Alagi Yorro Jallow
Fatoumatta: Political candidates can increase name recognition and establish credibility and by winning valuable presidential election endorsements. While the value of candidate endorsements in gaining votes is debatable, some blessings can bring particular benefits. For example, people with the impact of moral character and decency, people of goodness and honesty, people of integrity and righteousness, and people of honor and influencing in a community, trade unions, community groups, or political parties that have not put up a candidate may choose to endorse someone else running.
Sometimes an organization and individuals may approach a candidate. However, a candidate often needs to seek out endorsements from heavyweights to bolster votes. Celebrities, musicians, and individuals can make endorsements. However, no social media riffraff or disreputable or undesirable people can impact a candidate contesting for a presidential and national election. Endorsements from celebrities sometimes go public with whom they support locally and offer personal blessings often come in letters to the local newspaper. An endorsement from well-known national and international citizens can likely carry more weight with local voters than some big-name, out-of-town celebrity backing. Endorsements from local newspapers can also be influential to voters. Of course, an election can be won without a single approval. Moreover, political favors are not considered a sure sign of success. However, in a tight race, the financial and organizational help that comes with one can make all the difference.
Fatoumatta: The practice of candidate endorsement by leaders or influential personalities in various sectors of our country in the current political dispensation, although new, is a welcome development. This practice is well entrenched in advanced democracies. It helps define issues for voters who may not have decided on any candidate or have doubts about a political party or candidate. For example, during the 2008 US Presidential Election, Collin Powell, a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Secretary of State, and a reputable Republican, endorsed the then-Senator Barack Obama of the Democratic Party. He said his decision was based on the VP pick by Senator John McCain.
Senator McCain has picked the then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was later described as “Going Rogue” by the campaign for her actions and utterances. Palin adopted the exact words “Going Rogue” as the title of her book. Collin Powell said Americans could not afford to elect Sarah Palin as Vice-President and keep her a heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States of America because of her inexperience. In his opinion,” the job of the Vice President is to be President.” This helped so many people, including Republican voters, decide for Barack Obama in the country’s interest.
However, the late senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts also endorsed Barack Obama, citing his messages and hoping to support him. On the other hand, former Senator Joe Liberman, a democrat and the VP nominee to Vice-President Al- Gore endorsed Senator John McCain, relying on his experience, military knowledge, and sacrifice for the country. In all these endorsements, no religious, no ethnic, no personal and tribal cards interests played a part; only national interests and the country’s future were the dominant themes. As we approach December 4 Presidential Election, we want to see endorsements based on national interests, not religious, ethnic, or tribalism, and selfish interests. Be careful of these categories of endorsers: those who support any Presidential candidate. They have been around since former President Yahya Jammeh’s first coming to date; they played prominent roles during President Jammeh’s regime and worked very hard to aided and abetted him for 22 years in power; they justified everything he did and told us he was the best thing to have happened to us. They have metamorphosed and now saying the same something about President Adama Barrow.
They are economic leeches who cannot survive outside of government and are demagogues of influential opposition leaders in anticipation of victory and without the corrupt patronage of free funds; be careful with them. Another set of endorsers you should treat with caution are those who hate or despise the candidates because of religion and ethnicity. It is not the candidates’ fault that they practice a particular religion or come from a part of the country. Vote for the person and what he represents or stands for, not where he comes from or what he believes. After all, we have had leaders from different religions and ethnicity, and they have all failed us! Finally, the various clandestine organizations and phony individuals are known only by periodically issuing press statements and posts on social media are endorsers to disregard. These groups and individuals are greedy young men seeking attention, fame, and wealth without work.
Fatoumatta: Remember Youths earnestly ask for “The Green Boys” and Green Sisters”? “In Defense July 22 Revolution for Better Gambia”? You got it! Listen and pay attention to endorsers with pedigree, men of accomplished integrity, leaders and captains of industry with proven track records, and non-tribalists and non-partisan personalities compelled to speak out in the national interests and, above all, moral leaders standing in good stead.
Alagi Yorro Jallow