Friday, February 28, 2020

After Three Year And Five Year Demonstrations, Now What?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Citizens have the right to demonstrate to back divergent views. If all those citizens are allowed to face each other they will push and pull to eternity without resolving any problem. If they use force many will have broken arms and limbs. If they use knives and machetes one would have many amputees after the fight. If they use guns dead bodies will litter the streets.

To prevent such chaos is why constitutions are established and democratic systems put in place to facilitate an orderly maintenance and transfer of power. The demonstrators have the power of the people and state has the power of the gun. Democracy enables the people to elect those who are to carry out oversight of the state and enable them to control the gun, not to keep themselves in power for a lifetime but to serve according to the will of the people.

This is why constitutions fix the terms of each trustee of the state and thus enable others to seek a mandate to manage the affairs of the state after the expiration of the term of office of a given authority. Hence demonstrations in a democratic society are meant just to influence those who manage the affairs of the state but are not the normal avenue for removing a government from office. One must therefore wonder what has really changed after two demonstrations with diametrically opposed interests.

Notwithstanding, Gambians are increasingly realising that power belongs to them and they have the right to tell truth to power without fear.

The demonstrations are also not an entirely futile exercise. When two forces face each other knowing that none can force the other to succumb to the will of the other, they may end up having more respect for the law that protects all of them to express their wishes without hindrance while allowing the will of the majority to determine their manner of government to prevail.

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