By Deyda Haidara
‘In truth, UDP [United Democratic Party] is a party that can pull the crowds and the masses’
Pictures speak louder than words.
I have not seen a video showing a public meeting of the PDOIS [People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism] on the net.
I have not seen a video showing a public meeting of the NRP [National Reconciliation Party] on the net. The winning of Saloum by-election is not a countrywide indication of mass support.
The PPP [People’s Progressive Party] held one meeting in Brikama in the 21 years of tyranny, but the attendance was low.
Do these parties have a strong militancy base that they can show to us on the net?
We have so far seen several videos and pictures of UDP meetings over the years and one video of UDP/PPP at a joint Brikama rally in 2014. We can safely say the UDP have strong followers in the Gambia as seen in their pictures and videos. As the saying goes “seeing is believing”.
Since the GRTS will not air the meetings of the opposition parties in the Gambia, it behooves on the NRP, PPP and PDOIS to post their pictures and videos of their meetings and gatherings on the net so that the electorate, the diaspora Gambian and the International community can appreciate their local representation and importance in the country. We are yet to know if they have openly committed militants behind them who attend their meetings besides their known Executives?
On Electoral Reforms, we note the following:
We know that six opposition parties have signed a joint statement on the electoral reforms needed for the 2016 elections. We therefore cannot understand why the CCG [Coalition for Change Gambia], the PPP and the NRP deviate from the original agreed electoral reform proposals and issue a press release that is far short of the agreed original document. We know the CCG secured funding from an independent source to organize the New York conference in which the UDP and PDOIS did not attend. We know for a fact the monies used did not come from the pockets of the members of the CCG and that the name of the Gambia was used to secure the funds. If such is the case it would have more effective to organize the conference in Senegal, this would have accorded many more Gambians to drive to Dakar to attend the conference which could have been freely covered by the Senegalese media as done for Guinee Conakry to cover their ongoing elections.
Finally my advice is no organization or party should deviate from the agreed electoral reforms signed by all the opposition parties and synergies be put forward to propagate this consensual document to the ECOWAS, the AU and the UN as well as the International organizations. Unless we follow a common strategy and unity of purpose around the agreed signed document, we will not be taken seriously by the International community and would not exert any influence or pressure for change of electoral laws by the Jammeh administration.
There is nothing the world doesn’t know about Jammeh. International Human Rights organizations have written extensively on Jammeh’s abusive right records, that chapter should now close and a new chapter open to provide and propose tangible solutions in removing Jammeh from office.
I therefore, commend the UDP for rallying the populace during their countrywide caravan tour, the Tour of LRR, and the many rallies in Kombos. I hope other opposition parties engage the electorate in mass gatherings to energize the public and make them ready for elections.