Suspicion And Lack Of Trust Derail 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

By Janko Camara

Dear Bax

  1. Your views insinuate lack of trust among the opposition parties
  2. Weak leadership and thus candidate prone to manipulation by other forces within the party.

Now let us look at these and your other points in detail.

If your insinuation on lack of trust is true, then there is no need to talk about alliance and/or coalition, in whatever form. There is no way that people who are mutually suspicious of each other can cooperate in anything, no matter how noble that thing appears to be. Essentially, our Opposition politicians, you seem to insinuate, are strange political bedfellows and, as a result, this talk about unity for the greater good is just a mirage, which can never be translated into reality. So why continue fantasising? It is so vivid even to a casual observer that no single party, under the current dispensation, will ever win elections in The Gambia. So let us close shop and retire. However, in that case, it must be pointed out that the dereliction of our basic civic duty is a very dangerous thing, which might give rise to other forms of changing the status quo. In such a scenario, there is no guarantee that there would not be bloodshed and wanton destruction of both public and private property. Therefore, for the sake of our country and ourselves, we (as well as our politicians) must put aside our “mistrust” for each other and unite for the benefit of the country and her people. We need to be mindful of what type of country we are bequeathing to our children and grandchildren.

Secondly, your insinuation of weak leadership and all its attendant vices, in my view, would not arise where a UDP/PDOIS alliance is formed on solid grounds and in good faith. Systems (political or otherwise) are put in place by people. Therefore, if the collective will of this same people is to have a change not only of political leadership, but also of the entire system, there is no way that such change would not occur. An example may suffice here; Former President Abdoulaye Wade inherited the same old system from his predecessor, Abdou Diouf. He pioneered some reforms in the early stages of his rule only for him to attempt to recant on some of these later on. However, the outcome is now History. The collective will of the people prevailed in the end. You might think Darboe is a weak figure but this, in my view, would be erroneous. On the contrary, here is a man who proves his strength of character when the need arise. He is conscientious but when the need arise, he can also get very tough as we have seen in recent times. Therefore, the insinuation that he may be prone to manipulation by other members of his party, in my view, is just mere conjecture. We need to learn, at all times, to filter the message from the noise so that the narrative is not dictated by people with myopic agenda. I keep hammering about a UDP/PDOIS Alliance because, in my view, this will be a very good combination that can make significant impact on the ground. This alliance, in my view, is capable of delivering the sort of political reforms which will guarantee our rights whilst at the same time ensure accountability.

Bax, comparing The Gambia of 2016 with The Gambia of Pre-1994 (Darboe and Jawara), in my view, is a bit out of context. This is because times have changed considerably and thus, the époques are different. People’s level of awareness then and now has also changed significantly. Most importantly, the level of advancement in technology then and now has also changed significantly. Thus what former president Jawara and his administration “got away” with (if this phrase is appropriate), Yahya Jammeh is not getting (and cannot get) away with now, despite his military-style rule. Don’t you see that whatever happened in Jammeh’s bedroom is global news within hours of its occurrence? Jammeh would have wished that technology did not exist to lay bare his not-so-good activities. I also believe Gambians have gone through so much suffering in the last two decades that they would never allow any repetition should this government leave power today. Of course, there are people who, for reasons best known to them, prefer the status quo, but these are in the minority. All around you, more people are calling for greater freedoms, despite the docility and the low sophistication level of the average Gambian voter. In the Jawara era, speaking against the government was seen more as a role primarily for the politicians. The rest of us were just complacent and by-standers in matters affecting our lives. Now, it is not the politicians alone that are talking. Bax is talking, Janko is talking and so are many others.

Finally, you asked which “formula should be agreed upon by all..?” I am for an alliance of that will ensure not only a change of leadership but also a change of political system for a better one. In other words an absolute Political Revolution, totally different from A(F)PRC’s understanding of the concept. It is also my belief and ardent hope that a UDP/PDOIS Alliance can do just that, if there is trust between the parties and a strong will to do so. Without appearing dictatorial, let me dare say this is the “common sense” that appears to be so uncommon in our discourses. Over to you Bax.



  1. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Udp/pdois alliance?? There can never be any such thing because of Halifa Sallah. Watch him

  2. Deyda Haidara

    UDP/PDOIS can be a winning formula.
    UDP/NRP can be a winning formula.
    UDP/NRP/PPP can also be a better winning formula.
    PPP/NRP/PDOIS cannot be a winning formula without the UDP.
    UDP alone can come tie with APRC with both less than 40% of the total vote cast.
    As in any election predictions remain predictions and surprises can happen. APRC will loose a lot ground this time around, people at home despise them and hardly talk about them, even the upcoming referendum in Senegal is discussed more in bantabas than the upcoming Gambian elections.

    • All of them are wrong formats for the Opposition front Coalition or Alliance envisaged by popular demand of citizenry, consensus and insinuated in discourse between Janko Camara and Bax.

      Mentiong possible “UDP/PDOIS Alliance” is reference to two positions and posturing between the two parties on UDP “Party-led” Alliance or Coalition and PDOIS Agendas (especially 2016). Both appear to be all-inclusive but PDOIS Agenda 2016 is very clear on Grand Coalition (for United National Front of all opposition parties coming together under a common ground, with a non-partisan Flag bearer).

      A United National Front formed sincerely in Spirit of National Unity. Compatriotism and Solidarity (among other strategic ideals), is the winning formula!

  3. Deyda: UDP/PDOIS is a winning formula,
    UDP/NRP is not a winning formula, it was proven.
    UDP/NRP/PPP is not a winning formula, it was proven..
    Any formula which does not include PDOIS is a failure before it starts.
    You must have a credible alternative to win this election. PDOIS is very credible and is the fastest growing party in the Gambia, not because I support PDOIS but because I am very objective on what obtains on the ground. If you ask Ousainu he will tell exactly that.

    • Deyda Haidara

      Yero, times have changed and lot have happen between 2011 and 2016. Jammeh’s popularity has dwindle considerably as the economy takes its toll on more and more people up to as recent as the Senegambia border closure…
      It is also a fact that UDP is growing its ranks daily and weekly as the rallies unfold.
      One can say APRC and UDP at almost at par with UDP tipping the balance. UDP needs only one more party to to get into office.

  4. Janko, thanks for a brief and concise analysis. I think it has always been suspicion that derailed most unions and unity efforts. Even the Holy Quran says “avoid suspicions, because suspicions leads to hatred and sin.” to paraphrase. Gambians are now on a different level. If it was Sir Dawda’s era, he will be under the same pressure just like Jammeh is today. So what will prevent Lawyer Darboe or any other UDP candidate from being criticise or taken to task? Nothings.
    The reality is simple, Gambians on the ground are demanding a change of Chief Executive, and UDP is in a prime position to lead that. However, currently, what we have to demand now is a joint opposition action on electoral reform. We need a day, time and areas for a peaceful, non-violent protest. This can take place every Friday, just like the Arab spring. Unless reforms happen, open demonstrations will continue. Jammeh cannot arrest even a thousand people ready and determine to continue protesting. Let all the opposition parties and their leadership come to table.
    UDP’s current energy can easily be converted and the PDOIS, NRP. GMC,PDGP, and the underground civil society can make this happen.
    The path is clear, what we need is a unify action on reforms and everything will fall in place. Thanks

    • Compatriot put Grand Coalition for possibility of United National Front on your UDO Congress Agenda, for consideration among final resolutions.

      That is the COMMON ground and winning formula!

  5. And Mr. Camara, one ordinary Gambian like me for example; is permanently mesmerised by the fact that Gambia is such a small country and yet one of the most difficult places on earth when it comes to pursuing democratic civic interests. I think you made a good round up of the whole Gambia political scenario of recent times.
    To me,it is difficult to understand why Gambians easily get offended when others give their sincere opinions with regards to the ills of its society and its stumbling blocks of numerous cultural values and traditions.

  6. Janko….

    Thanks for your well presented thoughts, though I am not sure if the statement you quoted was made by me..I have checked my comments on the PDOIS page but cannot confirm whether that was my statement..No big deal anyway..

    However, as for distrust existing between our opposition parties, I will have to apologise if I have made any such claims or even gave that impression in my presentations…I am not qualified, living abroad and not in contact or close proximity with any officials of either party, to make such claims..

    I am on record though, for stating that I can understand why a party like PDOIS, having fought politics of patronage, ruling party domination and use of state apparatus for politicking, throughout its political life, in both the 1st and 2nd republics, will be reluctant to be part of any alliance that fails to show any serious desire to change the status quo…

    Nonetheless, it appears that there are genuine concerns amongst many, that distrust does exist between our politicians and opposition parties and it is up to them to dispel such fears and reassure all…

    You are absolutely right, and of course I am aware, that The Gambia of Sir Dawda Jawara is not the same as that of today, and that from the perspective of publicity and public awareness of actions of government, no leader will ever get away with what “Sir Dawda got away with…”

    Though that was not what I had in mind when I talked about the problem being rooted in the system and how it operates, rather than individuals, I will agree with you, in so far as the diaspora is concerned, because the public space here, is open, tolerant and accepting to the free and unfettered flow of opposing views..


    • Thank you Bax for responding. The quotation was neither yours nor mine. It was an editorial addition to which I have since reacted and, if you notice, it has been removed. Thank you once more for your valuable comments and maturity.

      Deyda, thanks for your contributions. You are absolutely right: any alliance/coalition without the UDP, under the current atmosphere, is bound to fail. There are no two ways about it. Let us keep beating the UNITY message home. The whole country, our politicians in particular, needs to hear this message from us, the masses.

      Kinteh, thank you for tackling the points about PDOIS. I honest think that statement is more of hallucination than reality. In any case, even if true, what we need now is unity of purpose. Let us keep hammering that message home.

      Ggapm, thank you. With a strong will and unity of purpose, we can overcome the challenges.

      Yerro Bah, I say thanks to you too despite our diametrically opposed views. That is democracy, although I would like to state that your assertion that PDOIS “is the fastest growing party in the Gambia” is HALLUCINATION of the highest order. It would be interesting to share with your readers how you arrived at such a conclusion. There is no doubt that PDOIS is a great party.

  7. Yerro, if one reasons your statement through, then the bottom line is that pdois is indispensable for any electoral success of the opposition. Your tone imply, also that pdois is not going to reach out to other parties for a coalition- at least proactively except media postings. Meaning, to me at least, other parties must go down their knees to get pdois into any form of coalition – most probably exclusively on pdois terms.

    Such a demand is not only needless but presumptuous. Such a position cannot be a precondition for coalition talks. No matter what is at stake. For compromise anywhere requires reaching out to one another.

  8. You may, however agree with me, that despite the advance levels of education and increased awareness of Gambians, the public space in the country, is as restricted to the flow of opposing and competing views today, as it was yesterday, though officials of both governments (led by different individuals with diametrically opposed personalities) often claim respect for, and the existence of, a FREE MEDIA and media environment under their respective administration …

    Here in, in my view, lies the proof that (as far restriction of the media is concerned ) it is the system and how it is set to operate that is at the core of the problem, rather than say, for instance, Sir Dawda, who is seen across the world as a democrat and respector of the rule of law…

    Yaya Jammeh’s character, in my view, is only aggravating a system that is “tailor made” and open to such an abusive form of leadership, whether by design (in Jammeh’s case) or by default (in Jawara’s case) …

    It may also provide further proof, that the concept of a FREE media and media environment and its conceptualisation into the practical aspects of governance to ensure the existence of a free media in the country, may actually mean, and be understood differently, by different individuals or groups…

    In view of the above, and in our efforts to find common grounds for a grand coalition that can usher us into a New Gambia, it is important that we are not just content with mere expressions or promises of a free media and media environment, but we should insist that coalition partners agree on common understandings of such terms and what practical steps will be taken to guarantee their realisation …

    Our biggest problem is that state institutions have been created to assure good governance, but organs of governance have then undermined the effective operation of these institutions by placing excessive powers in the Chief Executive and the executive branch of government, and thus subjecting these institutions, even the ones that are designed to be independent of the executive, firmly under the control of the executive….and in this way, enjoying immense advantages over their rivals in opposition and maintaining an unchallengeable domination of the political arena…

    Are all opposition parties seriously committed to rectifying this anomaly before we usher in the 3rd republic or would they rather complain whilst in opposition but preside over the same status quo when in government..?

    That, in my view, is the basis on which a grand coalition should be built, especially in light of the situation on the ground, where all have acknowledged, at least in public, that no single party may be able to defeat the incumbent on their own…

    You have cited the case of President Wade in Senegal and that should sound alarm bells for Gambia’s opposition and electorate, that when the desire for change is just for change, then the possibility of fallouts, which could have devastating effect on the country, is an ever present danger, when different parties with different agenda, form an alliance in government…

    We should be mindful because The Gambia is too “fragile” to withstand conflict..

    • Deyda Haidara

      Bax I think you are calling for two major points of unity which one of them is incompatible.
      1- Agreement to present a coalition candidate to dislodge Jammeh in December 2016 and
      2- The type and philosophy of government system each party want to govern with.
      Whiles point 1 is a must for all opposition parties for the sake of taking dictatorship out the Gambia come December, point 2 will be the free will of any party to contest alone based on their government program and philosophy in the 3rd republic.
      Mixing the two points as a condition call for flag bearer candidate in 2016 is a non starter.
      Remember the last elections in Senegal regrouped socialist and liberals and communists to remove Wade from power and now each party is vying for office based on their ideological believes and programs. This is we want for Gambia in 2016.

      • Thank you DH for that observation…Actually, I am not against a party-led approach, where one party would implement its “philosophy” and “government system”, whilst addressing the concerns of its alliance partners, when elected into government…(ie, if that is what all agree to)

        But we are having these discussions because that approach is not accepted by all parties…Neither is the approach for a non-partisan, all party alliance, and there doesn’t seem to be much flexibility from the two opposing and contending factions…

        And least we forget, Hamat Bah has openly declared that he will only be part of a UDP alliance if he leads it, because he had already been led by the UDP in a party led alliance….

        Only the PPP don’t seem to have an independent party position and could therefore be described as the flexible one…

        So the efforts should be concentrated on finding common areas of agreements dealing with political reforms, that can be implemented in a short term transition, with all alliance members going back to the, “as you were” position (military term) before any subsequent presidential and assembly elections can be conducted…

        That way, no party enjoys an unfair advantage over its alliance partners and each party would have a reasonably fair chance and equal opportunities, to present its claim to the electorate that it is the best suited for the job..

        Personally, I don’t think any party can lay the legitimate claim to the right to implement own “philosophy” and “system of government”, when in government, unless that legitimacy is derived from the constitution…And that legitimacy could only be derived from the present constitution when you win an election by your own efforts…

        To conclude on this point, it is fair to say that if there parties that feel that they have the strength and resources to defeat the APRC on their own, then they should not waste their time on an alliance that is only going to complicate governance for then when elected..They should just knuckle down and get on with it, but if they fail, then they shouldn’t blame anyone…

    • Bax , please remember that everything in life has some risk. So please stop your fear mongering or beating the drums of consequences of any actions by opposition leaders . We needs positive message to encourage the opposition leaderships to come together and confront the devil . We shouldn’t be too focus on hypertheticals questions or hyperbole , in relations to Darboe might not be good replacement as evidence by actions of sir Dawda who has similar backgrounds or fragile nature of Gambia . Even writing online is risky because you will make enemies by making certain comments and that is easiest way compare to those on the ground . We should be focused as Laser beam to remove the enemy , death or alive .

      • “.. in relations to Darboe might not be good replacement as evidence by actions of sir Dawda who has similar backgrounds or fragile nature of Gambia…”

        I only hope that you are not attributing the above to me because I never said anything like that…

        • Indeed, that fragile nature of Gambia, was Gambia’s true democracy to be nutured. In my opinion, Sir Dawda’s rule is criticable from all corners of it but, he did lay every foundations for Gambians to understand what the need for a democratic civil society is. This claim I opined has been manifested in the event when Tiks had the opportunity to be defended in a civil court and walk his way out free, being applauded by a waiting and sympathising crowd outside the congested courtroom….
          Do we have such invaluable democratic opportunities in the Gambian courts today?

  9. UDP led alliance or coalition is the best solution in terms of opposition unity , application of best legal mind and strong conviction to ensure effective electoral victory . In this forum , we all saying the same thing except pdois disciples who continue to make outlandish claims . As mr Suntou Touray indicated , if we have opposition unity add to current UDP momentum and engage in peaceful demonstration to fight for electoral reform ; civil society organizations and international community especially Senegal will come to our aid. Current Senegalese leadership are only waiting for slightest opportunity for Jammeh to release his terror machine on opposition or civilians before they would mobilize ECOWAS to call for Jammeh to step down or military intervention . This has been discussed at the highest level . But Gambian themselves should first start a geniune efforts . Currently idiotic Dictator is very aware of this and he will unlikely confront UDP during their campaign though he will continue his threat and intimidation . The question we should all ask is that : why UDP now are freely campaigning or doing their meetings or rallies across the country when in the past they have to seek a permit from a corrupt police force . Gambian people should know that we have silent supporters who are eagerly waiting to respond but they cannot do at the moment because of international laws and Gambian themselves didn’t start such confrontation or peaceful demonstration . In our culture, sometime people interven when there is a quarrel or fight and they side with the innocent person to fight the bully . We should also remember that bullies are the biggest cowards .

    • Senegal and ECOWAS will intervene to remove Jammeh, you said Max. .? How outlandish can anyone be…? What will be the cost of such an intervention, if I may ask, because if you think interventions are good “Samaritan gestures”, then you have a lot to learn….

      And I don’t think you really need an alliance to demonstrate or to instigate one, so there is no need for anyone to rally behind another to start demonstrations, as far as I can see ..

  10. “One can say APRC and UDP at almost at par with UDP tipping the balance. UDP needs only one more party to get into office” Deyda.
    Deyda: This was the 2006 mistake made by the UDP when they left only to go with the NRP thinking that they needed only 4%. It was a disaster, and going with GMC in 2011 was also another disaster which should not be repeated again. Deyda, I still did not agree. What UDP needs is not any party. Even if all the parties go with UDP, it would not work if PDOIS is not in the equation. Based on the information on the ground, its either all the parties or just UDP and PDOIS because these are the only two parties in the opposition doing any major mobilising work in the country. To say that UDP is tipping balance is mere opinion but the other opinion is that UDPs indecisiveness in selecting their flagbearer is creating a lot of skepticism among its fans. You will not agree with me since you are a supporter of the UDP, THAT IS UNDERSTANDABLE. However, a grand coalition involving all entities including Independents selecting a flagbearer by the people through any means of selection and fielding him/her on an Independent ticket is the best winning formula.
    There is no distrust among PDOIS and UDP as people are making it to be. In fact I believe there is more trust between PDOIS leadership and UDP than UDP and any other party. I may be wrong but you can find out for yourself. There is also no ideological difference but only tactical difference between PDOIS and UDP and that is, how to go about alliance building that would result to the defeat of Jammeh in the polls. A win would be difficult to achieve if any of the two are missing in the link. Those who are negotiating should make every genuine effort to make sure the two are included otherwise it will be a disaster again.
    The problem with Gambians is that we do not want to make genuine and painstaking effort to find out the positions of parties but rather want to sit behind the computer and speculate endlessly about parties as if we are the very ones operating them. What PDOIS said is that the negotiators should seek for the official position of parties and if they see that parties are almost saying the same thing regarding tactics, then they are free to call for negotiation, in which case their work would be lighter, that is to thrash out the little differences and agreement would be reached. But if there is a meeting where there is no prior knowledge of what position each party holds, then the possibility of disagreement is there which can send shock waves to the electorates and thereby create apathy within them, which is also an impending disaster.

    • Deyda Haidara

      Yero as time is of essence in forging a unity candidate between UDP and PDOIS, can you please tell us how we can surmount the the party led and inter party primary approach which divides the two parties.?
      Over to you.

    • Lafia Touray la Manju

      trust between the the udp leadership and the pdois leadership??? That is not true.

  11. Bax , if our opposition leaderships come together to demonstrate , it will send clear message to the dictator and international community . If Jammeh unleash his terror on defenseless citizens , you will see military intervention as it happened in many countries across Africa . Bax , I think you forget easily , it was few weeks ago you blasted Jammeh for not supporting African Union military intervention in Burundi when he spoke against it and now in the case of Gambia you now realize the cost involve in such efforts as a pretext to down play it . You always leave me wonder which side you are supporting . If the same scenario exist in the Gambia, Senegal and ECOWAS will most likely intervene militarily .
    You are not serious about removing Jammeh that is why you don’t see unity as a need to demonstrate by sending clear message. Those who are serious and truly want to remove Jammeh , see unity in any capacity as the best course of action in whatever method they will do .

    • So you are anticipating a Burundi like outcome for The Gambia so that ECOWAS or Senegal will intervene..?

      Burundi is burning with scores dead or dying and hundreds of thousands on the run to neighbouring countries…

      We can achieve change without wishing for that for our people….My objection of Jammeh’s position is because he is relying on the pretext of respect for sovereignty but the authorities in Burundi are not in total control of their country’s security….So the neighbours need to intervene because failure to act will be worse than any cost incurred by the Burundians …

      • Deyda Haidara

        Bax, Senegal will have no choice but intervene if there is pandemonium in the Gambia simply because of the spillover effects it can have in its southern border of Casamance.

    • @Max…”You are not serious about removing Jammeh that is why you don’t see unity as a need to demonstrate by sending clear message.”

      On the contrary Max, I see unity as the best approach to combat Jammeh’s misrule and I agree that a demonstration by a united opposition force will send serious signals to the regime…

      What I am debunking is the idea that this opposition demonstration has to be under the leadership of the UDP…Why does it have to be so. .? There is no need for anyone to rally behind another to demonstrate…Come together and agree to stage a demonstration, as partners in opposition, to highlight and draw attention to common concerns…

      • Bax, I simply indicated that if “our opposition leadership come together to demonstrate”, it will send a clear message to the dictator and international community. I didn’t mention that it has to be UDP led. Coming together under one leadership to demonstrate their political grievances and make a demand before any election.

        Bax, please I will encourage you to read extensively about military dictatorship so that you can have an idea what we are dealing with. The situation in The Gambia is not a child play or laughing matter. We have bunch of idiotic soldiers who are armed and dangerous and they have occupied statehouse for 22 years now, you think removing such a dangerous people from their enjoyment will be an easy task. Remember, majority of these soldiers what they eat and drink every day, ordinary citizens are not eating that. On typical dinner or lunch at state house, you have best meat, fish, fruits, drinks anything you think of, all serve at the same time, which these people will never have in their homes. You simply serve yourself, on top of that, you have young pretty girls as young as 17 years old who are used as sexual entertainers by the president and his top security guard plus monetary enticement which he occasionally give to these people. You have no idea what is happening in Jammeh’s state house. Majority of these soldiers have no good education and are from extremely poor backgrounds. Why do you think Lt col Gano and so many of his types are blind to the suffering of majority Gambians but still support Jammeh? They enjoyed as long as they don’t offend Jammeh but when they do, they are eliminated. Just some 12 months ago, one of the state guard soldier offended Jammeh, he instructed his junglers to eliminate him, the guy was tortured and later injected, he has been sicked and finally passed away in his village. His story was reported only on freedom newspaper but pa Nderry himself didn’t know the full story because the time he published the demise of this particular solider and when the incident actually happened was far apart. This solider was from a minority tribe which Jammeh has been using as his main protector.

        This is why I said anything can happen in The Gambia. Jammeh has brainwashed the military and majority of them today don’t like him but they don’t trust each other also. Unity to remove him from power is the problem. I believe Jammeh is not going to leave peacefully. Massive demonstration or confrontation is the best course of action.

  12. Bax , whether you admit it or not , Burundi situation is unfolding in The Gambia silently because million of citizens are living in fear . I am anticipating anything in Gambia’s situation , that is doesn’t mean I am praying for it .

    • Max….

      Yaya Jammeh has made no secret of where he stands when it comes to challenging him for the presidency, and no one should be in any doubt, that if given the excuse and opportunity to massacre innocent citizens, he may do so to protect his rule..

      Whilst I agree with you that massive demonstrations are an effective way of removing entrenched dictatorships from power, I do not agree with you that this is the best approach available to Gambians, especially at this material time…

      I contend that the best approach available to us at this point in time, in view of approaching elections, and given the dissatisfaction of the people with the regime, is the adoption of an elections winning formula for the opposition, with the assistance and collaboration of the anti-Jammeh diaspora community…

      I also think that in the experiences of both Burundi and Senegal are vital lessons that we in The Gambia can learn and benefit from, in our quest for change with minimal damage, where damage is unavoidable….

      The violence in Burundi, if we may reflect, is the consequences of the actions of President Nkuruziza, which literally mimicked the actions of President Wade in Senegal, but whilst the former (Burundi) descended into chaos and is still burning, the latter (Senegal) has overcome the challenge, with very minimal damage, and is steadily moving on …

      Senegal, in particular, until 2000/2001, was in the same political situation, albeit without the rampant abuses, like we are in today, where the party in government dominates the political scene and its closest challenger proving to be only a “nearly man”, without any chance of changing that by his own efforts, through his party alone..

      The “Sopi” coalition did win elections and broke the grip of the ruling party, but it is the same coalition or remnants of its product (others have since fallen out and left) that nearly pushed Senegal down the path of destructive violence and chaos..

      Not only did this trend and fallout between original alliance partners indicate the shortcomings of their alliance format, the mass dissatisfaction of the Senegalese People with the “Sopi” Administration, less than decade and a half later, does seem to suggest that the change was ONLY in personalities, but not in substance and the plight of the people..

      The consequences of this costly mistake for Senegal, was only averted because of the maturity and awareness of the Senegalese public : politicians, civil society, professionals, religious leaders and the security forces..

      According to analyst and (environment) adviser, Arame Talle, of John Hopkins University, the real and silent heroes were the Army…In an article in Al-Jazeera, she wrote:

      “The patriotism and professionalism of the Senegalese army, remarkable by its absence from the streets during the polls, was also notorious – leading many to think that the Senegalese army was really the silent hero of the nation’s democratic transition….”

      It is obvious that we, in The Gambia, lack the ingredients of the Senegalese Nation and should therefore strive to avoid the pitfalls of their alliance format, the consequences of which we are not equipped to deal with effectively…

  13. “Yero as time is of essence in forging a unity candidate between UDP and PDOIS, can you please tell us how we can surmount the party led and inter party primary approach which divides the two parties.?
    Over to you” Deyda.
    All I’m saying is that let’s not complicate matters. The Diaspora should engage in constructive engagement by reaching out to all parties as soon as possible and find out from them what their official position is regarding unity. All parties will say they are interested in unity. They should ask them to state their official position regarding tactic to do so. They should inform all parties regarding the position of each party before they call on them to meet. If their positions are not fundamentally different which can be thrashed, then they should write to each of them and call them to a meeting. If their official positions are unbridgeable, then there is no need calling them to meet.
    You are already told by Bax that Party-led has been rejected by all parties except the party that intends to lead it. So straight away it is clear that calling parties to meet and discuss that option is futile. So the only option left for discussion in my view is a grand coalition inclusive of all parties whose candidate will stand under an Independent banner.
    An Independent banner is feasible because it does not attract any payment nor would it take any bureaucracy to register it whilst registering a neutral party like NADD would attract 1 million dalasi plus time.
    Since there are others who speak about mistrust among parties, then there is no need to take a longer mandate for the transition government, it should simply be for two years and a new election is called if there is a win. If there is no win, each party simply go back to your party and continue to develop your entity.
    Since opponents of Primary are always using time as an excuse, there is an option of a Convention to ask the people to select by secret voting under one roof as was done in 2011 United Front convention.
    If Convention does not seem to include the cross section of opposition supporters as argued by some, parties can have a tour across the country to the big settlements and have a joint rally and ask the attendants to state who they support as the flag bearer of the coalition. These are all popular methods of selecting leaders. We have to be innovative as a people.
    The Diaspora has a role to play here. They should start the process right away and find out each party’s position and communicate it to others. As far as i know only PDOIS has stated its official position and as you said Time Waits For No Man and the clock is ticking.

    • Deyda Haidara

      Yerro, we will come back to this discussion after the UDP congress.
      Have a nice weekend.

    • Deyda Haidara

      Yerro, you said it here “You are already told by Bax that Party-led has been rejected by all parties except the party that intends to lead it. So straight away it is clear that calling parties to meet and discuss that option is futile. So the only option left for discussion in my view is a grand coalition inclusive of all parties whose candidate will stand under an Independent banner.
      An Independent banner is feasible because it does not attract any payment nor would it take any bureaucracy to register it whilst registering a neutral party like NADD would attract 1 million dalasi plus time.”

      Yerro can you please elaborate on what you mean an independent candidate will not pay the D1million deposit.

  14. To buttress my contention that our problems lie in the systems of government that individuals operate within, rather than the individuals themselves, but without absolving individuals of personal responsibility and culpability in malgovernance, I will use the Senegalese experience, once again, to remind all on this forum, of (the truth of) the dictum :


    Supporters of the party led alliance, who believe that the “largest” party (I prefer the “most influential”) should be allowed to lead and carry out reforms with its coalition partners (once change is achieved), often project the impeccable personality, vast experience and personal achievements of the leading opposition politician, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, as insurance against abuse of the system…

    No one should doubt that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe is everything that his admirers say about him, but I want to ask these people, without being disrespectful to Lawyer Darboe in any sense of the word whatsoever, whether Maitre Abdoulie Wade has any less impeccable personality, experience and personal achievements than Lawyer Darboe…

    Maitre Wade, we should remember, is a highly accomplished individual, holding two doctorates in Law and Economics; vastly experienced academically, politically and professionally and was highly regarded by all sections of Senegalese society, but yet he succumbed to the intoxicating influence of power, in a corrupt system of government that is not fit for purpose in truly democratic societies….This is abundant proof that personality alone, no matter how well regarded, is not enough insurance against succumbing to abuse within a system that is open to, and suited for, that purpose…

    Infact, the prevalence of malgovernance in Africa, in my view, is not due to the African’s inability to govern him/herself, but rather, it is largely due to the systems, structures and organs of governments & governance, bequeathed to emerging independent nations, which were designed to suppress and subjugate the locals during colonialism..

    These were either wholly maintained by the new leaders or simply modified (here and there) to further entrench themselves in power or to address perceived specific “threats” to the new nations…

    Unfortunately, people often misconceive these observations as attempts to blame colonialism for our problems, but nothing could be further from the truth…Instead, such observations should be seen within the context of scientific problem solving approach : diagnose a problem; know the cause (s) of a problem; find solutions to better address it..

    For The Gambia, I am of the view that we need an alliance format that :

    – asumes a National Character, rather than a partisan one;

    – agrees to embark on far reaching reforms of the entire system, rather than just electoral laws: Reforms that make Independent Institutions truly “independent” of the executive and strengthen the internal checks and balance mechanisms design to insulate against abuse and misuse for those institutions that are under the executive ..

    -allows for a grace period to “proof test” the new systems and get the population re-orientated towards, and familiar with, the new dispensation by actively engaging in widespread and nationally publicised discussions, on all issues of concern;

    – provides for the “stepping out” of government, of all politicians, into opposition (where they actually were before the alliance) and those individuals in government interested in contesting for elective office, to campaign and prepare for presidential, assembly and local government elections that will usher us into the 3rd republic…

    • Deyda Haidara

      Bax in other words you want an agreement on the form of government to implement after victory before agreeing to a UDP/PDOIS alliance candidate for December 2016 elections.??
      Over to you.

    • Bax, does the system operate on itself or people make the system work to their advantage? If the system cannot operate on its own without people, therefore your argument is baseless and pointless. If we have good people run the system or the government, they can make reforms so that we can have better society or government. Stop these hypothetical and hyperbole questions or statements. In your presentation, you always try to talk about negative consequences whether it is about demonstration, military intervention or even opposition coalition. Even if You are sitting in your apartment in London without doing anything can result to serious consequences. Here is why, if you sit in your sofa as potato for a long time without doing anything, you will have stroke (brain attack ) or heart attack and die quickly (God forbid). This is because physiologically you won’t have good blood flow to your vital organs such as brain or the heart as a result of blood clot being form in your body when you sit for long time. Therefore it is risky to be sitting in your sofa for a long time. Apart from stroke or heart attack, blood clot can also cause so many serious medical problems such as deep vein thrombosis (clotting in your veins) or pulmonary embolism (blood clot in your lungs). So please stop these negative propaganda, everything you do in life has a risk. Every successful person must take a risk. Look at how many young Gambians are dying in the high sea and if you ask them to join military as a national service or even join the opposition to speak up against Jammeh, majority of them will refuse. This is the tragedy that is happening in our country on daily basis. I do not intend to hurt anyone here but I am simply stating the truth. So Try to be more positive sometimes.

  15. Maxs: what Bax and you said have no relationship. I think you are short of words. Bax never said people should not take risks, he said we should take precaution on how we go about alliance so that we come out with better outcomes. You can simply agree or disagree with that but don’t put words into his mouth. That’s unethical.

    • Yerro Ba , you have appointed yourself as Bax’s spokesperson because he is your fellow disciple. He can eloquently speak for himself. If you look at Bax’s statements, he is always engage in fear mongering and risk analysis. In fact, he has used mr wade’s case to showcase that there could be negative consequences if there is party led alliance or coalition in The Gambia . He failed to realize that lawyer Darboe’s party and Wade’s party are two different parties led by two different human beings who might not act the same way . So his analysis of Senegal’s opposition alliance as a warning to any desire for UDP led alliance is tantamount to fear mongering , diversion to form unity and engagement in hyperbola or hypertheticals analysis . Remember , whatever risk the oppositions want to take in The Gambia , Jammeh has already done so and this is why he is still president . unless he want to continue to support your party which give legitimacy to the regime by refusing to be part of unity even when it is clear to you as broad daylight that mr sallah will never win presidential election in billion years . If Jammeh want to handover power to Him , that is different story .

  16. “Bax in other words you want an agreement on the form of government to implement after victory before agreeing to a UDP/PDOIS alliance candidate for December 2016 elections.??” Deyda.
    Deyda, any alliance that does not put into consideration the form and manner of government that should be established would not have any basis. There must be a program as well which must be adhered to if the alliance is to hold. Serious people who do not belong to same entity don’t come together for the sake of it, they come together for a purpose and that purpose must be spelt out before any agreement is reached.

    • Deyda Haidara

      Yerro, I am happy you made the point clear. We will save a lot time by having PDOIS prepare a blue print document on the form and manner of government that should be established after an election victory. The shorter the document the better for all of us.
      Over to you.

  17. Deyda, I bet my bottom dollar PDOIS’s blue print document will not be few pages but expect 100 or more pages if necessary to explain their points. My advice to folks that want to save Gambia is to find alternative solutions to free the country from Dictator Yaya Jammeh’s misrule. What didn’t work before and can work now because the situation has gotten worst and more Gambians are demanding change. Let the parties that can work together form alliance and move forward with their campaign because PDOIS is never interested in freeing the country from this present agony without them leading or having dominance upon other the parties. Simply, they are blackmailing the country to get their way or die trying until eternity.

    • Deyda Haidara

      Noooooo! They know they don’t have to deliver a classroom lecture but a short precise and concise document to be scrutinized and appreciated by learned and wise men.

  18. Why do you place all the burden on PDOIS to produce a coalition blueprint? Don’t you have ideas too to produce a blueprint as well?

    Just like the PDOIS agendas; Agenda 2016 and so forth, we want to know what are your thoughts on a coalition agenda. What is your coalition blueprint?

  19. Since PDOIS is the obstacle for any unity or alliance agreement, they should be the ones to come out with the blue print. Kamalo, even though we all know that PDOIS is a 3 percent vote getter but we need all the oppositions to work together and remove Yaya Jammeh from power. After that they can all sit down and come out with a new constitution workable for all.

  20. Janjabureh, PDOIS has never been an obstacle to any unity or alliance. What is of fundamental concern to us is the nature of the unity or alliance. And what form should it take.

    Since you are insisting on a party-led coalition, you should be in a position to map out the nature of such an alliance. How it can be constituted and the agreements you are willing to proffer to the other opposition parties should they want to be part of that alliance. That document will serve as the basis to open your negotiations with your fellow opposition parties.

    But you have not laid anything on the table. All we are hearing is that other opposition parties should come and join you in a party-led alliance. You should be doing more than just calling PDOIS to come and join your party-led alliance.

    PDOIS has a different proposition. A non party-led alliance. They have mapped out the nature of such an alliance. They have outlined how this alliance can be constituted as well as the agreements that can bind the parties if they should enter into such an alliance.

  21. Kamalo, you PDIOS folks are not sorry people. If PDIOS was the largest party in the country are they going to suggest non-party led alliance? Hell no. The party with the largest support base should select the alliance candidate and the other positions should be spread around to the other parties. What PDIOS wants is to delude or dismantle the strength of the larger parties to propel themselves to power. Nobody in their correct mind will accept PDOIS insincere idea of non-party led alliance.

  22. Janjanbureh, the problem is you cannot win on your own even with your ‘largest party’ status. And there is a strong possibility that UDP and PDOIS fielding a single candidate stand a greater chance of winning.

    PDOIS has a presidential candidate. You are holding your convention and selecting your presidential candidate in April. If there is the desire to unite and field a single presidential candidate, you can start talking to each other. Who knows, maybe, there is a magic formula out there.

  23. Kamalo, so that is the reason why PDOIS did not want to join an alliance with UDP. I simply see that as blackmailing the country for their self ends. UDP should just move forward and forge alliance with other parties who are willing to work with them and leave PDOIS in their misery. I do believe that UDP can win the election hands down and more Gambians are seeing them as the last hope.