As Gambian opposition leaders are edging towards forming a united front against President Yahya Jammeh come Dec. 2016, calls for unity are coming from various corners urging them to bury their differences and put Gambia first. An avalanche of reactions suggest that a coalition of opposition parties is the only option considered viable in the circumstances.
“If the opposition comes together for the sake of national interest they can make a difference,” former Gambian diplomat Essa Bokkar Sey told this reporter. Opposition leaders are expected to endorse a document paving the way for a united front ahead of December polls. All eyes are directed today (Friday) at Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi where what appears to be the epilogue of coalition talks is taking place.
Essa Bokkar Sey was quick to point out that for the opposition figures to achieve unity, they need to “remove their own stigma before removing Gambia’s stigma.”
He then added: “If each one of them decides to substitute national interest with partisan feelings, it means they are closer to being adventurers than leaders the oppressed masses can rely on…”
In his view, only a ‘united opposition’ could make sizeable gains against the candidate of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).
“Even if he (President Jammeh) were to say he is the winner statistics would then refute his claim, he said. “With a united opposition things maybe not be as good as wishful thinking paints it in the minds of some but without a united from then everything will just be nothing other a “non starter.”
In a similar vein, a prominent Gambian human rights lawyer has added his voice to the chorus making it clear that the best alternative in Gambia’s general election for the opposition is to form a coalition.
“There are high hopes that opposition party leaders will reach a deal” said New York-based activist lawyer Assan Martin.
He warned against any attempt to jeopardize the efforts spearheaded by Presidential hopeful Halifa Sallah of the opposition People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS). “Gambians are watching. They should not fail to live up to our expectations.”
Six candidates have already launched their presidential bid among them. Halifa Sallah of PDOIS, Mamma Kandeh of Gambia Democratic Change (GDC), Adama Barrow of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), Dr. Lamin Bojang of the National Convention Party (NCP) and the country’s first female presidential hopeful Dr. Isatou Touray who is standing under an independent ticket. The incumbent has vowed to win the next election as he is vying for a fifth term in office….
Written by Abdoulie JOHN