Independent Presidential hopeful Dr. Isatou Touray, has emphatically denied any proposition or suggestion made in any quarters that her candidature is a coup against the existing opposition parties in the country. Speaking via Facebook live streaming on Saturday, The Gambian gender activist, and now turned politician, pointed out that her candidature should not be misconstrued as an attempt to hijack the opposition. She vehemently denied that she has staged a coup to take over the nation’s disintegrated opposition.  

Ms. Touray, in an hour long speech, debunked such assertions. She maintains that her emergence as an independent Presidential candidate is not aimed at killing the existing parties.

“I am not here to kill the opposition parties,” she said adding that in order for the opposition to be able to escape from legal ramifications or technicalities it should sponsor an independent candidate as a president. That way, she said, parties do not have to necessarily de-register their respective parties. She cited the constitutional issues surrounding the formation of NADD. NADD was an alliance of opposition parties formed to challenge incumbent dictator Yahya Jammeh in one of the past presidential elections. The Supreme Court had to intervene to make a legal pronouncement on NADD and the parties associated with it.

Ms. Touray went on to state that she listens to the ongoing online radio debate about her candidature and so on. She said it is healthy to have such debates, but  pointed out that The Gambia has reached a stage that its citizens cannot live on a chance. She added that it is about time for the opposition to come together and remove Jammeh from power. She also lamented that The Gambia is a failed state under Jammeh’s leadership.   

Ms. Touray did not single out any online radio in particular during her speech. But what’s clear though; is that the Freedom Radio Proprietor did indeed raised the possibility of a coup being staged by team Isatou Touray to ultimately take over the opposition under the disguise of sponsoring an independent candidate to oppose incumbent dictator Jammeh, in the coming polls. The Freedom anchorman maintains that in the absence of a democratic selection process for a flag bearer, any attempt to require parties to back Isatou Touray, could be construed as a political coup against the longtime existing political parties. 

According to Dr. Touray, in order to avoid a replica of the NADD legal debacle, it was prudent for parties to select an independent flag bearer. Ms. Touray has since been projecting herself as the suitable and qualified candidate to lead the opposition. Although she pointed out  that she was not here to impose herself to the existing parties, but she was quick to add that “it is a necessity for the parties to rally behind an independent candidate” to bailout the impoverished West African nation from Jammeh’s tyranny. She talks about the maladministration in the country and Jammeh’s inability to fix the country’s economic, health, and other development needs.

Ms. Touray also expressed optimism that if avail with the opportunity to lead The Gambia for a five year term period, she will endeavor to fix the developmental needs of the nation, especially some of the issues highlighted on her manifesto. She strongly criticized the Jammeh dictatorship for neglecting the capital city Banjul. Under her leadership, she said Banjul, would be revamped as a modern city. She also said taxes collected Area Councils would be used to build markets. 

“This is not going to be a mediocre third republic. It is going to be embedded in continuity—respecting the social capital and capacity and the ability of the technical people, as well as the private sector, and all those who have something to give in to make The Gambia a better place. I don’t have to leave and everything fails. That’s not what I am thinking,” she said.

Dr. Touray also promised to improve the working conditions of the army, the police and other sister services. She said under her watch as the President of The Gambia, the security forces will be exposed to professional training among others.

Ms. Touray maintains that her approach to remove Jammeh from power is going to be  nonviolent. She also stated that electoral reform, good governance and respect for the rule of law cannot be achieved as long as Jammeh remains in power. She said electoral reform can only be achieved once Jammeh is out of the State House.

“You cannot put the horse before the cart. He has already put in place his laws and policies. If he is there, he will definitely entrenched them,” she said.

Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai

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