If the news or I hope it is mere rumor circulating is true, then we are about to fall off the cliff. It is being reported that the Coalition has been unable to agree on a unified strategy to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections as some member parties prefer to go it alone. This may be because individual member parties are looking far too ahead of themselves, thinking about political opportunities after the three or five year term-limit of President Adama Barrow. It is important for all and sundry to understand that it took us two decades and dozens if not hundreds of innocent lives and bastardization of our economy as well as our social fabric for us to throw away our individual egos and ambitions and came together to send our common tormentor on exile. This achievement is not the sole work or efforts of any individual party or citizen. It has only been possible through our collective efforts. The diaspora Gambians contributed their dollars and used social media to campaign and convince family and friends to dump Jammeh for a better system. Gambians at home even sacrificed more by coming out and supported the Coalition in all forms fully knowing the risk associated with that in Jammeh’s Gambia. In our time of need, specifically during the political impasse, our neighbours in the ECOWAS region and AU in general have invested their valuable time and resources to support us to make sure we get rid of the evil Jammeh regime. Mobilization of Ecomig forces and endless ECOWAS summits cost millions of dollars.
Are you coalition leaders oblivious to all these sacrifices? Or do you think the ordinary Gambians who sacrifice in one way or the other are idiots? Thinks twice. Do not let your egos or individual selfish political interests kill the aspirations of hundreds of thousands of Gambians who have been patiently waiting far too long for a true democratic and responsive government. Any participation by the coalition in the upcoming parliamentary elections short of a unified force or at least strategic alliance is doomed to fail and will surely unravel our hard fought achievements. You members of the Coalition if you are listening please take into account the following points:
- If you contest the parliamentary elections individually, you are going to split the potential coalition votes among yourselves. This fragmentation of your votes will make winning extremely difficult if not impossible. Remember as a coalition, you pulled less than 45% of the votes and if you have to split that percentage among competing coalition party members you are surely not going to win. Do the Mathematics!
APRC party is still alive. Ignore them at your peril. They pulled closed to 40% of the votes. Assuming their popularity has gone down since the exiling of their benefactor and the ensuing enlightenment of the Gambian population since then, that does not mean they are dead. They still have their supporters. Any sign of weakness in the Coalition will encourage a lot of people to stay with APRC.
Mama Kandeh’s GDC pulled 17% of the votes on its own. With a fragmented Coalition fighting for votes among its supporters, Kandeh’s party can easily come out as the winner. Ignore this scenario at your own peril.
A discord within the coalition can actually jolt APRC and Mama Kandeh to form a strategic alliance and sweep the polls. They can wait until last minute and form this alliance when they know that it is too late for the Coalition to unite.
The outcome of these scenarios will be a national assembly dominated by APRC/opposition which will make the reforms that we want to achieve impossible. We did not vote for you for you to become another “African leaders” who think they are privilege to be presiding over us. The coalition needs a total control of the national assembly to accomplish the changes we need in our economy, police, army etc. and ensure swift delivery of justice for the victims of Yaya’s twenty-two years of brutality.
The way forward for the Coalition is to drop your individual or party ambitions and look at the interests of the Gambia as a whole so that you can sweep the national assembly elections and accomplish the necessary reforms that will lay the foundation for future prosperity of the Gambia. As it stands, you have only two options that will lead to success. You must come together and field independent candidates in every constituency in the name of the coalition and this independent candidates can come from individual member parties depending on who is strong where. How you allocate these candidates, you should figure that out. You are adults!
The second option is similar to the first in that you will present candidates in the name of individual parties but strategically avoiding competing among yourselves. Here again you will decide which member party will present a candidate in which constituency and the rest of the member parties will avoid presenting their own candidates and rather rally around that chosen candidate. You should figure out how to do that since you are all adults.
As a final appeal, you must act now and decisively and show the wounded Gambian population that you could be trusted to do the right thing. Go into this parliamentary elections as a unified coalition so that we can sweep the polls and accomplish together what we have started. You will never be forgiven if you let your egos and political ambitions blind you to the collective aspiration of Gambians. We have come too far to fail at this point. Do the right thing!