I cannot believe am about to say this, but the Dictator was right about one of very few things. He was right about the tribal thing of the United ‘Democratic’ Party (UDP). This is even more apparent when you analyze the words and actions of some senior members of this so-called largest party in The Gambia. The GMC, a splinter group built around a single personality is in fact an inalienable part of the UDP. They are terribly miscalculating their political base. They seem to believe that since 40% of the Gambian population is Mandinka or speak Mandinka, they have that much support base as a starting point. When the fact of the matter is, 64% of the Mandinka population of the Gambia, representing roughly 26% of the population is the true core support base. The rest are political marriages of convenience; those who did not see a real and viable alternative until now.
The truth is most Gambians are not tribal and by extension, most Mandinkas are not tribal. This is thanks to strongly meshed up communities made up of multi-linguistic households and intermarriages that guarantee a strong, inter-dependent and united social structure. This enviable foundation of our nation is a major guarantor of peace and social cohesion. This is what makes a kid with the last name of Joof, Jatta, Bah or Coker growing up in Bundung or Kafuta to take Mandinka as their daily means of communication and sometimes associate more with the Mandinka sub-culture than their patriarchal lineages. Every Gambian must jealously safeguard this precious gift from Allah…a harbinger of so much good and goodwill in our society.
For 22 years, the ‘biggest’ opposition party in the Gambia headed by a 68yr old soon to be septuagenarian, lead this party to multiple elections without success. Where they tried many times and failed, the Coalition Alliance (the true tactical alliance) prevailed in the November 2016 Presidential Elections. I understand that some will like to conveniently argue that the past elections were not ‘free and fair’ and as a result, the UDP and its allies like the GMC did not benefit from a level playing field under the dictatorship. But the fact of the matter remains, no election is absolutely free and fair in any part of the world, especially in continental Africa. Any party can claim some amount of unfair treatment or the field of play not being level. Case in point (although tangentially) is the 2016 American Presidential Elections. The coalition contested the November election under similar circumstances.
The point being, there can’t be any more of a viable tactical alliance than what we the majority (slim as it is) have in the Coalition Alliance. If any party or groups of parties, for whatever reason, decide to break away from the alliance, they will in essence be a rogue party or a bunch of rogue parties. They cannot and will not be representing the interest of the majority of the Gambian people; no matter how cute a verbiage or phrase use to describe their effort. Furthermore, all the points of reason they articulated were no different from what is entailed in the MOU all the parties signed and the selection criteria for candidates will be very similar.
The only difference is the narrow view of these leaders for the need of their parties to be visible to the Gambian electorate. This is a ridiculous argument, since all these three parties are prominently represented in Cabinet and Gambian people know which parties they belong to. Does any supporter of these leaders and their parties want to tell the Gambian people that we cannot adequately and appropriately give credit where due when any member of their party excels in a position? If Ousainou Darboe as a Minister of Foreign Affairs excels and brings glory to The Gambia and its people, The Coalition and the UDP undoubtedly benefits, politically. He will be seen to be competent and by extension, his party. The only party that can conceivably be ‘negatively’ affected is the one not in cabinet. In fact, that will cease to be the case if Halifa and members of the PDOIS under the Coalition umbrella are elected in the national assembly. So, that was a misleading argument at best, and grossly dishonest.
Indeed, the UDP, NRP and even GMC will better guarantee a fair and proportionate representation in the Assembly under the coalition umbrella without unnecessarily causing division and weakening the Coalition Government. The very government they are an integral part of and claim to support. I will not be surprised if this half-hazard effort and rogue decision was taken with less than adequate consultation within their individual parties.
This is the only paragraph I will dedicate to Hamad Bah and the NRP. The truth, I was glad when he was appointed the minister of Tourism. I genuinely thought his management and other experience in the Tourism sector makes sense for him to man that position. But frankly, Hamad Bah’s comportment and behavior these past couple of months has left much to be desired. His unprofessional outburst when a journalist asked a very uncomfortable but pertinent question during the signing ceremony of the EU Aid package to The Gambia and total disrespect and humiliation of the moderator of yesterday’s press conference are unbecoming and needing total rebuke. I also believe that his alliance with the UDP and its GMC ally is short-sighted and is as a result of Mama Kandeh and the GDC party’s purging of his political base. Don’t ask me to elaborate.
In summation, the tomfoolery of the NRP and the attempt at amateurish politics by the terrible two (UDP and NRP) is a total betrayal to all those who worked so hard and many that paid the ultimate price (including their supporters) to dislodge the dictatorship and the APRC from power. The only sure way for the APRC to resuscitated itself and reclaim their terrible dominance is a fragmented 2016/2017 Coalition. None of the intended reforms necessary to safe guard against a one party dictatorship and make sure justice is served for the victims of the 22yrs dictatorship is accomplished. This ill-conceived effort by this group is therefore a threat to the New Gambia we collectively heralded barely 2 months ago. I am convinced that those party members that paid the ultimate price will be highly disappointed at the premature usurpation of our new political dispensation. Therefore, I strongly urge the President make every effort in order to indulge on these individuals perpetuating this chaos to come back to the Coalition fold.
Written by Anonymous the Patriot