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Saturday, October 23, 2021

COALITION TALKS INITIATORS HOPEFUL OF AGREEMENT

By Omar Bah

The six opposition parties who started discussing the possibility of forming an alliance to remove President Adama Barrow are optimistic about the progress and outcome of the negotiations.

The talks, initiated by the Gambia Democratic Congress, All People’s Party and Citizens’ Alliance, started two weeks ago at the Sea View hotel.

According to sources, the six parties have since held three successful meetings and there are high hopes that they will reach an agreement.

“I can tell you that the meetings held so far have been very successful and we are hopeful that we will reach an agreement very soon,” our source said.

As The Standard reported last week, the meetings were attended by the National Unity Party, All People’s Party, Gambia Democratic Congress, Citizens’ Alliance, Alliance for National Reorientation and Development, Gambia Moral Congress and Gambia For All.

However, The Standard has been reliably informed that the United Democratic Party and the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism are yet to attend.

When asked whether they were invited, our source said: “I can confirm to you that the PDOIS were written to and the letter was hand-delivered by APP leader Dr Bai Biran Jagne. For the UDP, I think they were informed but I am not sure they were officially written to.”

The Standard contacted a source close to the PDOIS executive who confirmed that the party was written to but they will only take a decision on the matter when the executive meet about it. 

The UDP spokesperson, Almamy Taal said he cannot confirm whether the initiators have contacted the party.

However, Taal added: “Our position remains that it is perhaps premature to engage in negotiations now and the best time is after the nominations because some are saying they are not going to fill in candidates.

“Maybe once nominations are out of the way, we will advise ourselves as a political party what would be in the best interest of the country. But the circumstances are quite different from 2016 and we are satisfied that Gambians want a multi-party democracy where one party will have a clear majority to enable it govern because coalitions always have conditions and those conditions may in themselves make governing very difficult,” he said.

He noted that the best thing to do is to wait until it is known who are going to put up presidential candidates.

“Thereafter, depending on the facts on the ground, decisions can be made on what to do. But I think a party-led alliance or coalition is more realistic, so that governance becomes something meaningful for the electorate, because if we have widely differing political orientations and we form an alliance just for one purpose, even if we are successful, that alliance will not be able to hold for long. So talking alliance now is not the right time,” Taal noted.

Meanwhile, last week, the All People’s Party national president Gumbo Touray confirmed to The Standard that his party initiated the talks.

“Let the APP membership please take note that our party is playing a leading role in these negotiations. We are respected in acumen and our standing is unequivocal. For us, the national interest matters and we are doing just that. Let us all pray for a successful alliance in which parties will come together in a united front to rescue our country from the current mess it is in. Together, we shall win,” Touray said in a write-up shared with The Standard.

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