Please allow me to make the following clarifications in response to Ndey Sarr’s statement about Alkali Conteh.
Firstly, Dr Isatou Touray’s name came as a proposal alongside a suggestion that UDP should start the process of identifying a presidential candidate. No selection process was going on at the time neither was any other name proposed.
Secondly, Dr Isatou Touray’s did not even made it into the selection process because she made it clear she didn’t want to be a UDP candidate and thereby excluding herself.
Thirdly, the selection process was not looking for a candidate beyond UDP saved for the party’s willingness to rally behind an independent candidate in a coalition should other opposition parties reject a UDP led alliance proposal.
Fourthly, as far as the internal party selection process was concern, Adama Barow was not up against Dr Isatou Touray but Lamin Darboe and one Mr. Jarju. It was an exclusive UDP affair and Dr Touray’s name was not part of the list that was presented before the convention that selected Adama Barrow.
Fifthly, the UDP diaspora had no vote or say in the selection process. The selection was conducted by the selection committee of the party via a convention, under the leadership of the party president, Dembo Bojang (By force). The UDP diaspora only supported the candidate that has been officially adopted by the party which happened to be Adama Barrow.
Sixthly, after Barrow’s selection was confirmed, the party and its diaspora supporters all rallied behind him as per UDP tradition. He was no longer in competition with anyone as far as UDP candidacy was concern. So, the notion that UDP had rebels against Barrow in the diaspora is unfounded. We all worked tirelessly to firstly, see him become the coalition candidate and secondly, to get him elected as president.
Seventhly, Alkali has no control over the diaspora, he was sent to The Gambia with UDP diaspora money to lobby for jobs for the diaspora supporters, not to restructure the UDP. He had to take time off work to travel to Gambia for this. That’s why he had to return to the US.
Eighthly, the UDP Diaspora Strategy paper was adopted in 2015 and it is concern with reinforcing the party’s on-going efforts, at the time, to push for electoral reform and ensuring a level-playing field. It also seeks to enhance the capacity of the party’s women’s wing. These issues had been overtaken/overshadowed by events mainly the arrest of the national executive members, the coalition issue and of course the presidential election and it’s favourable outcome. Thus, it is misleading to say that Alkali had been sent to Gambia to discuss a strategy paper on re-structuring the UDP.
Finally, Alkali has no influence or capacity to take over the UDP. So, no serious person will take that issue seriously.
Lafia Touray la Manju