Civil society leaders and youth activists are joining calls to endorse The Gambia’s first female presidential candidate after she laughed her bid last week.
Many of the country’s youth leaders have pledged not just to support her but actively take part in her campaign.
Touray, 61, has promised to create jobs, increase wages and reform the economy to encourage young people to stay in the country. She is seen as the solution to the opposition divide and to usher the country into a third republic through a democratic process.
The Gambia faces an existential threat of violent disintegration like many other African nations under tyranny before us. Therefore at this very moment as the nation bleeds and seeks to salvage itself, it needs a person of compassion and commitment and with a clear track record of selfless service and dedicated involvement in the protection of the human rights of Gambians to lead that process,” Madi Jobarteh.
There is a lot at stake as The Gambia head to the polls in December. The electoral climate was already marked by tensions after riot police used excessive forces against opposition supporters. More than 50 opposition supporters including senior members and leaders of the main United Democratic Party have been jailed for taking part in protests demanding electoral reform and release of opposition supporters.
The UN said two detainees have died, one tortured to death and that opposition detainees were denied medical care.
Pro-Coalition mediator Fatoumata Tambajang urged Dr. Touray and her campaign not to be intimated by the country’s spy agency, which has been used by Jammeh to arrest and detain his opponents and demanded for Gambian authorities to release women political prisoners during a speech at the launching of Dr. Touray’s campaign. She called Dr. Touray “pious and respectful,” and supports her bid to end the 22-year rule of President Jammeh and his APRC party.
Isatou’s work on women’s rights speaks directly to the very core of the political malaise confronting the nation and she has been heavily involved in the democratization process of the Gambia, according to Jobarteh.
“I have engaged and worked with Isatou in various processes and activities with various national and international stakeholders for the protection of human rights and the good governance of the Gambia,” the TANGO officer said.
The presidential candidate has urged for unity ahead of polls.