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Posted - 17 Nov 2013 :  22:17:24  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message

10 November, 2013

Issued On Behalf of the Central Committee of PDOIS

Halifa Sallah

Secretary General

The attention of the PDOIS Central Committee was drawn to comments of the GMC leader, Mr Mai Fatty, regarding unity among the opposition, singling out PDOIS as a party that is respectable while implying that it has chosen not to unite with other parties . The relevant text reads:

Mai Fatty issued the following statement on Friday November 1, 2013:
“Having read and listened to most of the comments about the failure of PDOIS to embrace the four opposition Parties (GMC/UDP/NRP/PPP) Joint Press Conference regarding our Position on the anti- Mandinka vitriolic of Yaya Jammeh, I wish to state this:-

“I have the utmost respect for Hon. Halifa Sallah and PDOIS. Though GMC and PDOIS are at parallel angles of the philosophical divide, there are grounds providing sufficient basis for closely working together on areas of convergence, such as reforms in the electoral process, compliance with the rule of law, human rights and the equitable access to information infrastructure.
“Their absence from the Joint Press conference and the initiatives behind it was a decision PDOIS made as a political Party.
“Much as I may not agree with their reasons, I respect and appreciate their independent right to that decision and judgment, and I would not second guess them. In another instance, GMC as a sovereign (to borrow the word) political Party had strong reasons to dissociate itself from the G6 on the contents of its Press Release dealing with the death penalty, and we informed Gambians publicly as to why. Political Parties will never agree on ALL of the issues because they operate on different political Agenda.
“The significant differences on core and preponderating issues appear formidably irreconcilable, with the usual polemics and dogma from one side impossible to break. The idea of 100% consensus among the opposition political parties are (sic) therefore unrealistic. Time to face the truth and plan against this fact, but there will always be a coalition of like minds. The heat should remain on Yaya Jammeh and the APRC. Keep your eyes on the ball.”

Such types of comments from a Party leader without stating his parties position on the concrete terms of the type of unity he is advocating, on one hand , and, on the other hand, not quoting anything PDOIS has written, or its leadership had uttered or done, that contradicts the principles of unity , are at best unconventional and unprincipled and at worst , misleading.

Of course, everyone has read the statement we have issued on the subjects mentioned by Mr Fatty which we will forward to the voice newspaper that published his views for onward transmission to their readers. We are working on the ground and decided to give the public policy options not simply reacting to a statement made as if that is not the normal parlance of President Jammeh. People may compare our statement with that of the group of four namely, UDP, PPP, NRP and GMC and pass their judgment.

It is however necessary for PDOIS to clearly state its current strategy on Opposition Unity to clear the air. Furthermore, Mr Fatty has drawn a clear line of demarcation between PDOIS and his party, GMC, without stating concretely what the essence of the policy differences is. According to him, his philosophy and PDOIS’ philosophy are different and added that he respects PDOIS’ philosophy but prefers to defer .These types of diplomatic statements are often repeated by many people who wish to give the impression that they are holding on to some ideas that are as profound, or more profound, than the policies PDOIS is propagating without making any attempt to give any concrete explanation what the policy differences are .

It is important to state without any ambiguity that PDOIS has written extensively on the fundamental difference between ideology, philosophy and science. PDOIS has never proclaimed an Ideology or philosophy. Throughout its existence, PDOIS has maintained that a philosophy or ideology outside the bounds of scientific thought is at best wishful thinking and at worst fairy tale or fiction.

PDOIS is of the view that to address the problem of poverty and attain the goals of prosperity, one must grasp the scientific fundamentals of economics. On the order hand, to address the problems of rights and liberties, one must address the fundamentals of political science, which is the science of the state.

Hence, we will first summarise what PDOIS stands for before going further to explain what our policy is on unity among opposition forces. We hope Mr Fatty will explain where we differ and invite us for a debate on those issues at any forum of his choice, be it Freedom Radio, or any other media of his choice that is accessible to us. Since he is a party leader who chose to speak about our differences, the public is entitled to know what those differences are, so that they would be able to independently determine for themselves what constitutes the most convincing viewpoint that should inform their choice of leadership.


PDOIS came into being to affirm that the Republic is the highest phase of a Democratic state which recognises no other status but that of the sovereign person, in whom the sovereignty of the country resides, from whom the authority to govern at village, district, Regional and National levels, must be derived and to whom equal rights and entitlement to public services must be accorded, in the community of persons equal in sovereignty that constitutes the citizenry and the nation.

This Sovereign Community of free and equal persons must ensure that a social space is created to enable each sovereign person to move about freely to acquire the means of survival without suffering any harm to his or her physical person, or any loss to his or her possessions.

Such protection must be guaranteed by instruments such as laws , institutions such as a House of Representatives, National Assembly or Parliament, and through implementation mechanisms such as policies, plans , programmes ,strategies and time bound agenda, which must be put in place with the guidance of public trustees who derive their mandate from the people on the basis of their competence and trustworthiness , and not on the basis of their status at birth, place of origin, gender, colour, ethno-linguistic or tribal classification, religion and other demographic characteristics that must be recognised as social facts that should not lead to the erosion of self esteem, but must never be regarded as an achievement meriting any social reward and sense of pride.

Since everyone is interested in liberty and prosperity, all should be wise enough to know who to entrust the responsibility of managing the affairs of the nation, through their vote, which is their sovereign power and voice with which they become the decision makers who determine who runs the affairs of the country and how.

PDOIS has put its programme before the people, since its inception, on how to promote prosperity and eradicate poverty. It has indicated that the country has enough resources that should be a source of sovereign National Wealth which could be utilised to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity. We have emphasised that an economy with a narrow capital investment, production and tax base, must focus on mineral, oil or other resources, to accumulate sovereign National wealth for public sector use in infrastructural development, loan repayments and provision of social services, thus enabling the government to rationalise taxation by making it affordable and sustainable, and promote capital formation from all sectors of the economy, public, private , cooperative and informal sectors to ensure a balanced and proportionate growth of the productive base of the economy to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity.

The Public sector will be the engine of safeguarding general prosperity and welfare by accumulating sovereign National wealth, and mobilising sustainable loans, to build infrastructure and provide social services. The Private sector will be the engine of mobilising capital and foreign direct investment for productive private sector investment to complement the aim of promoting poverty eradication and general welfare through corporate responsibility. The cooperative sector will be the engine of accumulation of Cooperative finances for grassroots development. The informal sector will be the means for promoting a multiplier effect of development down to all sectors which are not reached by the formal sector. This is PDOIS’ strategy for promoting prosperity and eradicating poverty.

In the area of liberty, PDOIS has advocated for a state that exists for the people rather than the people existing for the state. It is convinced that Government is not an end in itself but a means to promote liberty and prosperity.

Hence, PDOIS aims to decentralise power by ensuring that the authority of the people will determine how each sovereign community is managed, be it at village, district, Regional or National levels. It will create Commissions to monitor different areas of National life, such as the human rights of the people and empower them to monitor, name and shame defaulters and have their members serve as friends of courts who would give evidence in case of trial.

PDOIS is of the view that social justice is inconceivable without social auditing. Therefore PDOIS stands for the participation of people in managing National Affairs. It will therefore govern with the involvement of people organised into civil associations such as unions, professional associations, rights, gender and age based associations, that will criticise, scrutinise and restrain misrepresentation, bad governance, mismanagement and impunity, on one hand, and on the other, serve as the ears, eyes and mouths of the people to speak truth to authorities in defence of the public interest.

PDOIS maintains that all laws and institutions that do not protect and enlarge liberties, rights, security, safety and freedoms for a sovereign people, are not fit to be maintained. PDOIS stands for the enactment of laws and the establishment of institutions that enlarge and protect rights and freedoms. It will ensure that any convention it ratifies will automatically be domesticated by the promulgation of the relevant clauses in the constitution.

PDOIS has been advocating for a leadership that would enlarge the liberties and prosperity of the Gambian people, to such an extent that the country would earn the moral authority to influence developments that would make Africa and the world a collective home for human kind, living in peace, prosperity and happiness.

PDOIS has given a more concrete expression of these general policy ingredients in its Agenda 2016 Briefs, which will be circulated far and wide to enable people to focus more concretely on what PDOIS intends to do in order to enhance prosperity and promote liberty.

PDOIS pursued this agenda under the first Republic and the second Republic, so that its policies, strategic plans, programmes and normative practices would be backed with electoral authority in order to institutionalise Secular Democratic culture, so that all the chains that bind people under poverty, state repression, caste systems and patriarchal backwardness, would be broken once and for all.


PDOIS was 8 years old when the coup occurred in 1994. Even though the PDOIS leadership was invited into the provisional government of the coup makers, it maintained its distance and argued that removing a President should not be equated with, or translated to, the negation of the Republic and the sovereignty of the people.

We therefore called on the coup makers to convene a Sovereign National conference, involving all political parties, which would put in place a transitional government and programme to ensure the restoration of the Republic and the sovereignty of the people which should culminate in the holding of free and fair elections. PDOIS’ leadership did not abandon other political parties to pursue its individual party interest. It chose to fight for all political parties by challenging Decree No 4 which banned political association and political party activities. It continued to challenge the coup makers to accommodate political parties to have a say in determining the destiny of the country by convening a Sovereign National Conference of all stakeholders, political parties included.

The Coup makers did not accept the National conference, but conceded to a National Consultative Exercise and established the NCC, on 13th December, 1994, which came up with a two year transition programme.

Since no home based civil society segment had the audacity to monitor the transition process, PDOIS’ leadership, just as it was in the case of the witchcraft debacle, took the role of civil society to explain to people what the most important instruments, institutions and processes were to enable the country to return to a government determined by elections and a constitutional order.

We explained the four components that were indispensable to restore the Republic, namely, a Constitution, Electoral Laws, an Independent Electoral Commission and Civic Education. We proposed a model transition programme, a model constitution, a model electoral law and a model civic education programme.

We are sure that the Commissions and Committees set up did take a word or two from our proposals. No other political leadership made proposals. Instead many continue up to today to mislead their followers to believe that a draft constitution which came into force after the Presidential elections of 1996, and the National Assembly Elections of 1997, was meant to prolong military rule which came to a definitive end when the 1997 Constitution came into force. Even though all political leaders knew that one could not restore the Republic without a Republican constitution, even though no legal expert in the Gambia had ever expressed doubt that the 1997 Constitution is a refined version of the 1970 constitution and is superior to it in content, there are still some confused people who claim that the 1997 Constitution should not have been supported. Political leaders have refused to enlighten people to know that the content of the 1997 Constitution was sufficient to return the country to constitutional rule and could have been improved if a government committed to a more democratic administration was elected in 1996. Any political leader or legal expert who disagrees with these assertions should challenge us to a debate on any of them for a debate, national or international.


It was clear to all Gambians, who could accept truth when they see it, that neither the continued stay of the coup makers, after the transition, nor the restoration of those overthrown, would lead to a genuine multi-party system characterised by tolerance of divergent views. Hence at the end of the transition, PDOIS expected that the opposition leaders under the first Republic would meet to decide on how to come up with one candidate from the opposition of the first Republic who would accommodate the coup makers and those overthrown upon victory and would serve only one term to preside over Constitutional, and electoral reform, maintain an accountable and transparent administration, open the media to divergent views, allow political parties their fullest freedom to operate and hold genuine elections that would give rise to a genuine multi party system. This would have provided the country with the first peaceful transfer of political power from one person to the other in the history of the Country.

Unfortunately, those who were overthrown felt that they could come back to power based on their imagined popularity; and those who overthrew them had the might of the state with its collateral power to induce and inflict fear, and felt that they could retain power after the transition. Hence, in 1996, the anti- coup and anti -restoration camps took centre stage and fought their battle to the finish. PDOIS continued its programme to call on the people to know that the only way to eradicate poverty and depreciation of liberty was to have a government that has no axe to grind with anyone, but was only committed to enlarging the liberty and prosperity of the people.

The lesson became clear in 2001; that as long as politics in the Gambia was reduced to a combat between pro coup and pro restoration camps, we would remain in this vicious cycle until all players headed to the grave or the country splits into warring factions headed by warlords, as we now see in Libya.

PDOIS has never sought power for itself since the coup. It had always advocated that a transitional government was necessary that was not allied to any of the two camps, which would build a country that all sides would be proud of and would find secure to live in without any fear of victimisation or revenge.

We thought that the lesson had been learnt when we were approached, after our National Assembly electoral victory in 2002, to coordinate the formation of an Opposition alliance. We accepted the role even though PDOIS was in the ascendancy and had nothing to gain as a party by joining an opposition alliance. We accepted it only in the National interest and kept our word up to the end.

To ensure that we had an Alliance that would not be the property of any given party, and whose Presidential candidate would not be identified with any given party , we established NADD to try and seat a- one- term leader, like Nelson Mandela, who would preside over a coalition government that would put in place a genuine Republican Constitution, electoral laws and an independent Electoral Commission, ensure financial discipline in public administration and public enterprises and preside over free and fair elections. We agreed that if the leaders were divided in their selection, we should go for a Primary as had recently happened in Venezuala. We were the first to propose such a popular mechanism for determining the candidature of an alliance. NADD would have been the first in the world to do this.

NADD won more by- elections than the APRC and was ahead in the popular vote. After all these victories, NADD should have gone on to make its provincial tours, but some leaders blocked any movement unless we selected a Presidential Candidate. The impasse in the selection should have led to a primary, as conducted by the United Front in 2011. However, some did not wait for a primary, or request for others to step down, as we did to make the United Front have a candidate. NADD borrowed heavily from the PDOIS leadership to maintain its headquarters, conduct rallies, finance post by- election expenditures and conduct other administrative activities. Instead of PDOIS elected National Assembly members focusing on their constituencies, they focused their resources, energies and time to consolidate NADD. Unfortunately, some leaders simply deserted. Who then was an obstacle to unity?

PDOIS leadership was marooned in NADD since two members of its leadership, who originally won their seats as PDOIS Candidates, eventually stood as NADD candidates and won. After the desertions, they could not become PDOIS National Assembly members again without losing their seats and head for another expensive by -election.

Hence NADD had to go on despite its fractured clout due to the desertions. It was however embarrassing for NADD to collapse because of desertions. Hence the process continued. A member of the PDOIS leadership was unanimously selected to be the Presidential Candidate. Mr Lamin Juwara was made Campaign Manager.

Mr Omar Jallow and Mr Ganyie Touray were supposed to handle the North Bank. PDOIS repaired two PPP transports for the North Bank. The first blow was the desertion of Ganyie Touray and the loss of one transport we had repaired. Mr Omar Jallow was also flown to UK because of illness. The northern flank of our electoral battle collapsed before we even started.

Observing that NADD as an Alliance had no resources of its own to launch a Presidential Campaign, and the selection of a presidential candidate was just in pursuit of a process required by the memorandum of understanding which was too late in the day to reverse, the NADD candidate requested for authorisation to negotiate with the UDP leader and that was accepted in the hope that he would propose to come back to NADD and convey his terms. After many efforts, it became clear that returning to NADD to renegotiate candidature was not an option, when the NRP leader, who was an ally of the UDP leader, made that clear at a press conference in the US.

The PDOIS leadership seconded to NADD met and agreed to put PDOIS ‘ funds at the disposal of NADD and further made plans for a strategic withdrawal to allow a two way presidential race should we hit the campaign trail and discovered a cold reception from the electorate.

NADD’ flag bearer hit the campaign trail only once and had a reception that gave every indication that it was a force to reckon with. However, the campaign was marred by the hostility of the NADD campaign manager to the UDP leadership that expelled him from their party. Hence, when the UDP campaign team followed NADD’S trail, the war of words between the two political adversaries intensified.

For a while, it appeared that NADD had the upper hand in terms of reception during the tour.

However, when we returned to base and started to prepare for the elections, it became clear that we had lost the battle before we started. What we had always hidden from the record is that the base that Mr Lamin Juwara relied on to do his mobilisation was the traditional base of the ex-Head of state which he had previously mobilised in support of the UDP.

We do not know whether the information we received of the powerful person who asked all those people to abandon NADD is correct or not, but what is evident is that most of NADD organisers and their families in CRR began to put APRC flags at their gates. We later received information that our host in Brikama Ba, where we slept during our tour, had an APRC flag at his gate, which we confirmed.

Because of time and resource constraint and hesitation to defer with the campaign manager, we ignored our own constituency that could not understand our rapprochement with PPP. Neglecting our own constituency, thinking that their support was already assured, while concentrating on the Campaign Chairman’s campaign trail, when our own constituency had mobilised themselves to receive us, but never saw us, resulted in their alienation and drove them into political apathy. They later blamed the PDOIS leadership for playing into the hands of people who would be happy to see us fail. We had to do a lot of apology and explanation afterwards to get them to understanding what a united front was and why it was necessary as a transitional arrangement aimed at building a genuinely democratic multi party system, which would enable the people to have sufficient information about candidates and their programmes to be able to make informed choices. This was why we could get many of them on board when we launched Agenda 2011.

The 2006 Presidential election was a disaster. We ended with 6 percent of the votes and UDP had 27 percent. More than forty percent of the registered voters did not vote.

PDOIS stayed in NADD to contest the National assembly and Local Government Elections. Hostilities among the opposition parties were the order of the day. NADD called for Tactical Alliance so that one opposition candidate would contest each seat but it was rejected. Opposition parties put up candidates in Constituencies where other opposition parties and Independent candidates had comparative advantage to win. In many constituencies the combined opposition had more votes than the APRC. The opposition came up with only five seats in 2007.


During the National Assembly elections, we received information that Mr Juwara was assisting the APRC Candidate in his Constituency. His party later left NADD and initiated a rapprochement with the APRC.


Before the 2011 Presidential Election, strong candidates, like Rambo from the camp of the UDP, and strong allies of OJ, like ML Touray and Pa Sainey Jallow who followed him to NADD, also made open attacks on the opposition and disserted to the APRC.


It was clear to us that opposition parties could no longer be brought under one umbrella party to contest Presidential elections. However, PDOIS felt that what we had not tried is to introduce two rounds of voting for the opposition to prevent a split in the votes in an electoral system based on “first past the post” or simple majority of votes to win. This is done by introducing primary elections to select one opposition candidate. After the National Assembly Elections, we proposed that all political parties go on the ground to work, for a reasonable period before the 2011 Presidential election, and then a primary could be held to select one Presidential Candidate to serve one term under a coalition government and hand over office to an elected president under a genuine multi party system. This became a very popular view among the electorate.

As the 2011 elections drew near all opposition parties responded to a UDP invitation for Unity talks. The UDP invited other parties to endorse the candidature of its Presidential candidate in exchange for a coalition government comprising all opposition party representatives. Only the PPP representative supported this option. PDOIS proposed that the best way to select a flag bearer and still be able to maintain everybody on board was to agree for the Presidential Candidate selected through a primary to serve one term and build a genuine multi -party system rather than institutionalise the domination of a party after being supported by other parties. Since the UDP would not concede to such an arrangement, a motion was introduced and endorsed by all parties except the PPP and the UDP. All the parties which endorsed the motion formed the United Front.

The GMC representative initially supported the United Front but its leader later condemned the move and joined the UDP led coalition.

The United front opened up its primary to non party members and one male human rights lawyer participated while a female lawyer declined. PDOIS declined to put up a Candidate to give the process integrity. Delegates of the parties voted through secret ballot and Mr Hamat Bah won. There was no doubt that if GMC had participated, the male human rights lawyer who was somehow linked to the GMC, would have stood a great chance in being elected as flag bearer. It goes without saying if PPP and UDP had joined, the results might have been different and the selection of a one term presidential candidate might have made the opposition a more formidable force. PDOIS made all these sacrifices to make unity possible. Who then could accuse PDOIS of being an obstacle to unity that is principled?


After the 24 November, 2011, polls, UDP had 17 percent of the votes and the United Front, under and Independent ticket, won 11 percent of the votes.

Hence 50, 000 votes were added to the NADD results of 2006 and the percentage points increased from 6 to 11 percent, while UDP’s percentage dropped to 17 percent as only 10,000 votes got added to its 2006 results.

After the elections, the Presidential Candidate of the United Front went on his own in the National Assembly elections thus closing the Chapter of the United Front. Despite the fact that delegates selected Mr Bah, PDOIS is still being criticised for that option. Hence when we participate they accuse of greediness, and if we give way we are accused of having given advantage to a wrong candidate.

What is The Way Forward? We are convinced that if the second round of voting is restored, what happened in Senegal could happen in the Gambia. This is why we joined other parties to campaign for electoral reform so that we could restore the second round of voting. In that way, parties would not waste three years on the campaign trail as a united force, only to have difficulty in selecting a Presidential candidate at the 11th hour. With the second round of voting restored, each party would select its candidate and the masses would decide whether there would be a second round and which two candidates would contest, in case of a second round.

PDOIS has gone further to state that all parties should go on the ground to build their grassroots support base and select their Presidential Candidates by 2014. If there is a second round all could contest and then form an Alliance in the second round based on the electoral strength of each party. If there is no second round then the candidates and their parties should meet to decide on how to select one Opposition candidate to contest the 2016 elections. This is PDOIS’ position.

To pursue electoral reform PDOIS joined the Group of six and then the Gambia Opposition for Electoral Reform. The Gambia opposition for electoral reform is still waiting for Rev Jesse Jackson to give us results, or express his decision to give up mediation role. This is how matters stand.

One could however see that PDOIS was not pinning its hopes on mediation alone. It had proposed options that would not lead to wastage of time putting parties together three years before an election, without any clear programme on how to select a presidential candidate and on what terms only for them to go their separate ways as we moved close to elections. Practice and history have taught PDOIS never to be a party to such a futile exercise.


Experience has shown that there are two forms of unity that opposition parties could establish. There is the NADD type, where all parties forgo their sovereignty and merge to form an alliance. No party is advocating for such an Alliance. This is why PDOIS has arranged for the dissolution of NADD to be negotiated and done.

The other type of Alliance is the type established by the United Front, where each party maintains its sovereignty and continues to build its own constituency until a year before an election when they could meet to form an electoral alliance. PDOIS stands for the holding of primaries to select candidates but is willing to consider the suggestions of others. What is now clear is that PDOIS will now put up a candidate in any selection process.


In summary PDOIS is committed to the pursuit of electoral reform that should give rise to a second round of voting. In that case, the masses will decide who goes for the second round and that candidate would be supported by PDOIS on the basis that he or she would establish term limit for the presidency.

On the other hand, if there is no electoral reform, PDOIS is ready to negotiate for a mechanism to select a –one- term Presidential Candidate who would preside over a transitional government that could accommodate all Gambians and start a fresh page that would give rise to a Third Republic, a sovereign people and a genuine multi party system.

PDOIS therefore is calling on all political Parties to cooperate to effect electoral reform. It is proposed that they stay on the ground and select their Presidential Candidates by 2014 and start their mobilisation. If there is electoral reform, candidates could contest and unite in the second round. If there is no reform, candidates and their party leadership could meet in 2015 to decide on how to come up with one candidate and the terms. This is the way forward.


PDOIS is calling on the Diaspora to convene sovereign National Conferences and build an alliance to promote respect for and upholding of fundamental rights and freedoms, support the opposition at home in the quest for electoral reform, and advocate for the enfranchisement of the Diaspora.

This is PDOIS’ strategy on electoral Alliance for the opposition. We hope GMC and other parties would put their proposals in the public space for public scrutiny. This is the era of transparency and accountability; an era of informed choice.

The End

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone


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Posted - 18 Nov 2013 :  04:42:45  Show Profile Send kobo a Private Message

Edited by - kobo on 18 Nov 2013 04:44:33
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Posted - 18 Nov 2013 :  13:05:34  Show Profile Send Nyarikangbanna a Private Message
I didn't read it all but it looks like only two options are acceptable to Halifa as far as opposition unity is concern and both are his ideas; the Nadd formula or the primary/convention option. That in itself is intransigence of the highest order because it made no reference to the party led alliance option the UDP has and will continue to advocate for.

I also don't understand how Halifa was able to say there was an increase of 50,000 on NADD's 2006 votes in 2011 when in fact NADD didn't participate at all in that year's election. As a matter of fact, neither Hamat Bah nor his NRP or indeed Hendry Gomez's GPDP- the parties that formed the United Front with PDOIS- were part of NADD during the 2006 election. Assan Martin too was not associated with NADD in anyway or form. How on earth therefore, can their 2011 electoral achievement be seen as an increment on NADD diabolical score of 2006?? Halifa needs to be saved from himself.

There is no doubt that this article is the ultimate seed of disunity and Halifa will once again be congratulated by the APRC for a job well done.


I do not oppose unity but I oppose dumb union.

Edited by - Nyarikangbanna on 18 Nov 2013 14:05:08
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Posted - 18 Nov 2013 :  14:41:25  Show Profile Send Nyarikangbanna a Private Message
As a political Party, the fundamental priority of GMC is to achieve a robust acceleration of the demise of the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh, replacing it with the unfettered choice of Gambians. Ending this brutal regime is our principal focus and agenda. Everything GMC and I do politically for now, is aimed at effecting this outcome. Therefore, I have no time to waste in arguing philosophical fundamentals with Hon. Halifa Sallah at any fora. I need not tout my competence in effectively tackling the Hon. Halifa Sallah on any subject of his choice relating to national politics.

Indeed the Hon. Halifa Sallah had issued similar challenge to other opposition leaders before me, today is our turn. We regret that this type of regular combative and unproductive engagement has become the trademark of a seasoned politician of thirty years experience. The time shall never be ideal for me to accept an invitation to this pointless show of brinkmanship. For now, GMC recognises that the common enemy to fight is Yaya Jammeh and the APRC regime. We also recognise that Gambians are fed up with the constant bickering and disunity among the opposition, which pre-dates the founding of GMC and my entry into politics. At this crucial period of our nation’s political evolution, we choose to aim our bayonets at Yaya Jammeh and his brutal machinery, instead of accepting a futile invitation to a needless political duel by Hon. Sallah. Thank you, but no thanks.

It is important to put into context the reasons behind my said Statement written two weeks ago and quoted by the Hon. Halifa Sallah, today in his Press Release. I wrote that Statement on Facebook, at a time when the overwhelming majority of Gambians were writing several disparaging comments against PDOIS and against Hon. Halifa Sallah’s own personality on Facebook. I felt that the inordinate concentration by many Gambians on Facebook on PDOIS’ failure to join my colleagues and I within the opposition in condemning Yaya Jammeh’s propensities, was constituting a major source of distraction from the urgent need to unite against the APRC. I also felt quite honestly that some of the disparaging comments that were being written about Halifa Sallah on Facebook at the time were unfair to him, and in all sincerity I came to his defense. That was how that Statement came about. It was not an interview as Hon. Halifa Sallah claimed.

It is plain that if there were no philosophical differences between PDOIS and myself, I would have been a member of PDOIS instead of leading a different political Party. Nonetheless, I recognise that for now I have a much more important and urgent task at hand – fighting to end the regime of Yaya Jammeh instead of accepting Hon. Halifa Sallah’s invitation to participate at a brawl. GMC is certain that Gambians shall win the fight against Yaya Jammeh. Following victory against dictatorship, and provided I continue to enjoy the verifiable confidence, open support and clear loyalty of GMC members as their chosen leader, Hon. Sallah’s golden wish to debate us may perhaps come true. Until then, we will resist all efforts to drag us into any form of confrontation that merely serves the interests of Yaya Jammeh, by pitching our supporters against those of PDOIS, and offering the dictator the break he feverishly scouts for. This is a time for consensus and unity, not division.

Hon. Halifa Sallah spoke about his Party’s plans for 2016 elections. Both GMC and PDOIS are members of G-6, which took a decision a year ago not to contest at elections against Yaya Jammeh and APRC unless our demands for comprehensive electoral reforms were met. That was why G-6 Opposition Parties, including PDOIS did not participate at the last legislative elections. It is known to all Gambians that nothing has changed politically with the stand of the IEC in collusion with APRC, and G-6 demands for a level playing field remain rejected by both. It would therefore be inconsistent and indeed incomprehensible for PDOIS to unilaterally plan for 2016 election with Yaya Jammeh under the same conditions that prevented us all from contesting the Parliamentary elections, without inviting their fellow G-6 members to review our common position. To me, that amounts to swallowing one’s spar-tum.

Instead of accepting to debate Hon. Halifa Sallah, we invite him and PDOIS to join us and the Diaspora in working with other Gambian groups on a united platform in securing those circumstances that would ensure a democratic Gambia, free from Yaya Jammeh and the APRC. This is what Gambians require of us now – to unite and fight with them and for them – and not inviting each other at redundant contests of chest-pounding intellectual acrobatics.

Therefore, having made the above points, I refuse to respond to Hon. Halifa Sallah any further, now or in the future on this and related matters. My declination is not an acknowledgement of the superiority of outmoded ideas; rather out of the consciousness that at this time, Yaya Jammeh shall be the sole beneficiary of the perception of internal acrimony within the opposition, talk-less of actual in-fighting – both at home and in the Diaspora. Falling for such subterfuge would be a crime against our people. I call on Hon. Halifa Sallah to desist, not to distract us from our on-going efforts in collaborating with like minds to quickly end this brutal dictatorship. There is a time for everything. This is not the time to engage in endless, meaningless hair-splitting polemics with you, Hon. Halifa Sallah. Yaya Jammeh and APRC remain our targets, and that’s what we have time for as at now; that is also where I am utilising my energies.

Long live the Republic of The Gambia!

Issued by; Mai Ahmade Fatty, GMC Leader

Dated the 18th November 2013

I do not oppose unity but I oppose dumb union.

Edited by - Nyarikangbanna on 18 Nov 2013 14:46:23
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Posted - 18 Nov 2013 :  15:44:04  Show Profile Send Nyarikangbanna a Private Message
Halifa is distorting facts again; the UDP's proposal did not specifically asked for parties to endorse its presidential candidate. All that was on the table was for parties to endorse a UDP led alliance. Although the proposal made it absolutely clear that the candidate for the alliance was going to be chosen from within the UDP, it did not name a candidate.

As a matter of fact, the UDP leader is on record saying that the candidate does not have to be him. The only thing the UDP insisted on was a UDP led alliance as that was/is in line with universal principles and norms of coalition building.

The UDP also stated that the alliance was going to be based on one term limit and the candidate was not going to seek re-election. This was a concession to PDOIS and it is very surprising that Halifa is speaking as if none of this was entailed in udp's proposal of 2011.

Another thing he said is that only PPP supported udp's proposal. Again, that is not strictly true. Both the PPP and GMC initially supported the UDP proposal. It was only when it became abundantly clear that there was a serious stalemate that Assan Martin told the GMC representative to change course purportedly on the instruction of the GMC leader who was outside the country. This turned out to be a misrepresentation and when it was discovered, the GMC re-instated their support for a UDP led alliance immediately.

Hamat Bah also was not initially in support of PDOIS's primary/convention proposal. His position was for a NRP led alliance with himself as the presidential candidate. He maintained this position until at the very end of the substantive talks and never expressed any support for Halifa's convention proposal throughout the entire discussion that the UDP leader participated in as his party's designated coalition negotiator. It was only during the signing session of the joint communique that the UDP administrative secretary, who was representing the UDP in that session, became aware of Hamat Bah's endorsement of the convention proposal and later informed the UDP leader of the same. The signing session was within the framework of the talks initiated by the UDP.

Prior to the meeting, Hamat was quoted in the media as saying that he was going to be a candidate with or without a coalition and that those who wants unity should rally behind him and the NRP.

Once it was clear that UDP was not going to be foolish enough to embrace Halifa's convention idea, Hamat saw can opportunity for himself to became a coalition candidate. He decided to exploit it by declaring his support for Halifa's convention proposal.

Knowing fully that the only thing that could keep Hamat in his proposed coalition arrangement was his (Hamat) candidacy, Halifa decided to grant him his wish and save his own face by withdrawing from the race and thereby paving a smooth way for Hamat to become the candidate he so uncompromisingly wished to be. This was how things unfolded in 2011 and Halifa will be fooling himself if he thinks he can misrepresent facts and get away with it unnoticed.


I do not oppose unity but I oppose dumb union.

Edited by - Nyarikangbanna on 19 Nov 2013 00:52:39
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