By Lamin Gano
When I first learnt that a new political party call the GDC has been registered in the Gambia, I was both curious about this party and surprised that throughout my 16 years of servanthood in the Second Republic, I had never met or heard of its leader, Mama Kandeh.
So as a blogger who is passionate about peace, security and conflict resolution and an advocate for democracy/elections, rule of law, limited presidential term limits and a peaceful political transition in The Gambia, I embarked on a fact finding mission about this party and its leader.
I began my research on a wrong footing by asking on Facebook: Who is Mama Kandeh? I received only sarcasms, insults, and unsubstantiated allegations against Kandeh from my Facebook friends. So next, I turned directly to people I know on the ground including some civil servants and former colleagues in the security sector. They were much more helpful and the information I gathered combined with my little experience while working in the system form the basis of this blog post.
The most common accusation against the GDC is that the party is created/funded by Jammeh and that Mama Kandeh is fake a politician who has come with the only intention of legitimizing Jammeh by causing more division and disunity among the opposition parties so as to prevent a coalition and thereby paving the way for Jammeh’s victory. A question worthy of asking is that why would Jammeh chose a little Fulani shepherd from Jimara to legitimize his 22 year regime?
Have we forgotten that Jammeh came to power illegitimately by overthrowing one of the best democracies and a champion of human rights in Africa? That he rules in illegitimacy by violating almost every sacrosanct provision of our laws and constitution? That he had the audacity to tell the United Nations and Amnesty International to go to hell when they challenged him for illegally violating the rights and abusing the freedoms of the members of the country’s biggest opposition party? And that he even had the guts to tell Gambians to go to hell with their votes because the jinns will come down and vote for him if we didn’t?
Why would such a person sponsor a political party when there are already seven parties in that small country of ours which are as divided as the United States Republicans? Jammeh would rather prefer the opposition to boycott the elections altogether thereby making him unopposed than to create/fund pseudo parties. He does not need any legitimacy from anyone or any party and not the least from Kandeh or the GDC.
Another allegation against Kandeh is that his previous association with the APRC as a Member of Parliament makes him complicit to the atrocities committed by Jammeh and therefore tarnishes his integrity and legitimacy to run for president. This accusation is not only unfair but it is totally malicious, shallow and devoid of substance. By now, almost everyone in the world knows that most of the Gambian officials who resign, are dismissed or are falsely prosecuted and detained are the ones who refuse to tow Jammeh’s line. I firmly stand by a previous claim that 99% of our security service personnel and civil servants are patriotic, God fearing and peace loving people who are working in the second republic out of love for country and devotion to family. It is only less than 1% who have gone out of the way to aid and abet Jammeh in his follies.
Based on my research findings, Mama Kandeh was expelled from the APRC because he was one of those noble public servants who stood for justice, truth and the interest of the people of the Gambia instead of showing blind loyalty to Jammeh. Therefore, he is as genuine and credible as Dr. Sedat Jobe, Fatoumata Tambajang and the thousands of former Gambia Government Officials who lost their jobs due to their integrity, devotion to Gambians and fear of God instead of fear of Jammeh.
In conclusion therefore, the GDC party is not only as credible and well-intentioned to remove Jammeh from power as all the other opposition parties, it poses an existential threat to the APRC Party. Long live the Republic of The Gambia, long live our peace, security and cordial co-existence.