“What We Have In This Country Are Election-Oriented Political Parties” – Essa Njie

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By: Sarjo Brito  

Political scientist and social commentator Essa Njie has in an exclusive with The Fatu Network described the country’s opposition as election-oriented political parties. His statement comes at the hills of recent scandals that have rocked the country, saying opposition and civil society are doing little in pressuring and holding the government into account. Njie said holding the government accountable has been left in the hands of party militants whom he said sometimes divert people’s attention from more pressing issues.

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“With all the scandals that we have seen on the papers since last week, no opposition or civil society is coming to talk about these things. There is a scandal in this country every day. The National Assembly debate that is going on just told us that they have discovered over 20 million dalasis that was unaccounted for according to the National Audit Report, but nobody shows concern. It is sad to say but we have election-oriented political parties. Opposition parties that will just come and contest elections and when they are over, they go back to their political bureaus.’’

The Political Science Lecturer also described the country’s civil society organizations as project-oriented whom he also said do not seem to understand their role in a democratic society. Njie further explained how civil society has played an instrumental role in removing longstanding dictators in other countries like Zambia’s Kenneth David Kaunda, adding that having a less vibrant civil society is bad for Gambia’s democratic dispensation.

“We have a civil society that is just project oriented, sad to say. They are only focused on winning projects and when it is time for elections, they go and observe elections, monitor, prepare their reports, and preliminary statements and tell people that the election is free and fair. They don’t even understand their role in a democratic society. It is very unfortunate and if you look at the history of the democratization process in Africa after the cold war, civil society was instrumental.’’

Last week, Essa Njie made headlines after he described the country’s opposition parties as dormant. Some political parties reacted to his statement describing it as misleading and unfair.

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