Dr Isatou Touray, the independent candidate in the December 1 presidential election in a press briefing held today at her residence in Brusubi told journalists that she “could not make any decision at the moment regarding the coalition” until she discussed with her “people”.
“I have to go back to the people to discuss with them,” she said. “I want to tell the world out there that all these efforts done, is to promote democracy in The Gambia because all of us want change and those in the diaspora also want positive change for The Gambia.”
She said further: “I did not pull out of the coalition but what actually happened is: I was sidelined. I came with a purpose to work in unity together to be able to achieve the singular goal of making a change in The Gambia; so that The Gambia would be able to build up a young generation that is going to take leadership and responsibility in the future, create an enabling environment for the people.”
She said she had many other issues about the coalition she decided to keep close to her chest.
“I have not shared them with the public because I felt it was an internal matter and it was important that we track them out because it is all about promoting good governance and dealing with the process and ourselves as leaders who want to move The Gambia from this current situation that we are in,” she said.
She further explained, saying that on her second attendance of the coalition meeting she tabled some pertinent issues that were commented on by other members of the coalition.
“During that meeting, when I made my presentation there were comments. I went back and when I came back the third time, I came with everything that they suggested which I felt were very critical and important and also responding to the need,” she told journalists.
She said, in that presentation she brought in all the concerns and it was on that day that it became “quite clear” she was an “unwelcome guest”.
“I was sidelined, I was marginalized. I was discriminated against but that did not affect me because I felt I have come to join this space to move democracy for the people,” she added.
Dr Touray further told journalists that she was not pleased with the way and manner she was treated but she took time to remain in the meeting until everything was over and was given a second chance to talk.
“I explained that I am available. I am still an option they can rely on and am still an option that they can trust and we are here to move the country, not our selfish interest,” she explained.
She said she joined the presidential race as an independent candidate in order to promote the will of the people, “the will and concern of the Gambians both at home and in the Diaspora.
“With all the efforts, I realised that I was not being recognised within the space and I ‘don’t want to share’. I said I can understand it is the same trust or mistrust for 22 years, which has been going on; the lack of trust between the parties and it is the same feeling that is being transferred to me,” she added.
Dr Touray further stated: “I have realised the type of system going on during the process. I was there but it was unfair and undemocratic; there was lack of transparency in the process and I was marginalised for not being part of this process,” she said.
“For you to have done a convention for me to be part of and then after the convention for you to bring the document that is supposed to legitimise my participation, in itself tells you a lot that we are not promoting good governance.
“We are not respecting transparency and accountability. If we are going to start with this, it is a none-starter because we want to change things in the positive direction.”
Dr Touray said she was kept in the dark in the process although she made a lot of efforts to partake fully. “However, Mrs Fatoumatta Tambajang, for one reason or the other, was not forthcoming,” she pointed out.
Written By A Correspondent