Someone tell Mama Kandeh that just because he won Barrow in a parliamentary run does not mean it will be the same in a presidential race.
In 2000, incumbent Democratic representative in the Illinois State Senate Bobby Rush defeated now U.S. President Barack Obama by 31 percent of the votes but four years later, Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate and four years down the line, he was elected the 44th President of the United States of America and four years after, he was re-elected again. This is Obama’s timeline from 2000 to 2012 – from losing a state senate seat to finishing two terms as a historic president.
Nothing against Mr. Rush but if he was to run for president of the U.S., he would not even get to first debate for democratic presidential hopefuls.
Mama Kandeh cross-carpeted from the NRP and joined the APRC to run for parliament. In 2007, he defeated the UDP’s Adama Barrow in Jimara. Mama Kandeh won 70 percent of the votes becoming the National Assembly Member for Jimara. He served only one term after being fired from the ruling APRC party in 2013. Whiles most of his colleagues ran as independent candidates in mayoral and parliamentary polls, he decided to go quite. Some of his expelled colleagues like Mayor Abdoulie Bah won Banjul.
But the reality is: Kandeh will not be able to win Jimara without APRC backing. Elections in the Gambia are so party centered and so disproportionate due to high political apathy, independents and oppositions find it difficult to run an issue based campaign.
With just that, Barrow belongs to the largest opposition party and if it is about the crowd, UDP would have long being the government and Ousainou Darboe the president. Just like Obama, he may have lost a parliamentary seat but having become the UDP presidential candidate was enough for him to rub sand into Kandeh’s face on December 1. Now that Barrow is backed by seven opposition parties, Kandeh would suffer a Sheriff Dibba: getting one vote in an entire constituency with all the euphoria surrounding your campaign.
It is clear that in the history of The Gambia, no one opposition party can defeat the incumbent on its own. Kandeh cannot unseat Jammeh by running alone. Losing half a million dalasis, no matter how rich one claims he is will soon bite him where it hurts the most. Kandeh will not get half the votes that Adama Barrow will secure not to talk of enough votes to defeat the king builder of bridges. Don’t be confused, I meant to say, Yahya Jammeh. Forget the rest of the many titles and names. I am not in the mood for that this morning.
Sheriff Dibba had a larger crowd than Kandeh but he also never listened and ran on his own. Well, the people of Jangjanbureh never disappoint. Has Kandeh being there?
But anyway, there is a medicine for one that suffers from a Sheriff Dibba. In Gambian politics, suffering from a Sheriff Dibba is like a stroke. You career becomes paralyzed and you join the APRC. Then you become even more vulnerable to Jammehism, which is like cancer, but there is a chemo for it and that’s Mile II prisons. By the time you come out, your cancer may be gone but if care is not taken, it will resurface. And for now, Mama Kandeh has all the signs of that.
But in the words of my friend Pata Saidykhan, whom I seldom agree with aside from loving chicken wings: “Noah’s ark did leave some behind.”
All the best of luck in losing miserably…I didn’t mention any name(s).
NOTE: Sorry NCP, it was just the only analogy in our history I can use. But you have redeemed your party. Off I go running to safety. Just to declare, I am hiding in the closet. My political version of R Kelly’s hiding in the closet. I may find Kandeh there and it will be the best way to pull out whatever is hidden there.