By Omar Bah
The deputy leader of the opposition Gambia Action Party (GAP) has Saturday announced his exit from the party to join the ruling National People’s Party (NPP).
Announcing his decision at a meeting with President Barrow on holiday at his native Mankamang Kunda, Omar Beyai said joining the ruling party was the conclusion of his reflection dating back months, and that is borne out of the fact that every politician follows the interests of their constituency and people.
“So, for me, I think my people want me to join the NPP, and that’s the reason I joined. It wasn’t an easy decision, because I must appreciate that when I needed help, especially politically, GAP came to my rescue and I owe it to them but now I think it’s time to join the NPP so that I can help the president bring about much-needed development,” he said.
Beyai, from Bakoteh, had in fact campaigned for Barrow, taking a time from his international job in 2021.
“Now the time has come for me to close the opposition chapter and work with the government. I have seen that the opposition parties have no new strategy to challenge the ruling party,” Beyai said.
He further disclosed another reason for joining the NPP is the ongoing restructuring within the party and the establishment of political bureaus across the country.
“Let us not seek the UDP answer or the NPP answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future,” he said.
Beyai said President Barrow needs more committed public servants who would realise that they cannot become rich in politics but can only attain greatness and satisfaction through service.
Asked whether he has resigned from GAP, Beyai said he never applied for the position in the first place, so it is unnecessary to do so. “I owe them no obligation to resign,” he said.
President Adama Barrow welcomed Mr Beyai to the party and expressed his delight, saying all are equal in the NPP.
“His decision to join the NPP clearly demonstrates his love for me and the country,” he said.
Mr Barrow said his government is open to working with all Gambians and political parties in the interest of the country.
“We have an open-door policy and we don’t discriminate against any Gambian. I want to leave a legacy in Gambian politics and this is why we are building political bureaus across the country so that even when I leave, the NPP will continue leading this country,” he said.
President Barrow said he will only consider his political career a success if the NPP continues to rule the country after his presidency.
“That is the agenda, and I have this feeling that somebody from the NPP will succeed me. It could be anybody,” he said.
The meeting was facilitated by NPP deputy spokesperson and deputy speaker Seedy Njie.