Saturday, 20 February 2010


By Suntou Touray
A Gambian politician claims that he entered politics some twenty years ago seeking only to sacrifice for the country’s poor masses.
By all conventional standards, the obvious conclusion one is oblige to make is that, politicians wish to represent a chosen constituency and to advocate for the enhancement of the electorates. However, in the case of this politician, this known fact doesn’t apply. He portrays himself as the gentle warrior of self-sacrificing Gambians who abandon personal fulfilment at the expense of educating and enlightening the illiterate masses.
The self-sacrificing went as far as holding back personal pleasure and the natural order of fulfilling a matrimonial relationship. Hence he created a mystical legacy that none is able to match so far as demonstrating his willingness to break grounds for the Gambia is concern. A man who is in his early fifty’s, living at times of modernity and all it goes with is seen by his fans as a politician without an equal in many dimension.
His fan base although very narrow, borders on committed indoctrinated elements who after time find it impossible to disassociate themselves from his political errors and short comings. To them, his life alone is enough testimony of a genuine politician who should not be subjected to our scrutiny let alone criticism. An undemocratic notion by all measure, but a necessary evil they would argue.
The facts of life which if apply to him or each and anyone of us, the simple logic of conventional wisdom will break the facade modelled. A master propagandist per excellence, a man who shines light on his every political action, never missed exposing a single significant pre-plan advantageous manoeuvre. In essence all that he has been doing is playing with the emotion and conscience of a young democratic nation.
Self-interest application: (self-interest is the strongest motive of all. A gesture of self-sacrifice: A show that you suffer as those around you do, will make people identify with you, even if your suffering is symbolic or minor and theirs is real. R-Green)
Starting from Priest, Imams, Parents, teachers, lecturers, Journalist, PhD holders, Master degree holders, etc. All categories of us do things because of our self-interest. This could in short be in two fold. For a person who believes in religion and a day of reckoning, the reward expected is either of his life or the hereafter.
Young Gambians today travel thousands of miles to get good education, work and so on because they wish to have a happy and good live. People work hard to get a doctorate degree, masters etc in order to be competitively advantageous over peers, why?
Religious men/women also don’t escape this dogma. Whatever sacrifices they do, either for charity, out of goodness etc is based on the hope of rewarded- by God or fellow men.
What about when a politician who spends half his live soliciting for votes through conventional methods regularly takes the moral high ground of anchoring on self-sacrifice?
Whether one is a socialist, Capitalist, communist, right/left wing, centre right/left etc, the aim is one-- to lead or be in-charge of a powerful political position. Can a politician be wholly altruistic? Not taking credit for anything, you don’t wallow in your reputation and name and so on. Is that possible?
Well, for the politician in question, he never missed taking credit for his actions, neither does he missed inventing politicised slogans for the media or public. This person also operates on the public front than any politician we know. His actions are always out in the open, yet the claims of self-sacrificing dominate his every conversations.
Barack Obama for instance, started his career as a charity social worker. He then went on to his law profession, becoming a senator and finally a president. Did he do the social work purely for the poor or to later in life fulfil an ambition of career in politics? Only he can tell, but if he tries to bombard readers with his altruistic sacrificial social work, many will be wary of him.
This politician on the contrary has a stable income from media business, appearing in conferences, a stint in parliament and the reward of travelling abroad to get paid.
Is he right in reminding us that we should be grateful to him for his sacrifices and support his political doctrines rather than snub him?
Personally I don’t think any politician acts totally for the public good alone. It is a career path; they get advantages associated with the job. Hence they shouldn’t remind us about the sacrifices they engaged in. Doing that only expose the fact that, the deed is not genuinely done for the public good, but rather for recognition, name, respect, power and being in the public eye regularly. That is a satisfaction for some, and may be the politician in question. He needs to remain in the realms of what is humanly possible, enough of outlandish claims.

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