By Lamin Cham
Gambians elected a new National Assembly on Saturday in a poll that produced shocks for most of the country’s political parties.
The governing National People’s Party which swept the presidential election with 53 percent last December lost grounds in key areas notably the capital Banjul and the two most populous regions of Kanifing and West Coast winning only one seat in the area.
The NPP however swept the two provincial regions URR and CRR where the party won all but one seat. The NPP made a total national tally of 18 seats out of 53, while its coalition partners NRP and APRC secured 4 and 2 respectively.
The rest of the seats went to the main opposition UDP 15, PDOIS 2, and 12 independent candidates.
Notable casualties for the governing party include Alhagie Jawara of Lower Baddibu who alongside four others, Baba Galleh Jallow, Saikou Marong, Saikouba Jarjue and Fatoumata Jawara, joined NPP after being thrown out of the UDP three years ago.
Veteran politician Sidia Jatta and founding member of the PDOIS lost his long stay as NAM for Wuli West but his protégé Suwaibou Touray won in neighboring Wuli East.
The results also revealed a dramatic loss of ground for the APRC in Foñi losing all 5 seats in the region to the breakaway faction loyal to former president Yahya Jammeh.
The Gambia Democratic Congress which was the third most powerful party only five years ago after coming third in the president election and winning five seats, now does not have a single seat after losing Niamina East and Jimara, home of party leader Mamma Kandeh.
The GMC leader Mai Fatty also failed in his bid to sit in the assembly after losing in Wuli West.
While the UDP may have reason to celebrate, the party is smarting at the failed bid of Ya Kumba Jaiteh who lost to Omar Cham of PDOIS in Serekunda.