Saturday, March 2, 2024

NPP & the Gitteh debacle: A comedy of errors

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By: Dida Halake

I was lying in hospital in London when I saw the news about NPP candidate selection for Brikama Chairmanship. Now, I had been warned by the doctor against any sudden movement, but I couldn’t stop laughing when I read the bit about voting with CHEWING GUM!

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And the comedy did not end there: one of the chewing gums, which would have made Gitteh the winner, was disqualified for not having a wrapper!

Gitteh then cried “Foul, stolen election”, repeating exactly the words of Lawyer Darboe when Gitteh ALLEGEDLY helped Barrow “steal” Darboe’s win.

HOW DID NPP ALLOW SUCH A MESS?

I admired the sheer smartness of Barrow’s advisers with regard to pure politics. But this Ahmad Gitteh issue was handled so badly when it started a year ago that it cost NPP in West Coast NAM elections. And it may yet cost NPP dearly in the coming West Coast Council and Chairmanship elections. How did NPP’s brilliant political strategists get the party to a situation where, as I see it, they have a chance with Gitteh (however slim), but they have no chance at all without Gitteh? In other words, making NPP’s chances in West Coast a HOSTAGE TO GITTEH?

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The answer is that political strategists placed emotion and personality before calmly calculated political analysis.

WHAT WOULD I HAVE DONE?

1. Gitteh is too useful to the NPP to be discarded for displeasing the First Lady. That matter should have been quietly settled and Gitteh handed the Ministry of Information where he would have done a brilliant job.

2. Once Gitteh was dumped, he went against the NPP and cost them NAM seats in West Coast. I would have kicked Gitteh out of the NPP at this point. Instead …

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3. NPP, in recognition of Gitteh’s popularity with West Coast voters, tried a “reconciliation” with Gitteh without actually offering him anything … except a handshake with the President. I would not have done that because it made Gitteh believe that NPP might support him in his bid for West Coast Chairmanship.

4. So Gitteh threw his hat into the NPP primary for Chairmanship and got more chewing gum than anyone else … though one chewing gum was naked! There were 81 delegates selected BY the party … and 31 (or 30) voted for Gitteh. That is a big number considering that party delegates may have had instructions not to vote for Gitteh. I, as NPP, would have swallowed the personal hate for Gitteh and made him my candidate for Chairmanship.

5. But the NPP have decided to re-run the vote instead and Gitteh has refused to partake … which means NPP will be giving the Chairmanship candidacy to Seedy Ceesay … who was reported to be their preferred candidate anyway. So, it looks as if the NPP rigged/stole the primary for Seedy Ceesay! And Gitteh claims the moral high ground with what appears to be overwhelming support of Gambians on social media.

6. What would I do at this point?
A) Give the Chairmanship candidacy to Gitteh without a 2nd round of voting,
B) Surrender the Brikama Chairmanship to UDP.

Stay blessed reader.

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