The opposition Gambia Action Party (GAP) has appointed retired Major Alieu Sowe as presidential candidate for the December polls. He replaces Gen. Lamin Bojang who was sacked from the party and then went on to form the Alliance for National Reorientation and Development, ANRD.
Major Sowe, 45, also a former manager of former president Jammeh’s Kanilai Farm, is from Cheedi Wolof village in Upper Baddibu. He attended Minteh Kunda Primary School and Farafenni Senior Secondary School.
In 1996, he enrolled in a paramilitary training course at the Guards Training School Bakau and later studied criminal investigation through the Gambia Police Force Prosecution Department and recently completed his studies on international relations and diplomacy at the Management Development Institute, MDI.
Sowe also served as a private soldier from 1995 to 2006 before being promoted to lance corporal in 2009, staff sergeant in 2012 and captain in 2015.
In 2016, he was promoted to Major.
Addressing delegates shortly after being unveiled, Sowe said the time has come to reposition Gambia to greatness.
“When I walk into State House as president of this great nation, I will be deeply conscious of taking over the heaviest of responsibilities, not least for the future of our dear motherland,” he said.
Sowe said his government will work together with all patriotic citizens of the Gambia in the interest of national development.
“I want to make it clear that we will protect this country with every means at our disposal,” he added.
He said rebuilding of the country is a clarion call that a GAP government and every Gambian should answer to ensure the country’s economic transformation.
“It is extremely difficult to do things time and again the same way and expect a different result. Our hope and aspiration may not be achieved if we do things the same way. My government will change the system,” he vowed.
Mr Sowe said a GAP government will prioritise agriculture, health, security and fight against corruption.
The Badibbu-born ex-soldier said Gambians should not see him as a Jammeh close aide because he was serving the Gambia and not Jammeh as an individual.
He said his government will review the draft constitution and the TRRC recommendations and take action.
“Whatever we do will be based on national interest,” he said.
Sowe said under a GAP government any agreement the country reaches with Senegal or any country will be of interest to both countries.
“I can assure you that the Gambia under my leadership will never enter any agreement that will be of zero interest to the country. That will never happen,” Sowe said.
He added: “I decided to go into politics because I think our politicians have been failing us for years. It is time for the young people to take up responsibility for this country. We cannot allow the current trajectory to continue like this … it has to stop now.”
He also promised to cut down the president’s salary and restructure the salary scale.