Speaking for the first time since she was sacked from Barrow’s cabinet, former Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang said the 2016 Coalition Government, which replaced dictator Yahya Jammeh’s tyrannical rule is alive and kicking. Ms. Tambajang made the remark during an interview with The Gambia based Star FM radio. She was among the personalities and opposition leaders invited to grace the opening of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Congress.
“The Coalition is not dead. It is alive. It is in tack,” said the Coalition Chairperson Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang in the local Wollof dialect.
Ms. Tambajang played a pivotal role in bringing The Gambian opposition together back in 2016 electioneering year. It was through her efforts and that of Halifa Sallah, the Leader of the PDOIS party, that the opposition were able to form an alliance to challenge Jammeh in the December 1st polls. Gambians in the diaspora also played their part in unifying the opposition. They also raised funds to bankroll the opposition.
Among Coalition government leaders at the UDP Congress were: Mai Fatty, leader of The Gambia Moral Congress Party (GMC), Omar Amadou Jallow (OJ), interim leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, herself. Representative from Jammeh’s APRC Party, and Mama Kandeh’s GDC party, were also in attendance at the UDP Congress.
Ms. Tambajang said the presence of the Coalition partners at the UDP Congress, goes to show that there is unity among parties in the country. She said the unity among the leaders of the political parties depicts how unified we are as a country.
“Our presence here goes to show that The Gambia is a united nation. It shows that the Coalition is not dead. It is a Coalition government, which is guided by sense of unity, and purpose. That is what brought the change back in 2016,” she said.
“We have not been meeting in the open, but have been meeting inside. What I meant by that, is each time, there is a difference among parties, I will call them and mediate so that they can iron out their respective differences,” Ms. Tambajang added.
She reiterated that the Coalition is on course. But she noted that the Coalition’s agenda and spirit should be respected to the letter. This, she said, is sacrosanct as far as Gambia’s new-found democracy is concerned.
Ms. Tambajang also said Coalition government is the way forward as far as Gambia’s long-term democratic substance is concerned. She notes that given the proposed absolute majority provision for Presidential election winner currently being debated in the Constitutional Review Commission, it would be very hard for any single party to win an election in The Gambia.
“With the emerging democracy in our country; given the citizens level of political consciousness and awareness, coupled with the new political parties emerging, in the next 20 years, I think only a Coalition government can rule The Gambia,” she remarked.
Ms. Tambajang said any Coalition government tasked with presiding over the affairs of the country, should be an all-inclusive Coalition government. She said Gambia’s agenda should be the Coalition’s number one priority and nothing less.
Ms. Tambajang calls for unity and cohesion among the Coalition government. She said she is an active member of the Coalition.
“I am not a political leader. I am a national leader. I will honor invitations extended to me, from any party. I want to see peace and unity in the country,” she said, while thanking the UDP for inviting her to grace their Congress.
Ms. Tambanjang said she doesn’t behold grudges against anyone. She said she being a mother, it is her duty to bring the family together despite our past disagreements and differences.
On her sacking from cabinet, she said, her removal was predestined by God. She said she has accepted her removal in good faith.
“I have not been betrayed. My removal was God’s own predestination. President Barrow didn’t say I have done anything wrong; or spoiled anything. I took it in good faith. I am not bitter. I am not angry at all,” she said.
The former Vice President thanked The Gambian online media for their immense contribution towards effecting political change in 2016. She also thanked the diaspora community for their contribution in bringing the desired change that Gambians have long been yearning for.
Finally, Ms. Tambajang calls for restraint and respect for the individual among party supporters. She also said Gambia’s much cherished reputation of being the smiling coast of the region, must be preserved at all cost.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai