The Contending Positions For Opposition Unity


Gambian opposition at last speaking the same language. Is that a clear that opposition leaders are ready to put aside their differences and unite for a common purpose?
Gambian opposition leaders must this time around throw away their differences and unite. It is the battle for survival this time.

It Is Another Election Year And The Wailing By Schist Confucianist Are At It Again

While the country’s opposition political parties were said to be locked in closed door negotiations to chart out a way forward after four years of an ineffective boycott campaign, Gambia’s one-man ruler Yahya Jammeh slapped them with a nasty surprise. Government announced the introduction of a bill that sought to bring amendments to section 105 of the Principal Electoral Act increasing the registration fee for political parties from D5000 to one Million dalasis, introducing a non-refundable nomination fee for presidential candidates and required minimum membership numbers from 500 to 5000.

After two adjournments and a slight watering down of the proposed terms, reducing the nomination fee of presidential candidates from the initially proposed one million to half, the National Assembly passed the bill on the 7th July 2015 and assented to by the president on the 20th of July 2015.

But even after its becoming into law there was no official indication of the authority’s intent to enforce the law making many distressed opposition politicians thinking it was a sign of hesitancy constituency by-election on the 6th of August 2015 and the widespread welcome it received from across the country must have turned the mercurial Gambian leader’s sour frustration into brooding vengeance, and thus followed the announcement of a deadline for the enforcement of the new law.

For fourteen years now the Gambian political opposition have been talking of “opposition alliance” without being able forge out one. Aware of this, some concern citizens, after the passing of the amendment bill, have thrown out proposals calling on opposition parties to voluntarily dissolve, choose an independent candidate from among themselves, or from outside with commitment to stay in power in a transitional government only saddled with a single programmatic goal of abolishing the Second Republic, paving the way for a new Third Republic.

Others are of the view that other parties should join the bigger party in a coalition/alliance and contest elections to remove the incumbent. Such a government will review the constitution, reform the electoral process, restore civil liberties and other major reforms to create a level playing field. At the end of one  year, that government would have to resign and an interim government set up just to conduct new general elections in which for all parties to partake.

But despite the lack of a realistic option to this realistic and formidable proposals the leaders of the six or seven political parties have not still come out with any collective position.
For his part, Mr.  Mai Ahmad Fatty of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) is not ready to go for elections without Reform. On taking part in the coming 2016 chain of elections, Fatty argued “without comprehensive electoral reforms, it will constitute a conspiracy to entrench tyranny by going for elections. We are for elections, but not on the back of the voters.  If we have to unite, it must be on achieving reforms before elections,” he wrote in a statement widely circulated via social media.

He added: “Jammeh cannot circumvent a united opposition demand for reforms, if we require definite consequences and act on it. Any opposition campaign should be on preparing the nation for a show-down on reforms. That is why our policy remains empowering the opposition’s ability to enforce its demands, not canvassing for votes at this stage. First things first, for those who have opposition priorities blurred. Don’t grant a dying regime a new lease of life by campaigning for 2016 on a more constricted platter. Jammeh disclosed the totality of his mind through the recent Elections (amendments) Act 2015. It’s going to be brutal and nasty. Yes, indeed, a united opposition, enforcing its demands, will stop Jammeh in his tracks before 2016 elections. Our challenge has been the inability to enforce our demands – our priority must be building the political will and capacity to enforce our demands for change.”Mai Fatty wrote.

But what has transpired since 2012 when the Group Of Six launched its boycott campaign, the government did not respond to their demand. Jammeh did not feel the need of circumventing the opposition, he simply tried to ignore them, ignore them out of existence.
On the other hand Mr. Hamat Bah, leader of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP), has expressed his resolve to take part in 2016 elections, and ruled out a possible election boycott by his party. Bah added that “As far as we are concerned, the issue of boycotting is not on our table.”

He added: “We strongly believe that by boycotting elections, we are strengthening the incumbent. The only way to get rid of this regime is to challenge President Jammeh in elections.”  Though he said he agrees with other opposition parties on the need for electoral reforms, taking part in elections “will help to strengthen our position and the issue of governance in the country.”

Bah’s party was the only opposition party to participate in the last legislative elections, winning a single seat, after  winning the Lower Saloum by-election, the party now has two seats, making it less reluctant to join any boycott of elections.

If the UDP joins a boycott of the coming presidential election, Bah would have his biggest chance ever of winning.

As for PDOIS, on the 29th August 2015 The Central Committee of PDOIS issued a statement as a public response to a letter from Alhagie Mustapha L Carayol, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, dated 19th August urging the organization to start the process of “regularizing” its status before end of March 2016. A similar letter was also sent to all the other parties, we assume but certainly it has been publicized through notices on various media houses.

PDOIS response, penned by its leader, included the following excerpts: “PDOIS will not be distracted. It has been building its grassroots base and branches in villages, districts, constituencies and regions before any amendment Act was envisaged. We are now consolidating those branches and the membership. We have held a Congress in May 2015 while the ruling party has been postponing its congress even though it has more resources at its disposal.

The Congress adopted an enhanced version of the party Constitution and Manifesto which are now being edited for publication and mass circulation by the end of September. Our Central Committee is enlarged to include regional representation based on Gender parity. Hence there is more than 33 percent gender parity and youth representation in all party Committees or decision making bodies.

We have held successful rallies and tours and will continue to intensify them to mobilise the people by their tens of thousands for democratic change. We will educate them to know that law making is based on borrowed power while power to employ law makers is owned by the people. Hence when people are dissatisfied with laws they should not become apathetic and surrender power to those who would abuse power of representation but should in fact become more resolved to replace those law makers who breach their trust with others who would obey their dictates. The wages of making bad laws is to vacate one’s seat. Impunity should not pay dividend. It should come with a heavy price that no one would wish to pay. That is the way to end it.”

We are on course to open up the list of Candidature and hold a primary to select our presidential Candidate before the end of the year. We would not be distracted in promoting the candidature of the choice of our members and advocate for electoral reform in collaboration with all other stakeholders. We would hold a Congress at the end of February 2016 to review all developments on the political landscape and come up with a resolution on the way forward for PDOIS and the country. PDOIS Halifa Sallah wrote.

As for the UDP in a press statement dated on the 9th of July 2015 wrote “The amendments to the Election Act endorsed by the National Assembly are a clear manifestation of the Jammeh regime’s desire to truncate democracy in The Gambia.  The majority party in the National Assembly has done what it is known for… blindly endorsing any piece of legislation that comes before it from the executive without properly weighing the consequences.  On July 7th, 2015, the National Assembly in a deliberate attempt to thwart the democratic process in The Gambia passed the elections [Amendment] Bill 2015 with which now increases the deposits for different elective offices up to 900%.

The amendment imposes an obligation on political parties to present audited accounts to Independent Electoral Commission annually.  These new provisions would have been justified if political parties enjoy funding from government.  Several years ago, Bishop Tilewa Johnson as chairman of the IEC proposed the establishment of a democracy fund into which all parties could tap for funding; the APRC NAMs killed the proposal.  There is no justification for the IEC or any other institution to insist on been provided with audited accounts in order to determine how funds provided by individuals are spent.

The passage of this Bill is a betrayal of trust and confidence reposed on the members of the National Assembly by their constituents. From now on, contesting for elective office will be determined by the wealth one is able to accumulate to satisfy the onerous financial conditions introduced by the amendment. This effectively restricts the democratic space by reserving participation in elections for only those with financial means to run for public office.

The election decree 1996 now Elections Act 1996 provided for registration of political parties at no fee.  An outrageous provision introduced by the amendment requires a new political party to pay a registration fee of one million (D1, 000,000.00).  In contrast, you will hardly find a business/commercial entity that is required to pay the same amount as registration fee.  This unprecedented move by the executive which is using the name of IEC in its anti-democracy drive runs contrary to the provision of the constitution that guarantees freedom of association

This amendment constitutes an assault on our democracy. The UDP believes that participating in politics or contesting elections ought to be seen as opting for public service with the sacrifice that comes with it  and NOT a “profit generating” commercial/business venture

The UDP calls on the president not to assent to the bill passed by the National Assembly if he still believes statements he made on 22nd July, 1994 as the reasons he gave for the overthrow of the Jawara regime” UDP Ousainou Darboe wrote.

But apparently still stunned by the amendment law and without any fresh ideas of how to fight the said Bill, the country’s opposition leadership appears to be going on separate ways   acting as if the bill could be ignored.

But can the bill be simply ignored?  The IEC’s  announcement of March 31st deadline should be enough notice that Jammeh’s determination to institute an unhindered perpetuation of his autocratic rule is sure for real.

So much display of commitment to principles, of democracy and courage, but so little sense of empathy by some of our political leaders and none for each other and the lot of other compatriots! What other compatriots certainly would want to know how far they would go in joining efforts with each other, groups of individuals and other Gambians to put an end to the Jammeh menace.

Now let’s look at the argument for Independent option and the party led alliance/coalition.

Those in favour of the independent option believe that, opening up a list of candidates at this material time is assuming out the possibility of a single, all-party, all-embracing, non-partisan, transitional presidential candidate standing on the behalf of all Gambians for a Third Republic, the hope of all true Gambians. Under the current electoral procedures, now being the legally processed an established dispensation, politicians and citizens are more obliged by the question of recovering the right for citizens.

The call for electoral reforms is now redundant and anachronistic particularly given the new laws which aims to extinguish the opposition parties themselves. Those proposing The Independent route as the only workable alternative is not new. It has been said over and over again even on the pages of Kaironews and other online publications. Those supporting this option, belief that the parties ought to voluntarily let themselves be de-registered come March 31st 2016, all the executive or central committee members  of the parties then constituted into one informal body responsible for identifying a suitable independent presidential candidate and managing his or her electoral campaign.

With such a proposal on the table the masses of citizens wield some leverage in that they can ignore the opposition parties and their leaders and substitute them with a non-partisan umbrella organization of civil societies, religious organizations, youth and women groups, individual citizens, Diaspora groups, etc, etc, until after victory is achieved when the parties can be re-registered.

Those in favour of party led alliance/coalition opined that; in an ideal environment and with the constitutional electoral requirement where second round of voting is part of the electoral laws. Party led coalition take shape after the first rounds of result are announced. The rationale follows on all other opposition parties that fell short in result back or abstain from the electoral process and allow the second best winner in the polls to contest the elections against the incumbent. The Gambia’s current electoral system is framed in such way, it takes the principles of “first past the post and a simple majority vote rule” as a criteria in one being declared the winner in the election circle.

The party led coalition premised by the largest opposition party leading and provide a presidential candidate, thereby bringing together other parties to strengthen it and provide synergy and joint policy framework that will provide the template for an interim government. The argument further support that, a strong MoU between all parties will be tabled, this will initiate much needed democratic reforms and define the methods to utilise in enhancing capacity among the opposition parties, accommodate the policy from others and shape the outlook of anticipated government in waiting.

Steadfastness is not always righteousness. To be able to make sure of doing the right true political leaders must, even when not obliged, often rethink their stance and consider the viewpoints of others.

Knowing the different parties and their respective leaderships, there may be some resistance to accept the most realistic proposal, but in the long run all depends on us citizens as no foreign power can help us face this challenge. Talks of “intensifying diplomatic initiative in the sub-region, Africa, US and Europe to promote international support for electoral reform or support from neighbouring Senegal or its civil society organizations” are mere distractions. Relying on each other as concerned Gambians is what those foreigners expect from us, not relying on them.

As it is, the opposition parties are united with one voice over one thing: let citizens register and get their voters’ cards to participate in elections. However, a few Schist Confusionists in the diaspora who themselves are not united, are doing everything to thwart the efforts already gathering steam for Gambians to register for an electoral showdown with the dictatorship.

Let us examine the independent option and the party led coalition/alliance and see what is more realistic under the current political dispensation in our dear country. Let us debate with the aim of finally coming together to take back our nation. Let us debate with respect and harmony if we at to get anywhere. Join the debate and contribute to shaping your own destiny!!!!!




  1. Editorial? Commentary, opinion and/or author? Source of ideals and information unknown?

  2. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Who is the author of this article or is it just an editorial??

  3. Is it not time to dire a new approach –to break away from the notion of “business as usual”. We cannot keep on trying to fix the un-fixable – we have to start anew.
    Interesting article outlines most of the huddles infore the coming election. It asks many important questions. What is the use of contesting an election if the expected result is an open secret? How can one conduct a fair and free election in a political environment that has no regard for the rights of the electorate? The centrality of electoral reforms is the key to any meaningful change or transition in the present political circumstance.

    Going by the article, the only logical and morally defendable option is not to partake in the election. This is the only option left for the electorate to independently manifest his/her power and maintain his/her dignity. The only effective weapon is to withhold one’s personal mandate, your vote, which gives the election legitimacy. Without which the system collapses and new questions raised.

  4. They should make it clear that there will be no election without reform…I.don’t mean a boycott..I mean, “NO ELECTION” and if his term expires without election, then the next demand should be “step down”…There must never be elections under such unconstitutional terms…

    The half a million Dalasi fee contravenes the constitution because it makes elective office beyond the reach of many…

  5. The lasting imprint of an autocratic rule anywhere is the inevitable seed of mistrust sowed -particularly within the elites of the land. This phenomenon is old and the Gambia is not an exception.

    Bearing that in mind, the contending positions for Opposition unity, in my view, is not a weakness but a logical cumulation of efforts to effect change. We have many poles notwithstanding in no way excluding each other.
    – let’s support part of the diversity especially those on the ground, who believe that change is possible come Dec 2016. Enjoin them to facilitate readiness e.g flagbearer selection, fundraising logistics etc. Encourage them to fashion out a coalition best achievable in the limited time available but most importantly avoid tearing each other apart in that pursuit. A non coalition is still an option provided we avoid the trap of badmouthing each other.

    – Those who look beyond Dec 2016, continue the struggle with or without change in Dec 2016. The goal can be and must be fought at different incremental stages. Ultimate goal of course being ensuring that what led to this mess is transcended once and for all.

  6. Bax , remember that we have disunity among the opposition parties . PDOIS and NRP do not consider Jammeh as a dictator . This is why they never called him a dictator . It is UDP, GMC and PPP parties which consider Jammeh and his government a dictatorship . These people cannot even agree on boycott , have courage or any strategy to challenge Jammeh either through electoral process , meet their demands of simple electoral reforms or confrontational approach on any issue . Calling on Jammeh to step down has to go to with demonstration or confrontational approach , if not such calls become useless pronouncement because Jammeh will never listen to such calls. You have indicated that you do not support any confrontation or demonstration , then why should you embark on useless pronouncement for him to step down when you know that he will never listen to you ?
    First of all , your party and NRP has to recognize that we have military dictatorship in our country before they can engage in any meaningful strategy to uproot this regime . As I told you before , if UDP and PPP has right partnerships who speak the same language as they do , Jammeh and his barbarian regime will be history .

    • You are at it again with malicious vile slanders against PDOIS and NRP (especially PDOIS)!

      Shame on you on your selfish partisanship agenda, divisiveness or divisive tactics and continuing to sow seeds of discord always at crucial times!

      • Julaba , it is shameful and disgraceful to call the truth as divisiveness . What is more divisive and hypocritical than those who refused to call a spade a spade and hypocritically pretend that there is nothing fundamentally wrong in our political system especially difference among those who are leading these parties . Every geniune and political conscious Gambians knows that there is fundamental difference in the way our current political leaders see this regime . PDOIS and NRP has never called this regime a dictatorship . Can you provide any written evidence where PDOIS has ever call Yaya Jammeh , a dictator or has referred to his regime as dictatorship which every one knows he is ? In almost all UDP , PPP and GMC messages they have categorically consider Yaya Jammeh as a dictator and his government ,a dictatorship . I challenge any one to provide evidence where these two parties has stated that Yaya Jammeh is a dictator . Looking at our country today , our political failures result from political correctness and inability to speak truth to the leadership whether those leaders are in APRC or the opposition . I don’t blame you because in The Gambia , it is culturally acceptable to attacking those who speak the truth and this why today very few Gambians are speaking the truth to power despite horrific human rights abuses and deteriorating economic condition . In my above posting , can you identify a single statement which is not factual correct or is to create division among these parties . I do have every right to state my view on the difference between these parties in terms of messaging and I am sure those who are political conscious and are fair will make their own judgement whether I am right in my view . Go and read every single press release From UDP, PPP and GMC and compare it to press release or countless letters from PDOIS or NRP to see which political parties did consider Jammeh , a dictator . If you are honest in your assessment that my views are based on narrow partisan agenda , can you provide that assessment to readership and which party I support or affiliate with since I mentioned three others parties ? Are you suggesting that I belong to all the three parties ( UDP , PPP and GMC) based on my posting . If you can’t provide such assessments , then your criticism can be seen as baseless and malicious . I hope you provide your evidence .
        How can we solve our problem if we refuse to acknowledge that we have fundamental differences among our political parties messages , communication and approach and the way they see current military dictatorship ? Since day one I have always consider this regime , military dictatorship , the term I stole from my political conscious grandma because she very much predicted about Gambians’ current situation .

        • Sorry with your baseless false allegations, ludicrous fabrications, incoherent arguments and long pointless ramblings!

          • Dawda , you have been missing here for a while and you came back to join untruthful alliance with your fellow indoctrinated disciples to hijack the truth . Those who are familiar with this forum knows that you are part of those PDOIS disciples who use your myopic partisan , egocentric , self righteous and bigotry tactics in your refusal to accept the reality and true political status of PDOIS party , which has been rejected and repudiated by Gambian electorates for the past 4 decades . Instead of Fair assessment to my statements regarding the differences between these political parties in terms of their approaches , how they see this regime whether it is dictatorship or not , their communication or messaging , you embarked on your diatribe and blind support to your fellow disciples as if you are brain dead or your neurons are incapacitated . I expect you to use your neurons and synapses so that effective communication can exist between them which will enable you to reason with sense to differentiate the positions , approaches and communications strategies of these parties in dealing with dictatorial regime in Banjul . As I said before I am in for common sense practical solution whether that is party led coalition or independent candidate whatever is feasible and achievable . I believe that UDP party led option is the most sensible , practical and feasible approach to salvage the country from military dictatorship because UDP has the largest support based among the electorates , better logistic and structures throughout the country . This is not say that if there is an Independent candidate who has total support of not only opposition parties but also civil societies groups , effective religious groups and unions , the independent candidate won’t do much better. In The Gambia , there is virtually non existence of such civil organizations. Our main hopes in the country now are the opposition parties and UDP is the only party which has more Influences than the rest . If we have effective civil Societies , religious groups and unions then these organizations will have more influences than UDP because their organizations will have influence on UDP to compromise or they risk being isolated among opposition parties . You need to look at the country holistically in your assessment , for you to come up with accurate diagnosis so that effective intervention can be taken to rescue the country . It is like simple triage during which you give greatest consideration to those whose lives you can save first then later check on the expire or death ones . Therefore in solving our current political problems , we need to take off partisan hearing aids , hats and eye glasses and look at the country holistically with an open mind to find best solution which can help us to surgically remove the tumor before it is too late . This cancer has metastasized to every fabric of society which has to be removed by collective efforts , lead by selfless individual who inspire , motivate and lead the population .

        • We know what this front (UDP-PPP-GMC) represent in your militancy propaganda and divisive tactics? Allied sacred cows?

    • Max….Its your choice to agree with UDP’s language of business, but don’t use that as a standard that every body must conform with..

      I am at loss to see how calling Jammeh a dictator (thousands do anyway) will achieve any changes…

      As for confrontation and/ demonstration, I have made my views very clear to you, but it seems I’m talking to a wall…

      I am not against the democratic process and whatever it entails….What I don’t support is asking the oppoaition to abandon the democratic process and hit the streets ala Arab style…

      I have even made it clear to you that I will respect whatever choice the opposition prefers, but will not redicule because I will not be part of any such actions…..

      It view that any violence unleashed on those who pursue the democratic process will be blamed on the regime…

      But when you abandon the law and engage in lawlessness, then you loose the protection of the law completely and that’s why I don’t support that approach…

      • Bax , in anything you do , communication or language matters a lot . It is through language that people understand your position . Your call for Jammeh to step down can only be achieved when everyone Speak the same language but NRP and PDOIS speak language which Is different from PPP , UDP and gmc , do you think there would be any achievement in such situation ? This is why I said your party and NRP needs to acknowledge and recognize that we have military dictatorship in our country . So what is the point for you to call for Jammeh to step down when you know he is never going to listen to you or anyone ? I think such call is just futile .
        Bax , There is lawlessness in our country . We have unjust laws in our country which violates every moral values of decent human beings . Anywhere in the world , people protest or demonstrate against unjust laws which violates their fundamental and human rights . What protection are you talking about when you have gross human rights violations in the country with total impunity . What protection are you talking about when you have state-sponsored terrorism , corruption , and mismanagement . What protection are you talking about when you have our constitution being violated every single day with complete disregard and impunity ? What protection are you talking about when the ordinary citizens are not free to speak their mind or there is no freedom of speech or association in the country ?

        • Max….Do you have to be a thief to solve the problem of stealing..? It is these violations and rule of impunity that we want to eradicate…Do we have to resort to impunity and lawlessness to achieve this. .? May be for you, but not for me…

          Yero Ba did ask you to provide examples of the achievements of the changed strategies to date, but you are still silent on that…Could you tell us what these are….How would calling Jammeh a “dictator” bring changes..?

          • Bax , the problem pdois has is communication problem and this is why for 4 decades nobody understand what you even stand for . The mere fact your leadership didn’t seem to understand that there are obstacles which hinder citizens to exercise their sovereign rights tell a lot about your party leadership . Yero Ba is an extreme element of your party and he will never see any new strategy by UDP because he made an outlandish claims that PDOIS is the biggest and fastest growing party in The Gambia . Yero is not a credible commentator , he lacks tolerance and is indoctrinated to the extend that he lack independent thinking . The fact that he can make such a bold face lie about the support base of PDOIS and never come back to rectify himself , tell me he is part of fringe element of the party . I hope he stop listening to his source .
            You are just a chameleon who changes color as weather changes because sometimes you are very sympathetic to jammeh and APRC officials and other times you speak like Maxs . So I don’t truly know your position and you might even be a mole. If communication doesn’t matter to you , it does matter to Gambian people who are listening to various politicians . You need to tell the readership why PDOIS cannot even get 6 percent of the votes after 40 years in politics ? Another observation is that you guys always assume that you are right about everything and this is why sometime you will present a Thesis to make your case , half way reading that thesis , people lost interest and quit . Bax in all honesty , PDOIS needs new brains and Energy who will bring about better communication strategy . The failure to call jammeh who he is , is all part of communication failure . The party leadership needs outsiders to investigate their failures and make recommendations .

          • Max…..

            After your lengthy rant against PDOIS and Yero Ba, can you now tell us the achievements that this change of strategy has so far achieved…?

            Of course, communication is important and when we consult the facts, we discover that, rather than being misunderstood, the PDOIS message was very well received when we compare the two election periods of 1996 & 2001, when no alliances were formed…

            Whilst the PDOIS Presidential candidate polled about 2.8% of the votes in 1996, their share of votes increased to 3.0% in 2001…

            The UDP share of votes, on the other hand, dropped from about 35.8% in 1996, to around 32.6% in 2001..

            So when we rely on.facts, rather than our imagination and prejudices or bias, we can say that the PDOIS communication strategy was very effective because it earned them an.improved share of the votes in.2001..

            It is evident who is actually engaged in distortions, falsifications and malicious propaganda, which is being noticed by more and more people here…Thank God for that…

          • Bax, why would UDP or NRP get more votes than PDOIS in all the elections if PDOIS has effective communication strategy and secondly what is the effect of their longevity in Gambian politics in that regard if they are behind all the political parties in terms of votes received during elections? Please please answer this question.
            As for those who engage in malicious tactics, refused to accept the truth and engage in false propaganda, I think fair minded people knows that you guys are just indoctrinated disciples. It is you, Yero Ba, kamalo and lately unknown Julaba who refused to accept the reality and truth about PDOIS status in Gambian politics. If kaironews conduct polling on this topic, you will know that you are indeed a minority who are out there to hijack the truth from the majority just like jammeh and his criminal minority have hijacked the truth in our country and majority are suffering. To further analyze your 3% support based, don’t you think that is repudiation on the part of Gambian people about the policies and political ideology of PDOIS after 40 years in politics?

          • Bax, Change in strategy has helped UDP today to crisscross the length and breath of country. They stood their ground when corrupt police force threaten to Curtail their freedom of movement and political rights. In the past they were denied permits to hold their meeting just like NRP were denied permit to hold their meeting (at least they are the second biggest opposition party) but PDOIS has never been denied any permit to my knowledge. Can you provide the reason why they have never been deny a permit to hold their meeting or rally? Is it because they don’t pose any threat to Jammeh’s military dictatorship ? UDP has paid heavy price for this permit denials because of one year imprisonment of femi peters and progress the party should have made in the past.
            The effects of such defiance has motivated and inspire thousands of citizens to attend rally across the country. That defiance has change my calculation and I began to realize that they are the force to be reckon with in terms of removing our country from crutches of dictatorship through political means. They have openly chastise and mock the tyrant that despite his weapons, the Gambian people are more powerful. The fear factor has significantly reduced and this is why today on the front pages of kaironews you can see patriotic citizens expressing their political rights. Since that defiance, every weekend UDP embarks on political meeting to enlighten Gambian people about gross human rights violations and deteriorating economic conditions. They are the only opposition party which has the support and Influences to do that in the country and I think every right thinking Gambian who understand current political situation should give them the support and encouragement because they are better than all the alternatives we have in the country. This is not say that other oppositions are worst because they are all better than military dictatorship we have in place.

          • Why is PDOIS receiving less votes than UDP & NRP..? That’s not the point and is in fact, an illogical response to the points I made….

            The logical response would have been to show why PDOIS’ improved share of votes in 2001 is not due to communication but something else…

            But you have, instead, decided the “red herring” tactic and asked why is PDOIS receiving less votes than UDP and NRP..?

            If you are the informed analyst you claim to be, you will know that political support and party loyalty is not dependent on the “message” of a politician or political party for a vast majority of people…

            It’s not uncommon to.hear voters saying that PDOIS speaks the truth (because they understand the message) but that their loyalty is with X,Y or Z politician or party..

            PDOIS has been trying to change that but unfortunately, it’s not been helped by all the other actors in the political arena…It’s their refusal to “play the game” that is affecting their votes but that is the reason they came into politics, in the first play : TO OFFER THE VOTERS A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE TO POLITICS AND VOTING..

          • What is the effect of PDOIS’ politics…? Go to rural Gambia where PDOIS is active and you will see the effect of PDOIS politics….

            Villagers, who used to be “good” only for singing, clapping and dancing for passing-by politicians, and who have never sat in any formal education classrooms, now demonstrate the kind of political awareness that any university professor will be proud of… That’s a massive achievement.

            The products of Nyakoi school are every parents envy…PDOIS, I believe, is the first opposition political party and perhaps, the only party, that combines public service provision with politics…

            We might be indoctrinated, but at least, we don’t engage in malicious and false propaganda, but when you claim that PDOIS support base is the elite educated Gambians who believe in Soviet era politics, you are guilty of falsehood and malicious propaganda…

            @Max (“….but PDOIS has never been denied any permit to my knowledge…..)

            If you had stopped here, I would have said, “Fair enough”, it’s… “to your knowledge” and unless you claim otherwise, I would assume that your knowledge of PDOIS, especially with regard to Police Permits, is very limited..

            “Can you provide the reason why they have never been deny a permit to hold their meeting or rally?”

            Your question above, however, does give the impression that you are absolutely certain that PDOIS has never been denied a permit to hold their meeting or rally…So, let’s get this straight : are you saying that you are absolutely certain (100%) that PDOIS has never had permit issues with the Police.?

          • @Max…” They have openly chastise and mock the tyrant that despite his weapons, the Gambian people are more powerful….”

            I don’t know about “mocking” and “chastising”, but when it comes to sovereignty and where power lies in a sovereign republic, all honest and truthful observers will agree that there is no party that does it better than PDOIS…

            “The fear factor has significantly reduced and this is why today on the front pages of kaironews you can see patriotic citizens expressing their political rights…”

            So you attribute this reduced fear environment to the UDP alone, right..? That’s your prerogative but don’t expect everyone to buy that….

            “Since that defiance, every weekend UDP embarks on political meeting to enlighten Gambian people about gross human rights violations and deteriorating economic conditions…”

            May be the frequency of tours and the decision to go ahead without a permit have changed, but the UDP has done all you mentioned, as achievements, from the day they emerged on.the political scene…You might say that with age and time, they have watered down their tone a bit…

            Max, I was at the inaugural meeting of the UDP in Brikama and believe me, I think the UDP has softened a bit…

            But again, every party deals with these things that you are pointing as achievements of UDP, but in their own ways…Infact, PDOIS does it better than all because they are never just content with criticism alone, but provide alternatives….

            Whether it’s on rule of law or job/wealth creation or agriculture, PDOIS is.the only party that goes beyond criticism to offer the electorate their (scrutiniseable) alternative to what they are opposing…

            I was thinking in terms of how this new strategy has changed the behaviour of the dictatorship (not the UDP or the citizenry) because after all, that was the discussion…

          • Bax, I know you will never agree to any point which is not to your advantage . Did PDOIS has ever been deny a police permit by this regime ? If not , why ?
            The change in behavior or perception of citizens is what will change our current situation . The dictator has only one objective which is to remain in power , it is therefore wrong for you to assume that UDP change of strategy should be meant to change the behavior of the dictator only . When people are not fearful and recognize that the tyrant is in power for his selfish interest , they can change their own condition . Removing the fear factor is a form of empowerment so that people will be in charge of their own destiny but in this case since it is UDP who are empowering the citizens by removing the fear factor and stood their ground , you have indicated that the effects of such change of strategy should be about the behavioral change of the dictator . Don’t you understand that when people perception are change and they become aware that dictatorship only survive on fear , intimidation , division and harassment, they can change their own situation ? Or do you want to engage in pointless argument and self contradiction since it is UDP ? Remember that it is you and your fellow disciples who always emphasize that PDOIS engage in political awareness . What is more important than defiance to the tyrant ? In any political struggle , nonviolent means such as defiance to unjust laws in the form of stand your ground, demonstrations , sit-in , boycott , and protest are all key strategies to help send clear message to oppressor . This was exactly what UDP did in defiance to corrupt police and their oppressor . This defiance has essentially benefited UDP and citizens most because it makes them to have courage , reduce fear , resilient and awareness . It has also send a loud and clear message to the tyrant which was why he back down and allowed the citizens to embark on their constitutional rights which is rights of political association . Did PDOIS party ever organize themselves at political level to show such a defiance to the corrupt and tyrannical leadership . I commend mr sallah for his personal defiance during the witch hunt which most patriotic citizens are proud of him . UDP has a party has done many defiances before since 1996 which resulted to lost of life , torture , intimidation and harassment . PDOIS party has never experience that to my knowledge, if you know please provide that information for readership . You need to learn more about political struggle which South Africans or black Americans has gone through so that you can have better understanding about the importance of nonviolent means . You can even learn a lesson from immediate neighbor sengal in their defiance to president wade , that defiance in the form of massive demonstration has resulted to lost of lives and properties but today Senegalese people are proud to have democratic government in place which we envy so much . You don’t believe in any nonviolent means except to write lengthy and unsummarised letters to the dear professor who will happily see such letter as a form of increasing his self esteem and self gratification which he never has since childhood. Psychologically , those lengthy letters help to serve the dear professor as emotional therapeutic intervention and to legitimize and reward his negative behaviors .

          • Hey Bax , the latest nonviolent strategy which UDP has called for is the boycott of all goods and services related to evil dictator’s business interest in the country. This is what those who are geniunely interested to see change in their society do. This was what Dr King and Nelson Mandela did, the greatest freedom fighters of all time. therefore, there are fundamental difference in the way our opposition parties sees this dictatorial regime. UDP is the only party so far which has demonstrated this both in their messages and actions. Please take your partisan hearing aids and glasses off for a minute to hear and see the differences.

          • Max….

            UDP had to stand their ground because they were faced with a situation that demanded it, and I am sure PDOIS would also stand their ground if faced with a similar situation…

            They have stood their ground at a time that was more difficult than now, when all politicians decided to go on “holiday”, whilst most citizens who were not with the coup makers, were cowed into silence by the Military Junta…

            You are asking me an impossible question, with regard to Police Permits, because I wouldn’t know..My knowledge of PDOIS’ day to day running is nil…So I wouldn’t know whether they ever had permit issues…

            You are the one that is giving the impression of certainty that they have NEVER been denied a permit….So the onus is on you to dispel any doubts ..

            Again, I am baffled why you would credit only the UDP for the diminishing fear environment, when other parties are also on the ground, fearlessly spreading their message, by exposing the regime’s failures, in one form or the other, and thus empowering the citizens…

            For example, PDOIS has rubbished “rice self sufficiency” claims by 2016, as a dream and wishful thinking that is not achieveable, soon as the claim was being made…And they’ve done this on paper, on radio and on polical platforms..

            PDOIS has also openly criticised bad laws, just like everyone else, and urged citizens who disagree with such bad laws to make their voices heard…

            Of course, all that means nothing to you, but UDP calling on citizens to boycott KGI (which is unlikely because KGI has a monopoly on basic commodities since Tajco’s problems ) is a great act of defiance for you…

            Well, like I always say to you Max, that is your right which no one should take, but you should stop using what one party is doing as the standard for all..That really exposes you…

            I will take my leave on this one now…

  7. The question is why now, when every second is worth a million times its weight in gold.

    My worry is time; there is no time to engage in any meaningful dialogue when the election is around the corner. We have had five years of no conclusive result to that effect. Secondly, if it were a new idea one could have invested some endurance to shuffle it out for better or worse. But there is nothing new about the Opposition parties wishing to dialogue, collude or find a common ground but for some reason never succeeded in coming up with something concrete.

    • Consequently, to act in a state of affairs that demand inaction would do more harm than good.

      The excitement of participating in election must not be more important than winning it. Therefore adopting the strategy of passivity in a chaotic political arena is more effective and dignifying.

      There is no meaningful dialogue that aims at reaching a common ground within the Gambia political discussion as we speak and no indication that there will be before election. In a disordered political system/arena of this nature the only reasonable action is passivity, not to take part. But being passive has to be a strategy to win more time to enable removing the huddles and getting better prepared.

    • 1. Why G6 is existing and there is no United Front?

      2. Why can’t a United Front be formed or what is hindering opposition front engaged in Coalition building as strategy and tactically for 2016 and beyond?

  8. Max & Julaba, if you read the article to the end, you would notice that the editor solicited decorum in expression of our views.

    We cannot overcome the mess in Gambia if we create likewise in this forum or any other gathering.
    Allow for mature exchange of opinion.

  9. Kinteh , what you need to understand is that decorum you are talking about , is known by everyone but if someone lied , they are intolerance to other’s view or are on mission to Falsify the truth , they needed to be told the truth . The only internet policeman in this forum is the editorial policy of kaironews and all the comments which appear on the comment sections pass that test. I hope you get that . No need to give advise to anyone . What is important in my view is to always find the truth In any statement being represented and be part of truth squad . It is part of democratic process for people to express their anger and frustration about group of citizens who have no interest to salvage our country but to highjack the truth . In Every “silly political season ” to borrow president Obama’s words , you have some citizens whose main goal to keep the status quo by creating untruthful alliance and continue to make outlandish claims while they refused to reveal the truth their subconscious mind is telling them . Political hypocrisy is ugly part of our politico-cultural traits which has contributed to so many atrocities , corruption , mismanagement and constitutional violations. Whatever is happening in this forum in terms of ” Marshallah ” , not telling truth to those who are wrong because we don’t want to offend them , or acting like everything is alright is exactly what is happening in the wider Gambian society .
    The only reason why we have so much mess in our country is because most people refused to accept the truth and refused to stand for what is morally right . We have to respectfully disagree as civilized people and no leader is above criticism . We can only find solution to our problem if only we are honest to ourselves and tell the truth to each other . How can we criticise Jammeh alone when he is created and enabled by the very people who are claiming to be fighting dictatorship . Don’t you know that even some opposition parties are to be partly blamed for entrenchment of dictatorship simply because they refused to join those who can make bigger differences to change our predicament . Why are we afraid to speak our mind about the elephant in the room which is disunited opposition parties . Some of these political parties have zero chance to win any election even in the smallest village in The Gambia but they continue to be an obstacles to remove the dictator from power . I do not have any party affiliation but I stand for common sense and practical solution to all national problem . I will always remain to be part of truth squad. After all I sit here and enjoy myself to the fullest just like some selfish Gambians whose parents steal from our national coffer are doing in USA but I love my country.

    • The problem with your “truth” though, is that it is subjective and has many shades of grey, but unfortunately, you can’t see none through your foggy “glasses”…. I have a spare pair should you want to borrow them..(lol)

      • Bax , if I wear your glasses I will go blind and will never see the truth . It will lead me to support Jammeh or be sympathetic to him and all his officials , may God forbid . I truly despise Jammeh’s policy , his regime and his personal conduct . I do know him very well, this is why I always consider him as worst human being to be born in our country but unfortunately the public didn’t know him well because he live a double life . This is food for thought for those who are smart . Bax , I pray that God give all of us long life and good health , then one day very very soon Gambian people will truly know that Yaya Jammeh is indeed a monster and historical trash who should have never been part of national history but everything in life happens for a reason . I think his presence and impact on our country history will be a significant lesson for generations come . We must not let this national crisis goes into a waste . Each citizen must ask a fundamental question ” what is my contribution to the current situation and what did I need to do to change the current political and economic trajectory ?”.

      • Thanks Bax. Instead of Max analysing the Editorial and referring to it’s substance and put in proper context certain statements from it, he maliciously jump to castigate selectively PDOIS and NRP.

        He is being challenge him (if he thinks he knew better than us dynamics at play with Gambian politics and position of opposition parties respectively) to corroborated or validated from Editorial his deceptive half-baked statements and cheap rhetoric?

  10. “Change in strategy has helped UDP today to crisscross the length and breath of country” Maxs, before UDP crisscross the country, PDOIS was all over the country sensitizing the people.Your mention of strategy has left me thinking that you something smart to help us change our collective situation. I am really surprised to know that you are talking about a simple strategy to allow your party to move about the country. No one dares to stop our party from reaching the people.
    You are alleging that PDOIS was never refused a permit. Again, PDOIS is different from the UDP. It does every calculation before engaging in anything. PDOIS has not been refused permits many times before because it does things exactly right which makes it very difficult for anybody to want to do otherwise but grant it the permit. PDOIS has also earned the confidence and trust of even the Civil servants as a party that knows what it is doing and therefore respect it for its message which does not have any desire to witch hunt any one. Even Jammeh will find it difficult to try it lest he be exposed for everyone to see. The PDOIS letters which you are down playing has multiple effects not only on the leadership but on the populace as well which compels Jammeh to know that he is on the wrong track and must quickly change cause to avoid embarrassment.

    • Yero said ” even Jammeh will find it difficult to try lest he be exposed for everyone to see. The PDOIS letters which you are down playing has multiple effects not only on the leadership but on the populace as well which compels Jammeh to know that he is on the wrong track and must quickly change to avoid embarrassment ” .

      Yero Ba , the above statement is bold face lie which earned you as the most dishonest commentator in this forum . What is PDOIS waiting for if they have such a capabilities for Jammeh to fear them to extend that he will avoid trying them ? It is the same lie “Gambia ” indicated in one of his posting in which he stated Halifa sallah has such a capability which will expose and destroy the regime once for all if regime decided to prosecute him regarding His arrest during witch hunt exercise . Stop making outlandish and ridiculous statements . What specific information did PDOIS has which will expose Jammeh for everyone to see ? Please we do need that information for the benefit of Gambian people. So in your mind , the Gambia is not on the wrong track because PDOIS letters has compelled Jammeh to change track. Then why do we have recent election act 2015 into law if PDOIS letters are that powerful enough to change Jammeh’s mind for example ? Remember that the public is reading your comments .

      Secondly if PDOIS letters has such a powerful effects on leadership , why there are so many horrific human rights abuses , corruption, mismanagement and constitutional violations in the country when Jammeh has received countless letters from PDOIS since 1994 ? The more you write , the less intelligence your analysis becomes . You have again consistently put your foot in your mouth and this is why I described you as extreme element of your party who would says and doing anything to defense your party just like jugulars are defending Jammeh by committing heinous crimes against innocent citizens .
      So PDOIS was never refused a permit because they know exactly the right things to do and they have confidence and trust of civil servants . Are you implying that jammeh and his government has more confidence and trust in PDOIS than other opposition parties , which is why PDOIS never call his regime a dictatorship . Is it the same reasons that PDOIS has never been confronted by this regime in whatever they do ? So PDOIS and Jammeh regime are working hand in gloves to oppress Gambians and at the same time PDOIS is pretending to be fighting for democracy and socialism , is that what you are implying in above statement ?
      Yero , you need to think twice before you write . For the rest of your posting , please read and rectify yourself . I don’t think that even Bax will support you on this outlandish and ridiculous claims . You must have been indoctrinated by Jammeh who claimed to have cures for all kind of diseases. Please stop making this kind of claims .

  11. Yero Ba , another outlandish and ridiculous claims you made was PPP was created for Mandinkas in rural areas to support the party . If you don’t know the history of PPP you need to learn and stop making ridiculous statement . PPP was spear- headed by workers union under the influence of leaders like Janjally Bojang who was from Kombos . Even at that time Gambian tribes are exactly how they are today because Mandinkas form the majority . Mandinkas are not the only tribes in the rural areas of The Gambia who supported PPP . PPP was supported by all the tribes in The Gambia . In fact Mandinkas are the biggest opponents of PPP during Jawara regime . Just like today Mandinkas are the biggest opponent of Jammeh’s regime if you consider the population size of the Mandinkas . Stop your cheap propaganda and ridiculous claims . I truly believe that you don’t know history .