LJD, Suntu and others:
If I may; I have a different problem with the message entailed in this communique from the PDOIS Central Committee in that it seems to be an act of a proverbial throwing back the hot potato at us - the voters. If PDOIS acknowledges "the increase in the number of people who seek clarification on the way forward for building a United Front for the 24 November Presidential Polls in the Gambia" isn't that a compelling enough reason to do what it must to create the conducive environment for fruitful talks to that effect? Wouldn't that be a good enough reason to "focus on the task of building a United Front rather than pontificate on the effects of a failure" as they put it?
I am baffled to say the least by the attempt at throwing back the responsibility of creating a united front to citizen voters whose only control over the actions of the party leaders is through their votes. Why on earth would anyone expect them to come out in thousands in support of a united front that is not there in the first place? Are we not putting the cart before the horse?
In other words PDOIS is saying that until they see the numbers out at the rallies they - PDOIS alone - organize, they will not make further effort into a united front. Can someone tell me I am reading this wrong, please!
"Furthermore as of 3rd September 2011, PDOIS will hold major rallies for a period of two weeks to determine the level of public support for a United Front. These meetings must be supported massively by those who support the establishment of a United Front to be deemed successful and convincing. They must be bigger than the artificial crowd the APRC is drawing during the official tour of the President to prove that the opposition should be taken seriously and that we are serious about establishing a United Front. This is the challenge PDOIS is putting out to the voters. People should put their efforts where their hearts are if we are to convince each other that we could move together to be the architects of a new Gambia. We have only ourselves to blame if we fail to join others and build a respectable crowd that could show that we are serious about building a United Front for the election."
Two things: first, I do not like the commanding tone of this paragraph – I do not like the use of the word “MUST” - in that it seeks to hold voters at ransom - turn up in thousands or else we will not go any further with this.
Why would PDOIS throw out a “challenge” to voters to prove to them they are serious about a united front? Am baffled. It is elementary politics to understand that you don’t get votes by demanding from voters without giving them the hope and or clue as to what they will get in return. Gambian voters are not a different breed to be stewarded around for a party’s internal decision making.
If PDOIS wants to decide whether to join a united front or not, they need not drag the voters into that decision especially when they have already acknowledged "the increase in the number of people who seek clarification on the way forward for building a United Front….”Second is that the question to ask of PDOIS is whether without a united front they will be able to fill up the independence stadium as they seem to demand herein? Do they expect people to turn up to their rallies without solid evidence - as in lining up ALL opposition leaders - that there is going to be a united front.
It is safe to assure PDOIS that if they announce that they will be organizing a rally with ALL opposition leaders lined up - PDOIS, UDP, NRP, etc. or just PDOIS and UDP - thousands will flock to the scene and I don't have a doubt about that happening. They did it at the launch of NADD in 2006. The hope was there and people showed up in thousands! It is wrong to hold us at ransom for your own internal party decisions.
Furthermore, it has been made clear to PDOIS through STGDP that the financial support will be forthcoming when folks see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. This was the case in 2006 and it is no different now.
The simple of it is that if you want the people behind you; give them the reason to do so. You cannot ask people to show up for you to convince yourself that it is worth trying to unite. PDOIS and all the other opposition parties need to understand that a united front will do better in getting the numbers lined up not the other way round. How many times and in how many ways do we have to say this?