The presidential election on the Gambia has been capturing world attention. At first many observers of the political situation in the Gambia wrote that in the absence of a formidable opposition it was best for the opposition to boycott the election and take to the streets to call for electoral reform.
The opposition, however, moved to explore possibilities of coalition building which ultimately gave rise to a convention that elected one candidate to stand as an independent. The tactic of coalition building succeeded and Adama Barrow to the surprise of many election observers, at home and abroad, emerged as winner.
The electoral campaign was very peaceful and Gambia entered the history books of emerging democratic countries whose people could elect and remove leaders on the basis of the consent of the people.
The decision of the incumbent to concede defeat was equally astonishing. This again pushed Gambia at the forefront as a news making country. All media outlets of the world struggled to capture the latest news in the Gambia and only good news was heard because Gambians decided to take hold of their destiny and allowed best practice in elections to prevail. No one obstructed the media and no one complained about foreign intervention.
Unfortunately, when the incumbent decided to change his mind, Gambia again became a subject of world attention and the source of world news. This time it is for negative practice. Hence, there is no end in calling for the outgoing government to hand over power.
Complaints of interference are increasing because Gambians from different sides of the political spectrum are not sitting down to handle national matters through dialogue. The lesson is clear. If Gambians are not willing to take charge of their own affairs, others will take charge of it and handle it in the best way they know how and which may not necessarily be in the interest of all Gambians. The choice is ours.
There could be dialogue to facilitate a smooth transfer of power and create a win-win situation for all or encourage conflict and create a lost-lost situation for all. Where do we go from here? Each Gambian should contemplate tonight and then provide an answer.