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By Omar Bah

A Gambian political commentator based in the US has urged a quintet of smaller political parties to spring an “October surprise” by forming a coalition and “dismantle” the “political insurgency” created by the NPP and UDP hegemonies. 

Musa Jeng an analyst for the For The People By The People weekly online TV show, called on the PDOIS, CA, GDC, GFA and GMC to initiate a coalition and offer the Gambian electorate a viable third choice in the presidential election set for December 4th.

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Mr Jeng told The Standard: “It would be good for our democracy to have an October surprise that would scramble the trajectory of the race, and give Gambian people opportunity to vote not only for system change but to come up with a counterforce to the binary fixed.

“As it stands, the very change we fought for the past 22 years has been hijacked by the NPP/UDP mutineers, leaving all of us at their mercy. For over 20 years, we fought against Jammeh and the APRC to bring about a level playing field that would at least put us on a path to a transformational trajectory, instead, we became proxies to the UDP/NPP insurgency.

“The psychology of the race favours these two parties, and unless something bold and different is done, this race will be a foregone conclusion and only to see repetition of elections we have had since independence – elections marred by patronage, tribal and ethnic affiliations, and incumbency advantage.”

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He said Gambians yearn for a viable third option with a reasonable expectation of winning, and ultimately counter the psychology of the race.

“For starters, PDOIS, CA, GFA, GMC and GDC should initiate the coalition talks to confront the election which is now being monopolised by the UDP and the NPP. The main strategic objective for this coalition is to come together and give the Gambian people a third viable alternative, other than what we are getting from the UDP/NPP binary choice.

“But, most importantly, to relaunch the aspiration of the 2016 transitional game plan that was sabotaged by no other than  these two parties. The very framework of the 2021 proposed coalition would be to revisit the real contours of the 2016 agreement that these binary occupants betrayed for their own partisan ends.

“Character matters. We have witnessed how the insurgency within the UDP hijacked the change agenda of the Gambian people, only to settle for mediocrity and the politics of yesteryears. We have to come together as a people and fight back, rescue our country and build the very foundation that would put the country on a different trajectory,” he said.

He appealed to Mamma Kandeh, Halifa Sallah, Ismail Ceesay, Mai Fatty, and Bakary Dabo, to immediately come together and start the conversation that would change the current of the December elections.

“After establishing the foundation of the coalition, other parties and independent candidates can be reached out to and brought into the fold. The Gambian people do not want the very parties that betrayed the aspiration of our struggle against Jammeh and the APRC, only to be restricted to the binary choice of the two parties that have a lot in common,” he added.

He said the conversation has begun in the Diaspora, and the majority is excited about having a coalition of parties coming together and giving voters a third option with a reasonable chance of winning.

Commenting on the selection procedure, Jeng advised: “The future of the country is at stake and risks and sacrifices are needed to rescue our country from these two parties. One of the proposed selection processes is the ranking method, where each participating aspirant would submit three candidates, including themselves, who they believe should lead the alliance.  The person with the most votes from the group would become the candidate. Instead of using the leaders to vote, independent delegates can also be used to vote using the ranking method.”

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