By Momodou Darboe
The UDP has said divisive politics has no place in New Gambia and that it is not for anyone to stand on a political platform and start saying things that are irrelevant, untrue or based on supposition in a bid to divide Gambians.
This reaction from the main opposition party came hot on the pronouncement by Minister Hamat Bah that the opposition are currently busy agitating for the extension of franchise to Diaspora Gambians in the US and Europe while snubbing Gambians closer home in other African countries.
In an interview with The Standard, UDP spokesman Almami Taal elucidated that his party has always been fighting for the Diaspora Gambians to have the vote.
“The challenge that has always been there is that IEC kept saying that logistically and financially it was not feasible to empower the Diaspora to vote, especially in presidential elections. We continue to make this call and we are very satisfied that the proposed legislative framework for the diaspora to vote is at a very advanced stage of preparation,” Taal explained.
He added: “We want it to be absolutely clear that every Gambian who is eligible to vote, anywhere in the world, should be able to exercise their franchise whether they are in Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ivory Coast or Liberia. Anywhere in West Africa, they should be able to vote, especially those that are closest to The Gambia because it is very natural that when people move to other countries, they don’t really forget their roots or their base.”
According to Taal, the diaspora vote is one of the flagship campaign points of the UDP.
“We want every Gambian, who is eligible to vote, to be given the franchise. Now, this is a country of rule of law and it is extremely important that every right that is exercised is exercised based on the rule of law. If there is legal framework, it will provide the ways and means of registering and getting the franchise,” he stated.
“Politics has no place in the New Gambia. We should all be emphasising the need to have the Diaspora to vote in the next elections and that is why it is extremely urgent that the proposed new election law is put before the electorate,” Taal stressed.