By Baboucar Camara Demba is Ok, Western Kiang PPP, a mini-sized portrait on Kiang’s Dembo that used to hang in the sitting room of my paternal grandma read. She was the chairwoman of the People’s Progressive Party (P.P.P.) in Jaali village, Kiang West District of the Lower River Region and all my family bar my father, who supported the main rival National Convention Party, supported the P.P.P. to the core. My youngest sister is even named after his wife but not after serious confrontation between grandma and my dad. I’ve never supported or voted any party since I started to vote than the U.D.P. but for the first time ever I gave it serious thoughts in possibly abandoning the yellow ship for the purple colours. These make me to relive the good memories of the sweet-old days when Gambian politics was characterised by camaraderie, pomp and fanfare, even with sometimes often thinly veiled jibes aimed at each other. That was a Gambia known for religious and tribal tolerance irrespective of our culture or background. Not one to lose hope but I am skeptical about seeing that Gambia ever returns again. My parents would later join the United Democratic Party (U.D.P) after the banning of the P.P.P. by the militaty junta, a well calculated political move aimed at killing the Party and that chapter was closed for us until recently when serious considerations were made to return to our roots. Kiang West is known for its steadfastness and fidelity to the course they believe in, but the loyalty of many natives was seriously tested in the past couple of days when Demba decided to throw his hat in the ring for the race to lead the founder party of our independence. You had to be at the party’s congress on Sunday to understand what I’m saying and his arrival to the YMCA Grounds was welcomed with cheers and jubilation characterised by pomp and fanfare. He may have been forced to live in exile for more than 22 years after his attempt to help return the country to democratic rule as quickly as possible failed, but our ‘Dumbuto Jalango’ was never out of touch with the realities on the ground and there was no doubt he would only return to one party when he decides to rejoin partisan politics; that’s if he had ever gone away. You know why; because BB is a man of impeccable character who stands at the moral high ground of society and not someone morally bankrupt. OJ Jallow must be commended for his tenacity and belief in keeping a sleeping candle alive for well over 22 years of that brutal rule. However, to repeat the same mistake of the 1991 ‘PPP national congress in Mansa Konko, that triggered the 1994 military coup, it is safe to say that the People’s Progressive Party has now become the People’s Retrogressive Party (P.R.P.). It was put on a silver-plate to revive the party with BB as its leader and the man had awoken many sleeping giants who have huge political clout, most especially in the provincial Gambia, and can take along them a serious chunk of supporters from other parties. If he had announced his candidature earlier, the outcome could’ve been much different because many would’ve volunteered to avert the collateral damage that caused the outcome of this sham congress. You do not need to be told to know both the excitement and anxiety this last Thursday announcement caused at various quarters. His loss is a sigh of relief for many but it’s too early to get excited. Going back to the topic, having worked hard for 22 years, I still cannot fathom out the rationale behind undoing that hard work with a schoolboy error that could’ve been averted if not for the egocentric behaviour and irrational conduct of many I had held on high regards until recently. However what beats my imagination most is how on earth anyone with the interest of the P.P.P. at heart can explain the decision to choose mediocrity over efficiency, most especially someone referred to in many quarters as a political prostitute whose quench and insatiable taste for power would make him stop at nothing in fulfilling his greedy ambitions. It’s either his way or the highway. I want to lead but not to be led. If the outcome of that congress had gone another way, he would’ve jumped ship again and time will prove me right. Bakary was the Prince and the chosen one. He was Baba Jawara’s natural heir apparent but those that pleaded at the 1992 convention and convinced D.K. to extend his leadership weren’t genuine and not based on the interest of the country but rather motivated by jealously, hate and contempt against a pragmatic and straight-talker in Demba. Most Gambians do not support political parties based on ideologies but rather we’ve more of political patronage with supporters identifying themselves with individuals. This was the PPP’s biggest moment for redemption for Demba has a big personality and fits in that equation perfectly but they blew it away and gone, it is, forever. In my opinion, there can be only one winner from this political suicide being committed and that is the yellow party. But hold on a moment first because this could be blessing in disguise for Demba. He’s neither a loser nor a quiter and time will tell. Baboucarr Camara Private Citizen Tallinding Kunjang]]>
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Stakeholders in Gambian football, namely clubs, affiliate associations and regional associations are still waiting for the Gambia Football Federation to inform them about the...
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