A Rejoinder: Sidia Jatta’s Interview with Fatu Network

1203

A Rejoinder: Sidia Jatta’s Interview with Fatu Network

Firstly, Sidia stated that people initially opposed to Barrow serving only 3yrs in office were justifying their opposition on the basis of the coalition agreement not been signed, which he said is not true. But in actual fact there was no contention about the coalition agreement been signed or not signed. The contention was about the MOU, which is different from the coalition agreement. As a matter of fact, the 3yrs agreement was not part of the coalition agreement but the MOU, which he (Sidia) admitted was not signed.

Secondly, Sidia blamed Lawyer Darboe for the collapse of the coalition but later contradicted himself when he said the coalition was already dead before Darboe came to the scene. Just that he (Darboe) buried it when he came to the scene, Sidia added. The question then is, how can Lawyer Darboe be responsible for the death of the coalition when the coalition was already dead before he came to the scene??

Thirdly, to say that Darboe does not like the idea of a coalition is palpable nonsense. Sidia very well knows that it was Darboe who initiated the coalition talks of 2011 and also led efforts to reactivate The Gambia Oppositions for Electoral Reforms (GOFER), which later morphed into Coalition 2016 whilst he was in prison. Just because his choice of coalition, which is in line with international standard and best practices, was different from that of Sidia does not mean that he never wanted a coalition. He just happened to hold a different view on the subject matter. That been the case, it is preposterous for Sidia to think that it is Darboe alone who should be blamed for the past failed attempts to forge a coalition when PDOIS too could have agreed with Darboe’s choice of coalition to break the deadlock.

Fourthly, he said Halifa was appointed Adviser upon Barrow’s return from Dakar, but went on to cite events that happened while Barrow was still in Dakar to demonstrate how well Halifa performed in this role. For example, he cited Jammeh’s departure at the airport and also the coming of the Senegalese forces in the country, all of which happened while Barrow was still in Dakar.

Finally, the tactical alliance proposal was put forward by the UDP within the context of Coalition 2016. The matter was put to a vote and almost every party, with the exception of PPP and PDOIS, voted in favour of it. A statement was later produced by the coalition spokesperson reflecting these facts. So it is not correct to suggest that only Darboe and the UDP were in favour of a tactical alliance to contest the 2017 National Assembly elections. As a matter of fact, Sidia and his co-sore losers were in the minority on this issue, which makes one wonder how Darboe but not Sidia and PDOIS could have been the problem.

Sidia was either engaged in a deliberate but undignified prevarication, or he is suffering from a serious cognitive decline.

Suntu S. Daffeh

United Kingdom

Appendix:

The Coalition Agreement:

RESS RELEASE ON COALITION OPTION ADOPTED BY OPPOSITION PARTIES INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT AND INVITED PARTICIPANTS FROM CIVIL SOCIETY

We, the signatories of this memorandum comprising the representatives of member parties of The Gambia Opposition for Electoral Reform (GOFER), the aspiring Independent Candidate from Civil Society and the invited participants from Civil Society, putting their differences aside, in pursuance of the supreme National interest, do hereby agree:

To hold a National Convention comprising 10 delegates from each region selected by each signatory party and Presidential aspirant from Civil Society, who are accorded the key mandate to elect one of the aspiring presidential candidates to be the flag-bearer of the Coalition for the 1st December 2016 Presidential Election;

To this end, we further agree to set up Technical Committees that are charged with the mandate to work out the modalities required to hold the National Convention.

POLITICAL PARTY SIGNATORIES:

Gambia Moral Congress (GMC),

Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP),

National Convention Party (NCP),

National Reconciliation Party (NRP),

People’s Democratic Organisation for independence and Socialism (PDOIS),

People’s Progressive Party (PPP),

United Democratic Party (UDP) and

Independent Candidate (IC).

CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS:

Committee of Concerned Gambians for Democracy and Peace (CCGDP),

Interparty Committee for Opposition Unification (IPCOU)

THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:

Hon Hamat NK Bah (NRP),

Mr Adama Barrow (UDP),

Dr Lamin Bojang (NCP),

Mr Halifa Sallah (PDOIS) and

Dr Isatou Touray (IC)

Join The Conversation