A new trend is emerging in Gambian politics. There are frequent debates in the media and town hall meetings. Angry political tirades and mudslinging are slowly subsiding as the masses demand for answers to their problems. Discussion of political issues and other matters of concern to the masses as well as the distribution of manifestoes and other political materials are on the rise.

This trend is buttressed by the freeing of the media, including the opening up of the state broadcaster to debates between political contestants.

The level of development of this trend will be known after the May 12 polls. If the electorate vote on the basis of sentiments (ethno linguistic, religious, gender or regional consideration) rather than issues, even after listening to a wide range of views, policies and programmes, then we should realise that The Gambia has only taken the first step on a long journey to liberty, where the people are sovereign and own themselves. If they vote on the basis of issues then this would serve as a wake-up call that the Gambian electorate has taken a giant stride in its journey to carve its own destiny. Time will tell.

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