By Omar Bah
The presidential candidate and secretary general of the newly registered Democratic Party, DP, has said his party is prepared to contest the December election all alone.
In early March, the Independent Electoral Commission announced the registration of the Democratic Party but since then, Gambians know little about the party or its leader.
But in an exclusive interview with The Standard yesterday, Yusupha Dumbuya said he was born and brought up in Banjul but his parents originated from Kerewan Samba Sira in the Central River Region.
Dumbuya, who is pursuing a PhD in accounting and business studies at the University of Maryland, said the persistent suffering of the Gambian people motivated him to establish a political party.
“It is depressing if you live in the West and come back to find our people living in such deplorable conditions. I believe the Gambians deserve better. This is why I decided to come in not to only make up the numbers. I am all but ready to contest the December election,” he said.
Mr Dumbuya said the party has done a lot of groundwork for the past four years.
“We have reached out to all the major communities in the country. We shared our 10 Year Economic Plan and based on the receptions we received, we are confident of contesting the December election solo,” he said.
He said it is only in Baddibu that they have not received strong support.
“So our campaign strategy is working and we came in to unseat President Barrow. We want to bring his government down because we cannot allow him to go beyond December 4,” he said.
He said though Barrow has the money and whole government machinery, he is convinced that Gambians are now aware not to let anyone fool them with bags of rice or oil.
“We are aware that conducting interviews and ranting on social media will not be enough to remove Barrow. We need to engage the voters to convince them that it is a bad thing to vote for somebody because he/she has given you something. People should vote based on policies that would transform this country,” he said.
The DP leader added that the Gambian electorate should reject the bags of rice the incumbent is going to give them and focus on the facts on the ground.
“Let them hold him to account by asking the fundamental question of why he failed to fulfill his promises. Voters should remind him about the D500 bag of rice he promised them among a host of other things,” he added.
He said giving President Barrow another term “will be a very bad idea”.
“I have nothing against President Barrow or any other politician in this country. My personal take on him is that he is a good man but with due respect, he cannot take this country anywhere. The other problem is, Barrow is not a man of his word and we cannot count on someone who doesn’t keep his word,” he noted.
He said the Gambian leader also lacks the basic education ingredient to lead the country.
“You cannot rule a country full of intellect, if you cannot even read contract documents,” he said.
Turning to his party’s plans, Dumbuya said a DP-led government will change the system of governance.
“We will start with the education system because I believe it is responsible for our failure. We will need to migrate from the current system to a more robust education system that will accord our young people the needed skills. We will also transform the health sector which I think is the worst in the region,” he said.
The economist said “a DP government will migrate the country from foreign dependency to create Gambian solutions to Gambian problems”.
“We should be able to build this country without foreign aid. We cannot continue to rely on the West to develop this country. We have Gambian intellectuals everywhere around the world helping to build economies. We will engage them to come back to work for their country,” he said.
“A DP government will come up with strong mechanisms to fight corruption. As a start, we will restructure the salary scale and start paying people weekly instead of monthly to ensure that people have cash in their pockets all the time. We will also come up with very strong laws to ensure people found wanting are punished,” he said.