation, unite the people, and work tirelessly in the interests of all Gambians in the National Assembly.
The GMC also congratulates the legendary patriotism of Mr. Swaebou Touray of the PDOIS. We wish him success in his endeavours.
The IEC staff, security forces and local government officials must be commended for a transparent and well coordinated election in Wuli East.
We view The Gambia as one family, one nation, one destiny, one dream. We should not allow politics and politicians to divide us. Say “No” to electoral malpractice, fraud, violence, and be vigilant.
Wuli East is a litmus test for the APRC to demonstrate humility and maturity. The APRC has a stake in advocating for, and enforcing meaningful level playing field in the electoral and electioneering processes.
These include, but not limited to, equal access to all information media, effective expression of dissent, the right to hold rallies without superfluous administrative hurdles, independent judiciary, and non intimidation or harassment of opposition supporters and sympathizers, while permitting the media to do their job unrestrained.
The APRC would achieve significant political mileage in terms of credibility if the leadership subject itself to equal standards on a level playing field with the opposition. We differ in political philosophy, but at the end of the day, it remains a Gambian political conversation – the expression of different ideas among members of the same family.
We believe that the result of an election should not be determined on what happens on polling day alone. If the electioneering and electoral processes of an election are not free and fair, the results of such an election shall not be considered free or fair, and would be automatically rejected outright.
We urge the ruling Party to demonstrably commit itself to assuring enabling conditions for genuine level playing field and engender political concord.
The APRC government should transparently adhere to best practices such as non-intimidation, harassment, and resisting the manipulative abuse of the judicial processes as a means to knock the opposition below the belt, or other actions that may provoke like reaction.
As we enter the political season in earnest, all stakeholders should remain true to The Gambia´s reputation as a peaceful country.
The GMC invites all Gambians to advert our minds to the relevance of the lyrics of the great Manding Griot Jaliba Kuyateh, in his song entitled “Politics”.