Successful Professional?

I always read the Daily Observer’s stories especially those dealing with Gambian opposition leaders with a great deal of suspicion. That is the same approach I am taking to the following story pertaining to Ousainou Darbo and his “call” for the IEC to screen aspirants to public office.

My expertise in Gambia’s electoral code is virtually non-existent. However I don’t think it is the IEC’s role (nor do I believe it should be) to screen and only allow “successful professionals” to run for public office. Gee…haven’t the so-called professionals from the doctor Jawaras to sedat Jobes and the rest of them serving in Jammeh’s government today screwed us enough?

Does Corruption in political office have a correlation to one’s financial background prior to ascendancy to the said office? Sure. Has successful professionals; entrepreneurs become corrupt after assuming public office? You betcha.

Gambians are in a whole lot of trouble if one of the names thrown around to lead the opposition alliance has such bigmanist ideas. Gambians should have the right without any regards to socio economic or professional background to contest for electoral office. The electorate my friend should decide who is worthy of their votes. And yes every Modou, Pateh and Kebba on meeting the constitutional requirements should be allowed to run for public office irrespective of whether they are as Mr. Darbo is quoted as saying “Successful professionals”. Independent mindedness has little to do with how successful one happens to be in a given career…come on people.

Again I digress if in fact the observer’s reporting is inaccurate. Here is a link to the original story and a copy in case the observer went off line:

Darboe urges IEC to screen political aspirants

Mr Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), has called on the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to ensure that only people who are already successful in their professions are allowed to run for political offices
in the country.Darboe, who was speaking in an interview with Daily Observer,
explained that only such people would not be lured by financial desires or lust
for power in the discharge of their duties.

“This will help end any temptation to corruption, as those politicians would have already had means of good survival,’’ he said.

One way of doing this, he suggested, is for the IEC to put into practice important requirements, such as the declaration of assets by candidates and other qualifications, so that not every Tom, Dick and Harry “can just jump up and say I want to contest without meeting the stipulated requirements of the constitution.” He emphasised: “Successful professionals would be more independently minded.”

But a political analyst, who spoke to the Daily Observer, disagreed with Mr Darboe, arguing that “a professional can also use his political influence to better the cause of his vested professional interest, destroy or frustrate his former
professional competitors with his new-found power. The bottom line is, anyone
can be a good or bad politician. It depends on the individual.’’

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