By Lamin Gano
For a moment, let us envision the UDP as a Boeing 707 plane which from 1996 until early 2016 had a very good pilot (Honourable Darboe) and a seasoned crew (the UDP’s top executives). The destination of course was and is still No 1 Marina Parade which has only one landing spot (the presidential seat). For the past 20 years, this pilot and his crew had been calling on the pilots and crews of other smaller aircrafts (the other opposition parties) to come on board the UDP Boeing for a faster, safer smoother and a guaranteed landing at the State House but with very little success. They have never been able to convince ALL the opposition parties to rally BEHIND them.
Now let us fast forward to August 2016. The pilot and all the members of his top crew have been unjustifiable kept out of the airport (the political field) thereby leaving behind their Boeing 707 (the party) with only its deputy flight attendants. Now without even identifying a new pilot, these deputy executives and their militants continue to maintain the old position of their predecessors that if there is to be any coalition, it must be led by the UDP.
What makes the UDP deputies and their militants to think/believe that they would succeed where Darboe and his top executive members had failed? What makes them to think/believe that any serious political party/leader worth their salt will board a flight without first knowing who the pilot is or his/her skills, qualifications, plans and programmes for the country?
Well I am not a spokesperson of the GDC or PDOIS but I seriously doubt that any influential, serious and seasoned politician/party such as the GDC and PDOIS will accept such a bizarre invitation. So therefore, what is the best way out of this political predicament? How do we ensure that only one candidate runs against Jammeh in December? The answer is clearly right out there in front of our eyes.
If anyone listened and carefully analyzed the remarks and posture of Mama Kandeh and the GDC during their first tour of the country, you will easily deduce their position with regards to the 2016 presidential elections. It is very very clear and unambiguous. The GDC will participate in the presidential elections AT ALL COST with Mama Kandeh’s name and picture on one of the ballot boxes. With or without a coalition, Mama Kandeh has shown every intent and purpose to run against Jammeh in December. He will neither retreat nor surrender and no one will stop him or can stop him except God.
So based on this explicit position of the GDC therefore, the best and perhaps the only way to avoid multiple candidates running against Jammeh this year is for the UDP and PDOIS to make a deal/agreement with the GDC. I deliberately did not mention the other parties (the S5) because if these three most influential opposition parties agrees on any deal, none of the remaining five will waste half a million dalasis to register for a contest they would most certainly not win.
And in my opinion, there is a very clear formula/basis for a deal/coalition between these three great parties. Let us all just imagine how wonderful it would be for our unity and progress to have a new government next year with Mama Kandeh as president, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe as Vice President and Halifa Sallah as Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service of the Republic of The Gambia? Is this not a win win deal upon which a coalition can be easily formed?
Honourable Darboe and Sallah have sacrificed a lot and suffered enough for the Gambia in the past two and three decades respectively and they deserve reprieve. This arrangement would therefore give these two fine gentlemen the opportunities to serve the people of the Gambia at least for the next five years while their respective deputy party leaders/successors take over the mantle of leadership of their parties and start learning/preparing for the 2021 elections. In this way, all the parties will be free to individually contest in the parliamentary elections thereby creating a well-balanced National Assemble in the Third Republic.
And as for the APRC who knows? My godfather may even decide to hand-over the leadership of the party to me if he is really fair to me. In that way, we too (the next generation of APRC stalwarts) will work hard to return the APRC to its former position of being the indomitable master of the political game!!!
Long live the Republic of The Gambia and her beautiful people.