INTER-PARTY COMMITTEE FOR OPPOSITION UNIFICATION (IPCOU)
DRAFT FRAMEWORK FOR OPPOSITION ALLIANCE/ COALITION FOR DECEMBER 1ST 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS
President Jammeh headed a military coup and toppled a democratically elected president in 1994. Since then, he perpetuated himself to power by winning four incredible presidential elections. In 1996 the President scored about 56 % of the votes and in 2001 just about 52 % of the votes. In realizing the decline in the percentage of the votes the government amended the constitution by introducing simple majority instead of the absolute majority which makes it impossible or rather difficult for one party to defeat the incumbent. Opposition alliances/ Coalitions were unsuccessful. The voter apathy increased. The state machineries and bad electoral laws continued to favour the incumbent. In 2012, the opposition parties but one decided not to take part in the National Assembly elections until their demands to create level playing field are met. Subsequently a group of six opposition parties presented demands and proposals for electoral reforms which the regime paid deaf ear to and instead enacted the Elections Amendment Act 2015 which added salt to injury. The group of six opposition parties is considered dormant in pursuit of its demands and proposals for electoral reforms, this prompted the formation of the Inter-Party Committee for Opposition Unification (IPCOU).
The Inter-Party Committee for opposition unification (IPCOU) is a grass root pressure group comprising mainly youths from the following opposition parties that subscribed to the committee: namely NRP, PPP, GPDP, UDP, NCP, GMC and GDC. This committee is formed to re-enforce the work of the main Inter- Party Committee for Oppositions formerly called Group of six opposition parties in respond to the demand of the opposition to unite against the incumbent and end his self perpetuation to power.
In order to ensure legality and operate as a legal entity, the committee has decided to operate under the umbrella of the respective political parties. Through a joint statement, the committee formulated a proposal on two main agenda, firstly, the demand for genuine electoral reforms to create a conducive environment for credible free and fair elections and secondly, the demand for opposition alliance. On the former, a petition was filed to IEC and copied to all the relevant authorities and organizations representing the international communities. The IEC responded that we channeled all political matters to the Inter- Party Committee (IPC) comprising all the political parties which the IPCOU did but no response.
Whilst waiting for the reactions and response of the IPC, since the elections is just about few months away and constitutionally amendment to the electoral laws cannot take effect and the parties must go for elections, the IPCOU decided to pursuit the second agenda, by formulating this frame work for opposition alliance/ coalition for the December 1st 2016 elections for the consideration of the opposition parties to pave way for the long awaited alliance talk. The IPCOU expect as a matter of urgency the opposition parties will put aside their differences in ideologies and form a formidable alliance with a single presidential candidate who will lead the alliance and the transitional government.
- THE ROLE OF THE IPCOU
- To partner with the opposition parties;
- To mediate and advise the opposition parties on matters of opposition unity;
- To coordinate and supervise the unity process;
- To monitor and supervise the transition process;
- Advise the alliance/ coalition partners on matters in the MOU;
- The IPCOU shall be recognized by the transitional government and alliance parties whose tenure shall end at the end of the transition.
- 3. MODE OF ALLIANCE/ COALITION
Two main formats were advanced in the discussion, party led alliance / coalition and independent led alliance/ coalition.
For the Party Led Alliance/ Coalition, Presidential Candidate will be selected through the following ways:
- a) The main opposition party will lead the alliance/coalition and chooses a candidate to lead the alliance/coalition.
(b) The party of the candidate chosen through the convention of the member parties will lead the alliance.
(c) The parties will go all out to sell their candidates and the one that attracted more crowds to be determined by the committee (IPCOU) will lead the alliance.
For the Independent Led Alliance/ Coalition, the presidential candidate can be selected in the following ways:
(a) An Independent candidate from the civil society organization, with no affiliation to any party is selected through consensus/election from the list of applicants by the IPCOU central committee.
(b) An Independent candidate from the civil society organization, with no affiliation to any party is selected through National convention of member opposition political parties.
(c) The IPCOU coordinating committee select from the list of applicants for the selection of the candidate through National convention of member parties.
(d) The IPCOU coordinating committee select from the list of applicants who are not affiliated to any political party by hand picking the lucky candidate for the alliance (i.e through raffle).
After intensive debate on the mode of alliance, the majority agreed on Independent Led Alliance/ Coalition. On the selection of the presidential candidate, the majority also agreed on (a) above, that is, An Independent candidate from the civil society organization, with no affiliation to any party is selected through consensus/election from the list of applicants by the IPCOU central committee.
- THE MODE OF TRANSITION
- An Interim Government for a period of Two years;
- The interim government shall be a unity government comprising parties that formed the alliance and the ministerial and other positions will be shared as determined by the MOU between the alliance parties;
- The leader of the interim Government shall not seek for re-election until after the five years after the interim period.
- THE ROLE OF THE TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT
- To conduct constitutional review and electoral reforms and organize referendum;
- To introduce the two five-year term limit in the constitution;
- To abolish the simple majority and re-introduce the second round in the event one party fails to get more than 50% of the votes.
- To abolish the upper age limit (65 years);
- To set land and asset recovery commission;
- To set truth and reconciliation commission;
- To restore The Gambia’s good relationship with the international communities;
- The Diaspora Gambians shall be allowed to register and vote in elections;
- To facilitate the organization of credible election and a smooth handing over of power.
- THE CODE OF CONDUCT OF THE TRANSTIONAL GOVERNMENT
- The transitional government shall threat the Gambians equally regardless of political, religious and tribal affiliation;
- The transitional government shall respect and protect the fundamental principles of humans and people’s rights;
- The transitional government shall exercise impartiality among the political parties;
- The transitional government shall not engage in any form of revenge or witch hunt against its citizens;
- The transitional government shall respect and honour all the international conventions and treaties that The Gambia is a signatory to;
- THE TRANSITIONAL LEADER
- Must be someone who is presentable and saleable both nationally and internationally;
- Must be someone who has good moral and educational standing;
- Must be someone from a civil society group operating in the Gambia and is not affiliated to any political party;
- Must meet the requirements for one to be eligible to contest as a candidate in presidential elections;
- The transitional leader shall not support any party during the transition period.
- 8. THE MODE OF SELECTION OF THE TRANSITIONAL LEADER
- Application will be opened to all interested Gambians and application letters will be addressed to the Chairman IPCOU;
- The IPCOU Coordinating Committee will short list the applicants to be subjected to interview by a special task force committee comprising two representatives per member party which will forward its recommendations to the IPCOU Central Committee;
- The IPCOU Central Committee will do the selection from among the recommended applicants through consensus or voting. Each party is represented by five delegates;
- Such voting shall be secret ballot.
- THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR THE TRANSTIONAL LEADER
- He/ She must not support any political party during the transition;
- He/ She must respect and honour the MOU signed by all the parties involved in the alliance/ coalition;
- He/ She shall not seek for re-election for the subsequent term after the transition;
- 10. THE ALLIANCE MANIFESTO
- There shall be manifesto for the Independent Led Alliance adopted by all the member parties;
- THE ALLIANCE FUND
- There shall be alliance campaign fund, raised and contributed by member parties or from other sources.
- Each member party shall pay an amount or percentage of the fund as stipulated in the MOU.
- The funds shall be controlled by the Finance and Fund Raising Sub Committee of the Alliance/ Coalition.
- THE ALLIANCE CAMPAIGN
- There shall be joint campaign teams from national to regional levels;
- Only the Alliance/ Coalition campaign materials shall be used during the campaign period.
- THE OTHER ELECTIONS
a The spirit of the alliance should continue in the National Assembly and Local Government Elections
- MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING (MOU)
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be signed by the Alliance/ Coalition Candidate and all the Alliance/ Coalition partners clearly outlining the relevant areas needed in the agreement.
- APPROVING AUTHORITY
This draft framework for opposition alliance/ coalition is subjected to the approval of the opposition parties within a period of not more than two weeks upon receipt of the document.
Below is the list of signatories of the representatives of the political parties in the aforementioned committee that consented to this draft framework for opposition alliance.
………………………… …………………………. …………………………….
- Alhagie S. Darbo 2. Yaya Marong 3. Musukebba Keita
UDP NCP GMC
- Sheikh Omar Saho 5. Sarja Jarju