QUESTION OF THE DAY
Should a ruling party with failed policies learn from the policies of an opposition party?
It would be correct to say that Governance requires the cross fertilisation of ideas. Where government is failing it is duty bound to learn from other parties to manage the affairs of a country until it is removed from office. The people should also be able to identify a government with failed policies which is only trying to cope by relying on the policies of other parties and make informed choices when they are to select leaders in subsequent elections.
The portion quoted from Agenda 2016 on minerals in the letter of the PDOIS’ Secretary General on the Kartong crisis, which is published in this issue is food for thought.
The relevant portion from the PDOIS Agenda 2016 published in 2014 which is its manifesto reads:
“The Public Sector will mobilise Sovereign National Wealth from mining and other extracting industries; dividends from public enterprises and other public investments. Heavy minerals such as Illmenite, Rutile and Zircon have been found in the coastal strip of BatoKunku, Sanyang and Kartong by Carnegie minerals before it ended its operations in The Gambia. There are also prospects for oil production and other minerals.”
“Earnings from minerals, royalties and dividends shall be paid into a Sovereign National Wealth Fund for public sector investment in public enterprises or joint private public enterprises, maintain services, finance sustainable loans, build infrastructure, replenish our reserves and protect the value of national currency. Sign performance contracts with public enterprises to ensure payment of dividends.”
A sovereign Wealth fund will be maintained by village Councils, District Councils and Regional Councils into which a percentage of income from minerals in a given area, or royalties from use of natural resources of an area and other incomes will be deposited to promote the development of the respective sectors. The percentage to be awarded to each sector will be determined by negotiation and legitimised through contract.”
Any Government which aims to develop The Gambia must rely on such a policy development to make any impact. The Government should therefore enter into negotiation with the community of Kartong to find a way out that would not increase their torment. The problem is best solved by filing nolle prosequi and releasing all arrestees and then enter in a dialogue with the community to settle differences.