Gambia: Cracks on coalition that caused political tsunami

Gambia: Cracks on coalition that caused political tsunami

The political coalition that ousted former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh has failed to reach a conclusion, after two attempts, on selecting the modalities for choosing candidates for the country’s coming National Assembly elections.

Gaps among coalition parties on how to contest the coming National Assembly widens as they record another failure to reach a consensus on how they will contest the elective positions of the lawmaking body.

The coalition of seven opposition parties and one independent candidate have backed President Adama Barrow who ousted strongman Yahya Jammeh in one of Africa’s major electoral upsets ever.

The majority of the parties in the talks have argued that all prospective candidates resigned from their party and contest on an independent ticket.

However, the United Democratic Party leader Ousainou Darboe and Hamat Bah of the National Reconciliation Party have both argued for candidates to contest on their party tickets instead of independence.

“Nothing has been reached just yet. We are in consultation and we are meeting the president on Sunday,” Fatoumata Jallow said after their late Wednesday meeting at Kairaba.

The NRP wants to put up candidates in 51 of the 53 constituencies of the country, thus exempting Halifa Sallah’s Serrekunda and Sidia Jatta’s Wuli West.

Darboe holds a similar position to that of the NRP.

However, a highly placed source who was also in attendance of the meeting at Kairaba said that positions held by both Darboe and Hamat won’t hinder them.

Our source who is an executive member at one of the opposing parties said even NRP and UDP do not share the positions of Darboe and Hamat.

“We are going forward with our plans and the president is with us. This is a personal plan by Hamat and Ousainou and we are not listening to that. The president has accepted our proposal and he is a coalition candidate,” the source said.

“Hamat’s position is not a party position because even his constituency wants the coalition. They have even identified their own candidate already.”

Gambians are holding a National Assembly elections on April 6 and the coalition government needs a majority in the house to be able to push through their legal reforms agenda.

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