By Alagie Manneh
Despite losing seven seats in Saturday’s parliamentary election, the main opposition UDP has praised the outcome of the votes as “a positive result”.
The party held 22 seats in the fifth legislature which has now been reduced to 15.
Party spokesperson Almami Taal told The Standard yesterday that the results are encouraging and they sent a clear message from the electorate that the country needs a course correction.
“The message is that the different stakeholders, whether they are political parties or independents, need to come together and work out on a programme that is going to empower Gambians. The message is also that this is one Gambia we have, and that the challenges are ours – all of us citizens. Therefore, it is important we find a common ground. It is also important that a legislative agenda is put before Gambians that will include women’s empowerment, and ensure a return to constitutional and other projects that will include electoral and other law reforms.”
Mr Taal, a former high court judge, said the results demand political parties and independents stand as one for the betterment of the country.
“The last message from this election is that we must work together because clearly, the opposition and independent candidates have a dominant number in the National Assembly. It’s extremely important for all of us to learn the message the electorate is trying to impart and focus on a more inclusive kind of politics,” he said.
According to him, The Gambia must “be saved first” before we can hold each other accountable, and keep our leaders honest.
He said while the party is disappointed that it didn’t retain some of its seats, it took solace in the new grounds that it conquered.
“Before, we had nothing in Banjul, but now we got at least one. In some key areas, we are disappointed that some of our candidates did not do quite well,” Taal said.
Meanwhile, Taal argued that The Gambia’s election process remains topsy-turvy. “The election process itself is in serious need of reform. Diaspora voting has not been enabled even though the supreme court made a declaration.”