In The Gambia, a political party formed by a former economic migrant in Germany is branding itself as the new underdog of small state’s politics to end what it calls the country’s struggle for good leadership.
It is eyeing the presidency and its leaders say they are confident of upsetting the country’s next presidential polls and emerging with the next leader of this nation of fewer than two million people.
The Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress says it is ready to take over the government from President Adama Barrow. The GPDP backed Barrow’s presidency, defeating the longtime president, Yahya Jammeh in 2016.
“As we speak we are only aiming for the presidency. We are very confident that we will rule this country in the not too long-distant future. We are coming with force. We want to take over this country because we have seen that time after time, we have been struggling with leadership,” Fatoumata Darboe, the party’s deputy leader said.
The party chief, Henry Gomez is Mr. Barrow’s Minister of Youths and Sports. He was unable to run for office in 2006 after failing to meet the residency requirement. He has since joined the political powerhouse UDP in a coalition but denies it is a shadow party.
GPDP leaders say they are confident that they have what it takes to rule mainland Africa’s smallest nation and give a surprise win in the presidential polls expected in 2021.
Gambians head to the polls in April to vote for their local government officials. The GPDP has put up at least two dozen candidates for the polls, mostly in provincial Gambia as a test of its growth. It has, however, not put up candidates for the mayorship of three main cities, including the capital, Banjul, which would have been a test of its strength.
It has no member of parliament and none of its members have ever won public office more than 14 years and three electoral cycles after its founding. But they are hopeful and want to change the political landscape.
“We want to change the game. Change the game in the sense of being transparent and honest. Gone are those days when politicians will just talk and people will clap and dance,” said senior party member, Abdoulie Mendy.
“We are ready to lead. But it would depend on the Gambian people to decide whether they would vote for us or other parties which will end up enslaving them.”