Over the weekend, a new political party, Citizens’ Alliance was launched bringing the number of registered political parties in the Gambia to eleven. There are speculations that more are on the way.
There is a section of the society which holds the view that having many political parties will ‘spoil the broth’ if you like, and that given the small size of the country, there is no need to have as many political parties as this.
However, it is an undeniable fact that having more and more political parties will give the electorate more choices and that it enables more citizens to have a chance to take part in the political process and ultimately, in the governance of their country.
What needs to be done – and this is by everyone: political parties, supporters and concerned citizens – is to work together to ensure that all political parties exhibit democratic practices both while they are in office and when they are out of office.
Opposition parties are governments in waiting and therefore having a vibrant opposition party with democratic mechanisms in the opposition is one way of ensuring a good government in the final analysis.
Keeping in mind the new provision of an absolute majority in the New Draft Constitution, which is likely to be passed before the next cycle of elections, having many more political parties will make it possible for a larger number of citizens to take part in the election process and having their voices heard in the governance of the country.
This will be a good thing as it will help boost the gains already registered in the democratisation process of the country. Citizens will now have more options and this will also send a signal to all parties that citizens have choices and that there is no longer a monopoly or elitism.
It is either you deliver or be pushed out by someone else.