Torchlight With Michael Scales: A Quiet But Interesting Week

Gambia(JollofNews) – This has been an eerily quiet week online with not much to comment on. The Lower Saloum by-election result was greeted with the usual narrow partisan perspectives, but is this just “business as usual”.

Freedom Newspaper convinced me that this resounding defeat for the ruling APRC was possibly more to do with local issues while Kibaro News claims it was a “red card” for the presidential amnesty.
The APRC could claim this result is clear and irrefutable evidence that the Gambia is capable of offering up to the electorate free and fair elections.
The British have a saying “one swallow does not make a summer” but most certainly, the defeat by 1146 votes was conclusive and must set alarm bells ringing loudly for the APRC in the run-up to next year’s general elections.
Meanwhile, there is no comfort for the government in the latest inflation figures from the Central Bank of the Gambia . It is difficult to view any great change in the dismal economic outlook for the Gambian economy before the general elections.
Perhaps the commissioning by the president of some new fire engines may prove timely. Maybe, the Gambian electorate is moving towards a western approach when pockets run on empty, there follows a change of government.
My only concern is that the opposition remain focused on the presidential amnesty and not the dire state of the Gambian economy.
The international attention given to the mass amnesty, to my mind is an excellent diversion for the president and his consummate ability to pull yet another “rabbit out of his hat”.
The Diasporans response to the pardoned prisoners and the presidential amnesty was sadly entirely predictable. That being a definite NO!!!
The problem with the word NO is that it is so final. It would be better if the response had been,” we may consider giving a counter proposal”, and move to a negotiating position. The thing is, if there is no dialogue, then there can never be a solution.
But we must offer Mr Momodou Bamba, Hamat Bah and the National Reconciliation Party (NRP) our heartfelt congratulations for this watershed victory in Lower Saloum .
The mind set for the opposition must be to gain as many seats in the National Assembly this time around rather than the “all or nothing” approaches of uprooting Mr Jammeh like a cassava plant.
I doubt Gambians are convinced that a change of leadership would guarantee a change of fortune for them. They would like to know who offer the largest benefits. And with Gambia ‘s debts increasing to over D19 billion, whoever wins is in for a hard time.

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