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Kandeh addresses unity, insecurity, high cost of living in presser

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By Omar Bah

Mamma Kandeh, the leader of the opposition Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), has urged his fellow political party leaders to discourage the politics of hatred and tribalism to address the country’s political tension.

Addressing journalists on Saturday at the Baobab Hotel, Kandeh said: “As politicians, we should see ourselves as opponents, not enemies. We should also demonstrate to Gambians that we are one people looking for a common interest, which is to develop this country. If we do that, it will promote unity and national cohesion. This is why the GDC’s position paper on the constitutional review process suggested the inclusion of a clause that would compel the president to meet with the opposition at least two times a year… We should all see The Gambia as the unifying identity that we all belong to”.

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He said party leaders should not allow their supporters to see them fighting or using tribes as political weapons.

National dialogue

Kandeh said the GDC has always considered national dialogue a priority.

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He commended the president for calling the national dialogue and encouraged him to continue along those lines if he meant it.

“The dialogue should focus on issues of national interest solutions to address them. It should not be a platform to praise or defend people. If the president has the idea to face the Gambians to discuss issues and challenges facing the country, he should have thick skin and understand that none of the opposition is his enemy. This is why, when he called us, we all went out in our numbers to answer his call,” he said.

He advised the president to ensure that the dialogue is not turned into a jamboree where griots or party surrogates will come to sing and defend him.

“The GDC will not take part in such a dialogue in the future because that is not the essence of us going to a dialogue. We all have people who sing praises and defend us, but not on that platform,” he added.

Insecurity

Mr Kandeh said the president should act urgently to stem the rising tide of insecurity in the country.

“Murders are occurring. All this is happening, but I have never heard the Minister for the Interior make a statement or call a press conference. Mr President, you are secure, but the Gambian people are not. Yes, we have checkpoints everywhere, but Gambians are dying everywhere…That is unfortunate, and it needs to stop,” he said.

High living cost

Commenting on the prices of goods, Kandeh said the president should understand that because it is increasingly becoming difficult for Gambians to make ends meet, they are getting hungry and that “a hungry man is an angry man”.

“It doesn’t matter how much you want peace in this country, if your citizens are hungry, there cannot be peace. It is incomprehensible for a government to say yes, things are expensive and justify that by saying it is the same all over the world. Mr President, you should speak out on the prices of goods because some businesses are deliberately increasing prices with no justification whatsoever,” Kandeh said.

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