In this colonial space, they named the Gambia; the mantra is that in politics, values should not matter. 

That it is acceptable to have an open-door policy where I guess even Satan is welcome in our political parties. 

The colonialists who gifted us this political system can fire a party chairperson for breaching a code. Still, somehow, we insist that such values, ethics, codes, and whatnot do not matter in politics. 

We insist that politics is all about numbers. That it is a zero-sum game, and winning is all that matters. That in politics, the end always justifies the means. 

And so the endorsement of any character, no matter how rudderless they are or how checkered their history, should make national news. 

And so because we insist that all that matters in politics is winning, our political associations, alliances, coalitions, etc., are often based on what we think will get us a win. 

Therefore, these coalitions, alliances, and associations are never based on shared values; rather, we form alliances based on what is in it for us. Enter the NPP and PPP alliance. 

Any relationship, coalition, alliance, or endorsement motivated by or built on realising personal interests and not shared values is bound to crumble at the earliest realisation of the individual interests. 

The 2016 Coalition is a perfect example. No relationship stands the grinding wheel of time unless it is built on shared values. The PPP and NPP, in fact, I dare say all the NPP alliances and endorsements, and what have you, were never based on shared values. 

They were all based on a warped sense of, for lack of a better phrase, political clientelism. And for that, I must give credit to Seedy Njie. Say what you will about Seedy Njie, but the man is brilliant. And he is a true Gambian politician, for he embodies our notion of politics. 

Seedy Njie

Like his mentor Yahya Jammeh, Seedy knows what it takes to entice Gambians, and he artfully dangled it before the needy, and they couldn’t wait to line up to profess their alliance with the NPP. 

And when the relationship inevitably falls apart, Seedy is quick to remind the Kebba Jallows that it was his benefactor, President Adama Barrow, who sponsored the PPP congress, that it was Adama Barrow who gave Kebba Jallow a personal car, and that it was Adama Barrow who made Papa Njie High Commissioner to Nigeria. 

Essentially, Seedy is telling Kebba that you got what you wanted, and since we, the NPP have no more use for your PPP, we didn’t bother to consult you on the upcoming local government elections. 

Of course, Kebba Jallow feels betrayed. I am unsure why he calls it betrayal because it’s not as if the PPP’s alliance with the NPP is anchored on shared values. 

And where values never mattered in the forming of an alliance, betrayal shouldn’t be alleged when such alliances fall apart. If you listen to all those claiming that the NPP betrayed them, it is because they didn’t get what they think they deserved from the NPP. 

Our disappointments are often directly proportional to our expectations. Kebba Jallow overestimates the PPP’s relevance to the NPP. 

And that makes me sad, for PPP was my mother’s chosen party, and to see it as a ghost of its former self would have saddened my beloved mother. 

Someone should remind Kebba Jallow and indeed all our politicians that if you go into any coalition, alliance, or endorsement based on convenience, mutual hatred of another, money, desire for fame, government position etc., when times get tough, your coalition partner will abandon you if another person or group can offer them what they seek. 

Similarly, if the alliance or coalition, or union is based on the “what’s in it for me” mindset, you can be guaranteed that once their desires are fulfilled, your agreement is essentially null and void. 

See how quickly the 2016 opposition coalition disintegrated? 

When loyalty is only skin deep, it can never withstand the forces of adversity. PPP and NPP alliance was not based on any loyalty to values. It was a conjugation of convenience! 

For our politicians, as you choose the ones you associate or go into any form of union or alliance with, it behoves you to thread carefully. 

No action is not motivated by something. Questioning motives can be tricky and sometimes ill-advised or presumptuous, but in a country where allegiance shifts daily, you are left with little to no choice but to look beyond the smiles for the blood-stained gums. 

You’ll not always get it right, but you’ll fare much better in this Gambia. Let values guide our actions if we insist on pursuing our personal goals without keeping our collective. 

Objectives and responsibilities in mind, Then indeed we shall fall. Oh, I copied that last bid from our national pledge, by the way… wonder how many of you bother yourselves with that hollow pledge. 

By Alagie Barrow

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