By Alagie Manneh
Citizens’ Alliance’s Raffie Diab has been speaking to The Standard about his withdrawal from the race for the Bakau parliamentary seat.
Mr Diab said he has learnt that under the current Gambian constitution, he is not eligible to contest the National Assembly elections because he has dual citizenship.
“I saw in the form that I am not qualified to become a candidate while holding two nationalities, so that’s why I made the announcement that I am not contesting anymore,” he told The Standard.
While some are left disappointed by the decision, critics of Diab said that he should have known from the onset that as a dual citizenship holder, he was never going to make the cut for the National Assembly, instead of taking his supporters and well-wishers on a ride.
“I am not an encyclopedia that knows everything. You cannot assume that I must have known. I didn’t read that part. Human beings learn every day. I had assumed that it’s only the presidency that requires one to be a Gambian citizen only. But I’m not a computer, so, I don’t know everything,” he said.
He admitted that he too, like those supporters, is disappointed by the outcome.
“I am disappointed, but this is what the law says. And I am not going to go against the law. I only made an announcement. I haven’t even gone to the IEC to register. It was just an announcement that I made, and later discovered that I am not qualified. So, for people who are disappointed, I am really sorry,” he said.
Mr Diab said he intends to shift all his focus and energy into fighting for a new and progressive constitution for The Gambia.
“Because this current constitution was only designed to serve one man and to make him rule this country forever. This is why we need a new constitution. Even yesterday, I got calls from a lot of folks in the diaspora who want to serve their country, but are afraid they will suffer the same fate like I did. Honestly, we are not at fault here. It’s the constitution that needs to be changed,” he said.
He also promised to work to “tirelessly help” aspirants of the CA party in their campaigns. He said the CA needs “some seats” in the parliament to further its agenda and play its role in driving The Gambia towards the promised land.