Democracy is about to be subverted in the tiny West African nation of The Gambia, as some feminists, with no political grass-root support are bent on trying to impose an independent candidate Dr. Isatou Touray, who is vying for the Presidency to the longtime existing opposition parties. Dr. Touray’s surrogates would cheaply tell you that she being an independent candidate, qualifies her to lead the disintegrated opposition. That Dr. Touray’s non-affiliation with any of the existing registered opposition parties, gives her a pass or blank check of that sort to head any opposition merger to challenge the longtime incumbent Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh, in the upcoming presidential elections. That’s a dangerous precedence as far as our nation’s quest to install a democratic government is concerned. Power belongs to people and any attempt to subvert or impose a Presidential candidate to the electorate based on the person’s non-partisan stance or feminism amounts to dictatorship by all standards.
Dr. Touray should availed herself to a democratic and transparent flag bearer selection process so that all interested parties can contest for the position of Presidential candidate. Trying to circumvent conventional democratic norms of selecting a presidential candidate is not only dictatorial, but an affront to humanity.
For the past couple of days, Dr. Touray and her surrogates have been trying to convince Gambians—more importantly the opposition that an independent candidate should be nominated to represent the opposition in the coming polls without any ground rules put in place to legitimize such selection process. What make the Dr. Touray surrogates to think that Gambians are that so stupid and dumb to accept a candidate from nowhere just because she is an independent candidate? Even in the jungle, there are ground rules. Common on….
The approach taken by team Isatou Touray to wittingly, or unwittingly impose their candidate to the other political parties is a cause for concern. Gambians should begin to question the motives of these folks running around using the gender and independent card to pander with a hopeless nation.
It is condescending on the part of Dr. Touray’s surrogates to employ the unconventional method of selecting a flag bearer. You do not tell political party leaders to come join you because of your nonpolitical affiliation to vote out Jammeh. Such an approach defeats constructive dialogue for a consensus flag bearer selection.
It is public knowledge that Dr. Touray’s candidature has been occasioned largely by the UDP leadership vacuum and Mama Kandeh’s surging political support nationwide. Dr. Touray is banking on the UDP supporters and the few people she knew during her anti-FGM advocacy.
Dr. Touray and her team should go back to the drawing board and constructively engage their opposition colleagues in the country. If it turns out that Dr. Touray emerges as the unanimous candidate selected as a flag bearer, then so be it. Any attempt to subvert democracy will not auger well at the end of the day. The people’s input matters when selecting a Presidential candidate.
To the Dr. Touray surrogates in the diaspora, please redirect your efforts in bringing the opposition together than trying to mislead Gambians with the cheap argument that: Dr. Touray, being an independent candidate makes her the most qualified person to lead the opposition in the coming polls. If that was the case, the Republican GOP party, would have encourage an independent to block Donald Trump’s candidature. Trump was duly dominated after winning the GOP primaries, even though the main GOP true Conservative old guards have strong resentment for his candidature.
So far, the Dr. Touray surrogates haven’t told us how Ms. Touray was selected as an independent candidate. She just emerged from her GAMCOTRAP offices to announce that she is vying as an independent. Was she encouraged by her husband Dr. Touray to run for the office of the President? Was she encouraged by Amie Bojang Sissokoho, and her female gender activists to run as a President? Who are the backers of Dr. Touray? Is it the diaspora, as claimed by one of her surrogates in Norway?
One of Dr. Touray’s surrogates told Freedom radio that she and three other women approached Dr. Touray to run as an independent President. She also said other women in The Gambia, also played a pivotal role in encouraging Dr. Touray to run for the Presidency.
Folks, The Gambian Presidency is not a casino game. Gambling with the lives of an oppressed nation is dangerous. Let Dr. Touray’s surrogates chill and allow the conventional process of selecting a flag bearer to take its cause.
The diaspora to some extent; should take responsibility for the mixed agendas undermining our quest to effect democratic political change. Sadly, the folks trying to impose their agenda on Dr. Touray to run as an independent have been disfranchised by virtue of their non-presence in the country. The majority of the folks drumming Isatou’s independent candidature doesn’t have voter’s card. They are banking on Gambian electorates to vote for Isatou.
One thing is evident though, the diaspora have no impact on the voters on the ground despite the millions of dollars yearly monetary remittances they sent to their loved ones in The Gambia. Virtually in every Presidential cycle, the rigged Intendent Electoral Commission will declare Jammeh as the winner of the elections. I am sure some members of the diaspora will call their parents asking them not to vote for Jammeh, but not withstanding the dictator continues to sweep the polls with the help of the rigged IEC.
Gambians don’t learn. Imagine what happened on December, 30th. Some Jammeh soldiers were alleged to have received money from the organizer of the coup, under the premise that they will reinforce the coupists once they attacked the State House. Again, none of the alleged soldiers accused of receiving money showed up.
The case of Ebrima Solo Sandeng is still fresh in our mind. Solo was on a legitimate cause to ask for electoral reform, but he got killed in the process by Jammeh’s guards. Another partner of Sandeng, Solo Kurumah, died under the custody of the state. Three UDP women got raped by Jammeh’s guards. Ousainou Darboe and co were falsely jailed. Again, there was no solidarity from the other opposition parties to back the UDP protest.
Now, we are being told that Isatou Touray is our savior, when the said savior, was nowhere to be seen when the events articulated above were taking place behind her own backyard. She was busy making money at GAMCOTRAP.
Now that there is a so called opportunity to fill the opposition vacuum, her so called Gambia/diasporan backers think that we should rally behind her. Isatou can only emerge as a legitimate independent candidate, if backed by the main existing opposition parties on the ground. No imposition of candidates. We are better than that Gambia. We rest our case.