An independent presidential contender in The Gambia alleged on Tuesday that she was marginalized by opposition groups after information and paperwork relevant to her participation in a convention to select a coalition candidate were held back.
Touray is the first female presidential candidate in The Gambia and was seeking opposition support to challenge President Yahya Jammeh in December. She has denied reports that she quitted unity talks to run on her own.
“I was discriminated, marginalized and suffered information blackout in the whole process of the coalition convention, including who funded and how delegates should be lodged,” said Touray.
Touray a rights defender said she was not served with the coalition agreement documents that all presidential candidates were supposed to sign until a day after the convention, accusing the mediators of not being forthcoming and the process not being transparent.
“There was a deliberate effort to marginalize me, there was no transparency and I never knew where the funds came from. I was kept in darkness and Fatoumata Tambajang of GOFER was not forthcoming. The warming up was not towards me,” Dr. Isatou Touray.
Until recently, party-led coalition efforts had failed and Sunday’s convention saw the voting of UDP’s Adama Barrow as coalition nominee with the backing of seven opposition parties. Touray hinted she will support the outcome of the convention and help the coalition unseat President Jammeh.
Jammeh is seeking a fifth mandate and facing his toughest challenge yet to retain his presidency. Opposition activists blamed the country’s 22-year ruler of breaking its vibrant multi-party democracy and putting the country into an economic recession.