By Momodou Darboe
The United Democratic Party has insisted that the Niamina West constituency and Kerr Jarga ward by-election results are not a referendum on its popularity and if anything, the successes of NPP in the polls should be celebrated as a victory for democracy.
UDP maintained that there is nothing that NPP could gloat over in capturing the seats and that investigation should be launched into allegation of massive vote buying, the use of government resources and the involvement of alkalolu in the electioneering.
“We understand in a democracy, you cannot win all and we made up our mind a long time ago not to invest political capital in trying to get seats that have never been within our column. And quite frankly, a 5000-vote constituency cannot be compared to some of the constituencies we have our as strongholds. There is no need for anyone to gloat over one constituency, one ward,” UDP spokesperson Almami Taal told The Standard.
According to Taal, UDP has never won in Niamina West and has always had a history of supporting other parties there. “Last time we were supporting NRP, we did not win. This is a by-election of one constituency and one ward. If for example UDP happens to lose grounds in a West Coast regional election, then, you can speculate or start thinking about that as an indicator,” he added.
Taal said these results are not an occasion for mourning. “This is not a referendum and we knew our chances were slim in these areas from the word go. To be clear, both in Kerr Jarga and Niamina, UDP has never had support in those parts of the country. We thought to the best interest of the health of our democracy to support GDC whose candidate has answered the ultimate goal. The most important thing for all Gambians to analyze -how was the election won?” UDP’s Taal explained.
In the case of Kerr Jarga, Taal went on, it is just one ward in a region that is not controlled by the UDP. “North Bank Region is under UDP chairman. We have the majority in the North Bank Region. Kerr Jarga being one ward and, in a democracy, you cannot win all the wards all the time. All you need is the majority and we have the majority in the region,” he said.