Why UDP’s Choice Is Right

Adama Barrow The main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has finally crossed the crucial bridge of nominating a presidential candidate for December 1st election. Such a process is usually tedious and painful because hard choices have to be made. It is a process whose result is not acceptable by everyone. But the way and manner the UDP has weathered the storm is commendable. The naming of Adama Barrow is a perfect choice for a party that has been at the receiving end of tribalism. Despite its diverse nature, the UDP has been branded by the enemies of truth as a Mandinka party. Peddlers of such unfounded statement should have openly told us about their hidden hatred for the UDP. Even when the party is now headed by a Wolof woman, these people still see the UDP as a Mandinka property. Instead of advocating for opposition to agree on fielding a single candidate to wrestle Dictator Jammeh, these people who had earlier shunned elections, wanted every party to name a candidate except the largest opposition party. Their weak argument is that the UDP boycott will honour Solo Sandeng’s efforts. These people can’t ignore the fact that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe’s beliefs in the power of election which is why he wanted all executive deputies to stay behind and continue the fight.

Now that the UDP nominated the man most people agree is honest, credible, industrious and considerate, the same people who only acknowledge the party’s power during crisis have the audacity to say that everyone should rally behind an independent candidate. One political activist said the goal here is to belittle the biggest opposition party. “It’s sheer arrogance to tell us that we abandon our candidate and rally behind someone who refuses to fight along with us. Politics is all about compensation. What has Dr. Touray done to warrant us to abandon our pick for her? We want an opposition unity but any attempt to disrespect or discredit our party is unacceptable,” said a loyal UDP member.

Mr. Barrow is a mixed breed Gambian who speaks Mandinka, Fula, Wolof and Sarahule. He has wielded significant amount of likeability and trust among all those who brush shoulder with him. Barrow, a cool-headed guy who enjoys problem solving through compromise, does not hesitate to invest heavily in the UDP. His loyalty to the party and leadership have never wavered. “I have worked with Adama Barrow. His honesty and the love for his country cannot be questioned. Adama has earned the nomination,” Mai Ceesay, the Female Youth President of the UDP, said. “He is the perfect candidate for the job.”

What Gambians must ask as we approach this very crucial election is whether to rally behind the largest opposition party or an independent candidate. Let Gambians on the ground get to the negotiation table and agree on not only a coalition but also a winning formula.



  1. I believe everyone has the right to listen to all the candidates and then make their mind up who they should vote for – be it the traditional parties, or a well renowned independent candidate. Dr tourays’ campaign is obviously very well planned, and it was a great sign that Adama from UDP was there to show mutual support. Dr Touray herself has stated she will only serve one term, so her priority will be to 1) unite an effective opposition and get jammeh out. 2) reverse his mad policies and start creating a structure to address immediate and pressing national concerns 3) pave the way for elections in 2021 where all political parties will be able to participate and find the best possible solutions for The Gambia as it deserves

  2. Who is the author or is this an editorial?

    Yes the choice of Adama Barrow is right and UDP is indeed to be commended for a very transparent and due diligence in selecting a candidate. It is also noted that the party’s affairs are done in a manner that apparently leaves no sour taste among the rank and files.

    Now there are many views regarding the best approach to Dr. Touray’s candidature. Following weeks will clear up her prospects of generating support without a major party behind her.

    Therefore I welcome with great appreciation that Dr. Touray began her launching maiden speech by honouring the 2 Solo’s (Sandeng /Koromah) ultimate sacrifice for our land. She went on to characterise Darboe as the “leader” in illegal detention. It is also symbolic that Mr. Barrow in his capacity as UDP Flagbearer, was invited and rightly graced the occasion.

    Hence , I believe Dr. Touray provides the compromise if any one is serious with coalition. If not UDP is now equipped to put together a coalition of the willing to continue the struggle to rescue our country from utter barbarity.

    • What went wrong with “Gambia United For Change” (“Coalition Of The Willing) put up for UDP, PPP, GMC & NRP (but NRP backed out chasing seats in by-elections and PDOIS left out or alienated); that held two rallies in November 2013 and December 2013? What made you failed to keep that sham “Coalition Of The Willing” or “Alliance”; without PDOIS invited into it or getting involved?


      Continue bragging “Largest opposition” as political prisoners continue to languish in Jail and another atrocious term for Jammeh/APRC and hardship for its citizens!

      • You will not have a perfect coalition even if UDP would endorse Mr. Sallah tomorrow. You will still have fringe or extreme elements on both sides who will insist on preference for their party. That is normal and that is why your reaction to my input is equally normal.
        I think what is decisive, by the way in all settings, is for the moderates and far-sighted to hammer out a compromise fair enough to all participating in the endeavour.
        I trust we may see pragmatism winning over emotions and long-held dislike for one another in the opposition. An antipathy that has been rigorously cultivated by the regime to divide -and-rule the opposition.

  3. In every country were there is the kind of situation the other parties rally behind the biggest party , were was Dr Touray when things were hurt and bad, those who are pushing her are those who don’t want to see UDP leadership in Gambia, that is all, i am sure Gambian people will not vote for her as she was not even know in the Kombos rather than up, i hope that UDP leadership will not go with this idea if Dr touray is really sincere let her join UDP. Not UDP joining her

    • Modou, if I am correct, Dr. Touray has been very vocal against the killing of Solo Sandeng and maltreatment of Mrs Jawara and Mrs Njie.

      Again she provides an opportunity for compromise. The regime did not probably calculate someone her calibre would emerge from the flanks to stand. They probably thought by incarcerating the whole UDP , the choice for leadership would be greatly diminished.

      Hence the candidature provides a broaden choice of electable candidates. I think Dr. Touray is well qualified and has the wisdom to collaborate with all parties to build a formidable front against the regime. She can be a consensus candidate that is also in the interest of the UDP. Indeed her win or not win will greatly depend on the collaboration of the major parties among them prominently the UDP.

  4. I hope that what ever decision UDP makes regarding the proposal for Dr Touray to lead a coalition is not based only on UDP’s interest but the national interest in general. If her nomination as a compromise candidate will ameliorate or even end this bitter wrangling between the opposition parties, then it is worth the support of the UDP. It is obvious also that a unified front is the most effective force against the rotten politics of Jammeh.

    Clearly any support UDP or any other party gives to Dr Touray’s candidature is least likely to be a wasted investment for a number of reasons. Firstly the foundation of our democracy will be rebuilt as shown by her manifesto that spelt out the fundamentals required for a peaceful nation and for economic and social progress. Specifically she reiterated her intention to serve for only one term. Secondly Dr Touray’s qualification to pursue her manifesto statements or to handle the responsibilities of the office of the president is unquestionable considering her level of academic training and her work experience at the grassroots level. These credentials are useful for leaders who are required to handle complex social problems as leadership theorists have often prescribed. Thirdly, and equally important, is the way the candidature of a woman will contribute to the strengthening of our democracy and enhancing social progress. It will serve as a model for the upliftment of at least fifty percent of our population and and an opportunity for greater economic and social inclusion of women.

    • Mr. Jawneh, quite a good foresight you’ve got into a Dr. Isatou Touray/ UDP fusing with regards to sustaining a civil democratic society in the Gambia but Mr. Modou too, might have his good reasons to doubt or even the refute this idea.

      I think I like @Modou question;’where was Dr. Touray when thing were hurt and bad’?

      Supprise to know she didn’t have an exigent rapport with the grassroot people….

  5. Kinteh, my brother, I am 52 years old and have work in many parts of the Gambia until I left the country, I don’t know any by the name Isatou touray, if I am right every 10 Gambian you ask about her for sure 9 of them will tell you they don’t know her. The little they know about her was when she was arrested by the Government sometimes ago, and for the past 20 years she was not even involved in political parties in the Gambia. Just know that every one knows that change is coming and every one is coming out, that is not how it works. Dr Touray condemned Solo Sandeng’s death. Yes, I agree with that but where was she when Darboe and his people were going out, where was she when Darboe was taken to court. She should have called a press conference and asked the freedom of Darboe and his people. Using Solo as a way to divide people is not going to work. Let her join UDP.
    The people who don’t want UDP leadership are the ones pushing her, so let us be real. When Senegalese want to take Abdou Diouf they join Wade because he has the biggest party so should Gambians do too join UDP after 2 years then they can do as they wish.

    • Why should it be “Party-led” strategy and not “Grande Coalition” for UNITED NATIONAL FRONT? Why can’t UDP advocate for UNITED NATIONAL FRONT or be ready to join it on equal terms for transitional programme, leadership and government of national unity in waiting to implement the rectification and transitional programme within 5year term?

      UNITED NATIONAL FRONT is worth promoting to guarantee victory and free all political prisoners December 2016!

    • Then you are my Dad – if the old tradition has still essence. Happy that we have agreed to disagree in decorum irrespective of our age differences.

      I think there is an opportunity and I think what ever comes, UDP should not allow itself be used as a bulwark against Dr. Touray. No matter the differences, her decision to come in at a time of leadership vacuum, to an extent, must be seen as a blessing in disguise.

      • Mama Kanteh and Dr. Isatou Touray are not blessing in disguise if there is no United National Front (for opposition front in spirit of national unity, compatriotism and solidarity) to liberate the nation from tyranny.If their ambition is to become President and their marabouts encourage them, there will be more complications, rivalry and division; within opposition front.

        Mama Kanteh is stealing votes from APRC defectors because they were part of the APRC networks but Dr. IsaTouray will wreck UDP more than any political party for stealing their voters to support her bid.

        Think about that!

  6. Continue wishful thinking, considering “Mix-&-Match” and building castles in the air as nation yearns for liberation! Time has ran out already and if you are power hungry until Jammeh/APRC escape loosing elections of December 2016, you will regret. Still dreaming of UDP Presidency and government, dream on with fantasy of dominance (of other opposition parties) instead of floating a transitional strategy through United National Front (for opposition front of all registered political parties and Independent Candidates) !

    PDOIS Secretary General Halifa Sallah has declared that December 2016 is about LIBERATION and not about imposition of self-perpetuating of any party! Many


  7. Modou, that should’ve been the ideal situational approach but every circumstance needs specific approaching for maximal effects…

    In a unison, with all opposition combined, we stand better chance to free the UDP executive & all comrades & anybody else currently under illegal kidnap, forceful capture & in incarceration faster; as well as avert the imminent civil strife that heads our way as a nation if the status quo continues…

    Beyond that, the sky is the limit for all Gambians in a levelled political playing field…

    Please let’s all look at the broader picture for our collective common good…

    Long live the Gambia…

  8. I get worried when I read views as expressed @Modou, because the impression I get is that political office is sought for the rewards in it, rather for the honour and peivilege to serve country and that those who “arrive” late on the political scene, have done so to “steal” the rewards that are about to be reaped by those who have been there from the beginning..

    I am not making this up, but I even heard a commentator, one whom I respect very much for his command of the Mandinka language, threatening the flow of blood in our streets, if those intellectuals and businessmen who have done nothing during the struggle, turn up to run the country, post Jammeh…

    I don’t think it matters who turns up onto the scene now…What matters is that we have a clearly defined and agreed collaboration strategy to defeat Jammeh first, steer the country through an orderly transition period, hold reasonably free and fair elections and usher in the 3rd Republic with whatever party wins the people’s mandate..

    We should not worry about who was where and doing what, at what time..All should be welcomed..”We are in this together.. “

  9. Disclaimer!! As Modou is a common name in Senegambia, it is not unexpected to have more than one of that name in a discussion forum like Kairo.

    Kairo managers would know my email address is different from the modou in this particular thread. Nothing against what modou is saying, but I guess i should refer to myself in future postings as modou#2.

    You say all a result of complications of anonymous postings. That’s why I say BURKAS, BURKINIS, NIKABS, and all disguises should be banned !!!!!

  10. Gambians are hypocrites that is why Yaya Jammeh is crusting them like ants. Yaya is the best candidate to rule this tiny illiterase people. Gambians don’t know what is good for them, instead of coming together to fight a dictator and have a lasting peace they are fighting each other on tribal line. This is silly, how can a minority fight against the majority? This is madness. Yaya will stay again for another term which will be our own fault.