In my opinion, there are two main reasons why there is still no grand alliance of Gambian opposition parties in spite of the fact that everyone knows that a coalition of all the opposition parties will most certainly defeat Jammeh this year. Since PPP/OJ Jallow have long declared their non-participation in the presidential elections, they are not an obstacle to a coalition formation and therefore not part of this analysis.
And in order to keep the blog post short, simple and easy to understand as always (for the sake of my secondary school readers including my daughter) I will discuss only one of the obstacles today and the second one will follow tomorrow God willing.
In my opinion, one of the two obstacles to a coalition formation is a group of five opposition parties/leaders (I will refer to them as the Small 5 or S5 for short). I know, you know, and even they themselves know with 100% certainty that they have ABSULUTELY NO CHANCE of winning the December 2016 presidential elections. It is therefore baffling that these people are still hanging around and congesting the political arena thereby making a coalition formation very difficult and complicated.
To start with who are these group of S5? They are the GDPD, GMC, NCP, NRP, and Boy Serrer (Mr. Joseph Joof, our new independent presidential aspirant). While some of these parties/leaders cannot even participate in the presidential elections, others have shown absolutely no interest, faith, plans, programmes, or commitment to the presidential elections or to a coalition formation. I will talk about them one after the other.
The leaders of the GDPD and GMC (Honourable Gomez and Fatty respective) cannot participate in the elections because of a constitutional clause that presidential candidates have to ordinarily reside in the Gambia for a number of years prior to the elections. These two gentlemen are currently living outside Gambia. I do believe that if their safety/security was guaranteed in The Gambia and if there were electoral reforms, these gentlemen would have been on the ground working towards their presidential ambitions. However, the opposite is the case and there is no electoral reform (and there will be no electoral reforms prior to the elections in Dec). These two should not have been on that list of presidential contestants in the first place.
Now to the NRP/Hamat Bah. In the 2011 presidential elections, Ahmad Bah came last with only 11% even though he had the support/alliance of a number of parties. Therefore, what chance does Bah has in winning the presidency if there is no coalition? The answer is zero. Furthermore, from 2011 to date, what interest, activities or commitment has Bah shown towards the 2016 presidential elections or towards a coalition formation? Has anyone seen or heard Hamat Bah on a national platform, in a video or interview discussing national issues or mobilizing people against Jammeh? As for me, the only video I have seen of Hamat Bah discussing an “important” issue is the one in which he was saying that when elected into office, he will deal with any gays/lesbians that have escaped the wrath of Jammeh. This man has no interest or plans to become president.
Now to the NCP. Apart from a tiny newspaper report/press release of the resuscitation of the NCP and the naming of its leaders, has anyone seen or heard of any manifesto, a rally or statements on politics, coalition formation and other national issues by the NCP? In my research about the new NCP, I could not find on google more than three images of its leader Dr. Bojang. And as we all know, we are living in a new generation of science, technology and social media in which if an aspiring presidential candidate cannot make a good impression on twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms, s/he cannot win the hearts and minds of our youths and women. And any politician who cannot win the hearts and minds of the youths and women, s/he cannot win the presidency. It is that simple. So Dr. Bojang is really not serious, ready or even prepared to replace Jammeh.
And now to my tribal cousin, Mr. Joseph Joof. It is probably a Jola marabout who told Mr. Joof that he would be president in March 2017 but a Fula marabout would definitely have told him otherwise. On Mr. Joof’s first radio interview since the announcement of his presidential intention, the first person who called him to ask questions pushed him against the wall so fast and so hard that he had to fire back at her in self-defence by calling her “misguided” and “stupid”. (By the way I fully understand and can relate with Mr. Joof’s situation because I was once a victim of the same lady who called. This lady totally scared and terrorized the devils in me when she was my high school head girl and was not happy with my mixing business (photography) with education. She is an Iron Lady of the highest pedigree). But as a presidential aspirant, if Mr. Joof could be so easily rattled by a lady through a mere telephone, I really wonder how he would react as a Commander-in-Chief of the Gambia Armed Forces if his Generals and Police Commissioners disagree with him and try to push him to a corner.
So clearly, the group of S5 are either unable to participate in the elections (the GDPD and GMC) or they are not ready, serious, prepared and committed in replacing Jammeh. Therefore, a question that is worthy of asking is why are they on the list of this year’s presidential contestants? Could they be simply hanging around the boxing ring out of hope that a miracle would happen for there to be a coalition so that they and their party executives can have a free/easy ride into government positions of the Third Republic? Anyway whatever their reasons are, the Gambia is in a serious political emergency and we cannot afford any more time wasting, hypocrisy and selfishness.
Therefore, the best thing that this group of S5 can do for themselves and for the suffering/oppressed people of the Gambia is for them to UNCONDITIONALLY withdraw their presidential candidatures in order to make it easier for the remaining three parties to come together to form a coalition. The very presence of their names on that IEC list is pure hindrance and a big obstacle to the coalition efforts. They should therefore follow the footsteps of OJ Jallow and Sheikh Seedia Bayo and immediately announce their unconditional withdrawal from the presidential race thereby reducing the congestion and the mess in which our opposition parties are in at the moment. The logic here is very simple, it is very much easier for three people to reach an agreement on a complex political issue such as coalition formation than nine people.
In conclusion, my believe is that there would be no coalition based on my judgement of the current state of affairs of our opposition parties. However, if the group of S5 immediately withdraw their respective candidatures, then there will be a 50% chance of a coalition. The other 50% obstacle will be the subject of my next blog God willing. Until then, long live the Republic of the Gambia and her beautiful people!!!!
Posted on August 9, 2016