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IEC on track: Political parties must hold congresses

Madi Jobarteh is a Gambian civil society activist

IEC has written to all registered political parties to hold biannual congresses or run the risk of de-registration. This is indeed a Right Step in the right direction.

There shall be no democracy and development in any democracy when political parties are not abiding by and implementing democratic values, standards and practices in their affairs hence ensure good governance. One person or few people leading political parties forever must stop. A political party is not a personal property or a club of friends.

Our political parties must be open and inclusive and accountability. Decision making must be participatory and power must be decentralized.

Our parties must be modernized and democratized in conception and practice – such as in their membership, leadership, management and governance.

It is out of political parties that we produce the president and lawmakers and councilors that manage and govern the institutions of governance and development in our society hence our parties must be institutions of knowledge, democracy and high standards.

It is in political parties that ideas for policy and development are conceived and adopted by governments hence political parties are the pillars of democracy and development.

When a political party is undemocratic and poorly governed then we cannot expect such a party to acquire state power and become a democratic government all of a sudden. An undemocratic and badly governed political party can only produce an equally corrupt and dictatorial government!

Our parties need term limits for their leaders. Our parties must be transparent and accountable about their finances and other resources. Our parties must take responsibility for the decisions and actions of their leaders and members.

Our parties must have clear policies and strategies for inclusion and participation of women, youth, persons with disabilities and minorities. Our parties must be proactive and take leadership on critical policy, development and security issues such as migration, climate change, drugs trade, corruption, human rights, extractive industries and the economy.

If you support or belong to a political party demand internal democracy and good governance. Stand against self perpetuating leadership in your party. Demand transparency and accountability in your party. Fight for inclusion for women, youth and persons with disability to participate more effectively and assume leadership in your party. Demand decentralization of power and decision making structures.

I stand with IEC!

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