Dear editor,

The purpose of political activism is about making a difference for the better.
Political parties are the vehicle for peaceful democratic change of political power in the country.Political parties that are ready to assume the political leadership of the country in government and make a difference to the lives of the people must have oven ready policy programs for government that are different from the policies of the sitting government.
Ideas and reforms are the currency of commerce in a democracy to keep the political process relevant to addressing the socioeconomic development needs of the people.Political parties and the leadership of the political parties are the spearhead for the ideas for reforms and making a difference to the lives of the people.

That means political parties in a democracy must be led by capable and competent people.The leadership of political parties must be filled in by the elected representatives of the people.The elected representatives of the people leading political parties must be the elected representatives of the people in government when the political party is in power.
Political parties should not and cannot be managed like private organisations wherein unelected representatives of the people manage the affairs of the political party.Democracy means elections and representation to serve the interest of those who elected you into power.And be accountable to your constituents first, to the party and to the country.

That responsibility could be taken in reverse depending on the call at the time.
The UDP political party leadership needs more democracy in the appointments of the leadership of the party.The elected representatives of the people (UDP MPs) should be made the executive leaders of the party.

Yes unelected staff members running administrative duties in the party are okay but the executive members managing the affairs of the party must be the elected representatives of the people in the country.

And the party needs a more democratic decisions making process in arriving at the official position of party on national political governance issues.
The leader of very political party is supported by the members and supporters of the party to lead and be given room to shape the party in their image and vision.
When a political party is managed by the elected representatives of the people, the party is better managed and led compared to unelected people running the party.

When a political party is managed by the elected representatives of the people, the party leadership is more likely to be in tune with the political rhythm of the grassroots.And that helps the party leadership arrive at decisions that are widely shared and representative of the party.The UDP is not properly being led and there’s a disconnect between the party leadership and the political views of the grassroots.The UDP executive should be comprised of only the elected representatives of the people.

The composition of the UDP leadership must be democratic and transparent to help make The Gambia democratic, transparent and accountable.Decision-making in the UDP on major national political and economic development issues must be more democratically reached at to represent the interest of the party in line with the majority political views of the grassroots.

This the only way to make the leadership of the UDP more effective and efficient in managing the affairs of the party. Decision-making in the UDP has been horrendous since after Jammeh.And it’s getting worse. The UDP is politically very solid in The Gambia but decisions making in the party is impeding its political success.

The gap between the UDP leadership and the grassroots will continue to widen less the party leadership is filled in by the elected representatives of the people.
And the grassroots of the party must have some representatives on the national executive committee of the party.The UDP must try to avoid the mistakes of the defunct PPP.
Clearly, the current leadership of the UDP is not as switched on making the relevant political decisions as its grassroots would otherwise like to have it done.

The UDP leadership needs to be more democratic, more representative, more inclusive of the party faithfuls if the party wants to stay on top of its politics and decisions making. The Gambia is now a democracy.And the UDP is not fighting a dictatorship.

The party must reposition itself and be ready for government.And that means most importantly having ready made policies for government that’ll make a difference to the lives of the people.Policies that are democratically reached at and supported by the grassroots.Ideas, reforms and adapting to the politics of the times is the cost that political parties pay to live longer in politics.

Political parties and political leaders in a democracy live and die by the quality of their decisions.Judgment, sound ones for that matter; determines the success and failure of any political leader in a democracy.The ability and the capacity to make the right calls at the right time.

Perhaps when political decisions on very important national political issues are arrived at through the involvement of other elected party executives, the UDP could safe itself from the own goals and embarrassment.

Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang

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