In few hours’ time, the leader of Gambia’s newest opposition party—The Gambia Democracy Party (GDC’S) Mama Kandeh, will present his nomination papers to the Independent Electoral Commission IEC, as one of the Presidential aspirants vying for the Presidency on December, 1st. Mr. Kandeh held a political rally last night in the town of Brikama, just few kilometers outside the capital city Banjul, where he raised key political issues associated with his campaign and Presidential ambition.
Mr. Kandeh stand to be accused of being a Jammeh apologist few hour before his nomination. He was somehow cozying up with the dictator for reasons best known to him. Kandeh told his supporters that he will never disrespect or insult Jammeh as being advocated by his critics overseas. He also said he will never obstruct or block Jammeh’s convoy during the upcoming campaign trail if his nomination papers have been accepted by the IEC.
Kandeh totally subdued himself to Jammeh. He sounded as there opposition parties in the country, who are treating Jammeh with utter contempt and disrespect.
Kandeh maintains that Jammeh is Gambia’s legitimate President and therefore he cannot afford to undermine Jammeh’s legitimacy as the Head of State of this country. He said he will rather park on the roadside and allow Jammeh’s convoy to pass than to obstruct him. Interesting change of political tone and rhetoric from our brother Kandeh.
Mr. Kandeh went further to accuse some Gambians overseas of fueling instability in the West African nation in the form of instigating the locals to protest against the Jammeh dictatorship. He calls out Imam Baba Leigh, and Fatu Radio during his latest outburst. Kandeh alleged that folks in diaspora are in the business of storming radios instigating Gambians back home to protest against the status quo, when none of the radio callers or moderators will encourage their parents, and loved ones to join the protest. For Kandeh, such folks are not only selfish, but hypocritical.
Mr. Kandeh accuses Imam Baba Leigh of trying to force him to join the opposition merger. He claimed that Baba Leigh even threatens to resort to profanity if he Kandeh fails to join the opposition alliance. He also raised the issue of a marabout, who was on one of the online radios accusing him of being a front candidate propped up by Yahya Jammeh. Kandeh denied the allegations. He said the marabout was paid to defame him ahead of the polls.
Imam Baba Leigh has rejected Mama’s allegations. He tells Freedom Radio Gambia, Mama Kandeh is making up stories against him. Imam Leigh said he is not the type of person who insults people. He also said he cannot force Mama to join the opposition alliance. All he can do is to persuade Mama to reconsider his position, he said.
Imam Leigh said he wouldn’t discourage dissidents to insult dictator Jammeh saying Jammeh deserves to be insulted by Gambians. He cautioned Mama Kandeh to desist from making unfounded allegations against his person. He said Mama should concentrate on his political campaign and stop spreading false information against him.
The GDC Brikama rally, has exposed a change of tone on the part of the GDC leader. He seems to be bothered by what his critics are saying overseas. He has also given an unnecessary legitimacy to a despot, who has divided the country based on tribe, ethic, economic and political lines.
Lest we not forget that Mama Kandeh’s fate as a Presidential aspirant would be determined on Monday, November, 7th. His qualifications as a Presidential aspirant has been widely questioned in some quarters. The onus now lies on Mr. Kandeh to prove his critics wrong that he is qualified for the job that he is seeking from Gambians.
The IEC has a job to do. And we hope the Commission will enforce the law to the letter and treat all aspiring Presidential candidates equally.
Surprises will no doubt emerge from the nomination today. The IEC starting with Mama Kandeh’s GDC speaks volume. The rules of political impartiality got to be observed and respected. The Commission ought to have invoked the alphabetical letters associated with the respective parties vying for the Presidency. But in this case, such ground rules have been completely ignored. We hope there is no conspiracy between the IEC and Jammeh to set up the GDC for an early elimination. Time will tell.