By Pa Louis
As we all are aware, the Coalition which comprises of (UDP, NRP, PDOIS, PPP, NCP,
GPDP GMC and Isatou Touray and team) was the product of a desperate desire to oust
former president who was increasingly edging closer to declaring a one party state akin to
an Islamic emirate. This was no doubt an unprecedented occurrence in our politics and in
essence, we are on unchartered waters. The aforementioned uniqueness of the political
turf inevitably presents to the Gambian political class a steep incline which no set of
Gambian politicians were ever compelled to manoeuvre.
The failure to address the issue of Parliamentary elections was a grave error in judgement
and I am sure those concerned would approach such an issue of fundamental importance
differently with the benefit of hindsight.
However, now that we are where we are one would have thought that consolidating the
coalition’s power in the National Assembly would take priority over any other party political
interests but a few in the coalition think not. It appears that the compromise reached
(‘tactical alliance’) means that the individual parties will field in candidates subject to deals
struck with other parties; this compromise albeit effective in settling the ‘civil war’ which
ensued, it may not be as effective in achieving the desired aim to win the minimum
required number of seats (39 (75%)) to pass a referendum legislation for the purpose of
amending the entrenched causes of the Constitution. A fair, sensible and equitable
approach could have been fielding coalition candidates using the four (4) hurdle formula
●Hurdle 1: Each party to keep the maximum number of Parliamentary seats won in
the second republic.
●Hurdle 2: Each party keeps % of the votes won in 2011 from the total 53
constituencies but constituencies picked from among the 28 won by the Coalition.
●Hurdle 3: Remaining seats divided by the number of parties (8).
●Hurdle 4: Remaining seats distributed equally between ‘hurdle 1’ parties
Results of such a formula will be fair, reasonable, equitable and appealing to both voters
and individual party supporters as follows:
NB: Selection of constituencies at ‘hurdle 3’ and ‘hurdle 4’ to be through a random ballot /
If the above formula or something similar is adopted to ensure Coalition candidates are
fielded in instead of individual party candidates, then the Coalition will have a very strong
potential of keeping all 28 constituencies won in December. As well as the aforementioned
there is a good chance they will win over the following constituencies in which the APRC &
GDC won only narrowly or not overwhelmingly:
Banjul central, Busumbala, Jarra Central, Niani, Niamina Dankunku, Lower Saloum &
MOST LIKELY OUTCOME OF A ‘TACTICAL ALLIANCE’
Should the favoured ‘tactical alliance’ create circumstances whereby Coalition party
candidates find themselves competing for the same constituency seats, then the Coalition
votes will inevitably split and going by the available data, out of the 28 constituencies won
by the coalition 12 will be at risk. APRC will be at a position of strength to hold on to at
least 13 of their 20 constituencies won; GDC will easily hold onto 4 out of their 5
constituencies won in December.
With the above said, 12 of the 28 constituencies won by the Coalition; 7 of the 20 won by
APRC and 1 of the 5 won by GDC will be up for grabs. These 20 seats (Jeshwang,
Serekunda west, Bundunka kunda, Latir-kunda Sabiji, Tallinding, Brikima south,
Busumbala, Kiang east, Kiang central, Sami, Basse, Sandu, Banjul central, Old Yundum,
Jarra central, Niani, Niamina Dankunku, Lower Saloum, Upper Saloum & Upper Niumi)
could end up swing to any party or independent candidate.
It is important for the Coalition to rather than consider party interest, work towards
maximizing gains made in December and establish a strong legislative base in anticipation
of the wholesale reforms President Barrow was elected to usher through. Going by the
available evidence, a ‘tactical alliance’ may well deliver ‘victory’ for one or two parties
within the Coalition but spell disaster overall for the Coalition and embolden an already
wounded APRC to reorganize and re-establish themselves as a force to reckon with in
Gambian politics once again.
The Rubicon has still not been crossed on the matter and I hope that moving forward, the
individual parties within the Coalition will consider a formula akin to the above to
consolidate and increase their political gains in December 2016 come April 6th.