A new party calling itself The Gambia Democratic Congress filed registration documents with the Independent Electoral Council this past Thursday, April 7, 2016, finally laying to rest rumors and speculations as to the intent of its leader, Mamma Kandeh. GDC is waiting to hear from the IEC according to Independent Electoral Commission insiders.
If all goes well, GDC will be joining existing registered parties; People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), People’s Progressive Party (PPP), National Reconciliation Party (NRP), United Democratic Party (UDP), Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP), now being unofficially called Group of 6 (G-6), and ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC). Not much is yet known about this new party other than information The Fatu Network was able to gather from supposed sympathizers that one Mamma Kandeh is the leader. Kandeh is onetime National Assembly Member of the ruling APRC for the Jimara Constituency seat. He was later expelled from the party by President Jammeh for breaking code of conduct rules according to APRC. Many at the time of his expulsion attributed his sacking to suspicions within the APRC, and particularly by President Jammeh himself, that Mamma had Presidential ambitions. This suspicion was so deep, Jammeh, according to sources, was sending people to determine the nature of Kandeh’s relationship with his African Union Parliament colleagues a lot of whom went on to hold key positions in their countries – President John Mahama of Ghana was one of those colleagues. Mamma was also a big proponent of the Two-Term Limit, something Jammeh opposes vehemently. Fatu Network has gathered that Kandeh’s sponsor of an Independent candidate for a councilor seat was the last straw that broke the camel’s back leading to his final ouster.
Fatu Network has not seen any manifesto or official documents from the GDC, so it would be premature to ascribe any policy positions at this time. Not much is yet known about the leader but efforts are ongoing to have Mr. Kandeh himself for an interview so as to ascertain what his party’s plans are for the upcoming December 1st elections and also what his political philosophy or policy positions are. According internet search results, he was born in 1965 and is from Central River Region, he used to run a lodge called Baobab Lodge. No information is available on his educational background or family status.
The upcoming Presidential elections has already been very uncertain with major players like Omar (OJ) Jallow of the PPP and Lawyer Ousainou Numukunda Darbo of the UDP constitutionally out of the ring, leaving Halifa Sallah of PDOIS and Amat Bah of NRP as the only viable contenders. With Kandeh’s entrance, the uncertainty will be even more pronounced in an election where barring a coalition of all opposition parties and fight for electoral reform to level the already uneven playing field, incumbent President Yahya Jammeh will easily cruise to victory, albeit a stolen election according to observers.