By Omar Bah
The leader of the Gambia Action Party (GAP), Musa Batchilly, has called on political parties in the grand coalition that backed Adama Barrow to stay united ahead of the 9th April National Assembly election.
There has been reported rancour among the coalition partners over the horse-trading over which party will contest which seat. Some parties are clamouring for the coalition’s backing for more than the seats they have in the current parliament. For example, the APRC want more than the five Foni seats they won at the 2017 election.
But Batchilly said the coalition partners should put their differences aside and focus on helping the president secure a majority in the assembly.
“We should be united and avoid being greedy because the opposition are doing everything possible to split us. If we allow them to succeed, the game will be over for President Barrow. We should do everything humanly possible to make sure they don’t succeed in their attempts,” he said.
“If any of us is unhappy about something, he should call an emergency meeting of all the parties or reach out to the president to thrash it out,” he said.
He urged the NPP “to select competent candidates who will serve the interest of the country” in the parliament.
Batchilly also urged the president to take a tougher stance against those undermining his efforts.
He added: “The expectations are very high on you and you must deliver. You must address the issues of high food prices, water and electricity problems in the country. Your people are complaining everyday about these issues. You should make addressing them a matter of urgency. You have to wake up Mr President, because we have just a few weeks to the election. They are using the market to campaign against you. You have to crack down on shopkeepers who are increasing prices for political reasons. I know some people will go to you tomorrow and start telling you that Batchilly is a troublemaker, but I want to assure you that everything I am telling you is the truth. I am worried because if people are hungry and you fail to address their predicament, they will rebel.”
Batchilly said the president is aware of corrupt government officials who have bought houses in the US and elsewhere and that he will react in the most fitting way possible.
“All of you who are stealing money and buying houses in the US and other places, [know that] the president is aware of it and I assure you he will do something about it,” he said.