Partly due to his threats of genocide and promise of hell against the majority of Gambians, I am convinced that less than 30% of Gambians will vote for Jammeh in Dec. Therefore, anyone of our opposition candidates who contest alone against Jammeh will certainly win irrespective of gender, education, popularity, tribe or charisma. The candidate does not even have to campaign because Jammeh has already done enough anti-campaigning for Gambians to boot him out of office. Even if Kitabu the comedian is nominated as a flag-bearer, he will defeat Jammeh with a landslide.
However, while Jammeh’s defeat is quite inevitable, the difficult and challenging part of the political equation is for Jammeh to hand-over power peacefully without turning our beautiful country into another Libya or Gabon. Based on this perspective, I will use a simple and direct analogy to explain my reason for saying that the UDP must not lead a coalition (if there will ever be one) for our Dec polls.
The situation of The Gambia is like a ship that is seized by a pirate (Jammeh) who is heavily armed with different types of weapons (the country’s security services and judiciary) with which he has been using and is still using to harm a lot of people in the ship.
Now an opportunity (election) has come for only one person to come forward to take-over the power from the pirate and to stop the carnage. But knowing full well that Jammeh is highly paranoid and seriously worried about vengeance/retribution for his atrocities, is it strategic and wise to nominate a candidate/party which has been a direct victim of Jammeh’s impunity?
It is common knowledge that apart from the security forces, the group of people who are the worst victims of Jammeh’s atrocities are the members of the UDP. In this regard therefore, can anyone imagine Jammeh conceding defeat and handing over the command and control of the armed and security services to the UDP after all the heinous abuses/violations he recently perpetrated against the UDP leadership and its members? My bet is that Jammeh would prefer to go like Ghadaffi, Campaore or Gbagbo than to hand over the keys to the barracks, police stations, NIA and Mile II to Adama Barrow
My fellow compatriots, ladies and gentlemen. Please let us stop deceiving ourselves and let us face the reality at least for once in order to get rid of Jammeh. We are dealing with a brutal leader and our country is not in a state of normal democracy. As a result, we must also be flexible and willing to deviate from conventional factors such as party size, political experience, educational background, popularity or charisma when choosing a flag-bearer.
Considering the precarious situation in which we are in, my opinion is that the most important factor to consider in choosing a flag-bearer is the preservation of the peace and stability of our country. Simply put, the safeguarding of the lives and property of our people is more important than the political ambitions, ideologies and manifestos of all our opposition parties/leaders combined. For most of us, to have a peaceful transition of power is our biggest concern and aspiration.
From a security point of view therefore, Mama Kandeh is the safest and the best candidate to run solo against Jammeh in Dec. This is mostly because Kandeh has no record of impunity or violence perpetrated against him by Jammeh or the system and therefore he has no grudges, hard feelings or any motive of personal vendetta against anyone. He therefore poses no threat whatsoever to the personal safety of Jammeh or anyone else and therefore I see no reason why Jammeh would hesitate to hand-over power to him..
And to add icing to the cake, Mama Kandeh is highly electable, humble, eloquent, and charismatic. And to cap it all, Kandeh has demonstrated his capability to pull massive crowds as well as the ability to win the hearts and minds of the APRC support base including our security personnel. If we are really true to our quest for peace and stability in our beautiful country, then we should all accept, endorse and support Kandeh to lead us safely into the Third Republic
Before I conclude, I would like to clarify that my contributions to our political discourse is born out of a genuine desire for peace and stability in our beloved country. It is not based on any affiliation/loyalty to to any party, individual, group or organization. I have seen at firsthand the devastating effects of violent conflicts in six different African countries while directly participating in the peace efforts of three of them. My abhorrence of violence and bloodshed is the driving force of my blogging. Our country must never experience the horrors of violent conflict.
Long live the Republic of The Gambia, long live our peace, stability and harmonious co-existence.
September 8, 2016