By Ajibola Olaniyi
An NGO, Advocacy for Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative (ADAPHAI) has described the just concluded elections in the Gambia as a confirmation of democratic system in Africa.
Speaking on the outcome of the election on Saturday with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Executive Director of the organisation, group, Mr Ajibola Owolabi said the Gambian election had reaffirmed the quest for democratisation in Africa.
Owolabi opined that the political events in many African countries since the tail end of the 20th century had confirmed an evolution of a new political paradigm with high level of consciousness.
According to him, the new paradigm has been institutionalised by the cognitive political culture imbibed by the electorate against crude and subjective ideology of old, which was antithetical to democratic ethos.
The Peace Advocate explained that the pertinent factor that determined speedy and steady development was stable political atmosphere, which was fallout of legitimate government, where the outcome of an election reflected the actual voting pattern of the electorate.
In his words, President Yaya Jammeh of Gambian has really redefined the tenets of democracy in the small African country, which should be a template for governance in the country.
Owolabi argued that the 22-year reign of Jammeh had clearly painted the West African country black among the comity of democratic countries as a jungle, under the whim of a dictator.
He added that the political developments in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and recently the Arab spring had become a model in Africa, which gives credence to the superiority of political sovereignty of the electorate at all times.
“With the newly concluded presidential election in the Gambia, there is indeed a conscious evolution of new political dynamics in Africa, which re-establishes the status of the electorate as the major determinants in any poll.
“Definitely, the turn of political events in many African states have shown that the liberty and sovereignty of the people remain paramount and non-negotiable.
“The change in political order in many of the African countries through democratic means, and without obvious external influence have solidify the hope of swift democratisation in Africa, with matured and conscious voting populace.
“We indeed wish Mr Adaba Barrow well as he takes the mantle of leadership in Gambia, and remind him of the need to be responsive to the superior interests of his people without limit, and uphold democratic ethos without sentiment,’’ Owolabi said.
The Peace Activist, however, called on President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe to facilitate the process of democratic transition in the country, and quit the political stage honourably.