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.