Recently, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced the registration of a new political party, National People’s Party (NPP) of President Adama Barrow. The announcement ended months of speculations as President Barrow had repeatedly hinted that he was going to set up his own political party to contest the 2021 election.
Since the announcement last week however, the party has generated a lot of commentaries in the country both on the traditional and new media. Many citizens have pledged their allegiance to the president’s party and some are seeing it as a threat to the existing parties whose members are likely to be the ones to cross carpet and join the NPP.
In yesterday’s edition of this newspaper, a report was carried which revealed that the Deputy Leader of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) had resigned and joined the NPP. If confirmed, this will be a boost to the fledgling party.
There is a perception in the country currently that the NPP is a splinter group of the United Democratic Party (UDP) from which their leader, Adama Barrow, branched off after being made the flagbearer of the 2016 Coalition which eventually won the presidential election.
Since revealing his intention to stay for five years and contesting the 2021 election, President Adama Barrow is reported to have courted many members of the UDP particularly those in the National Assembly. Some of these NAMs have since switched their allegiance to the president resulting in their expulsion from the party.
As the president is enjoying the advantage of incumbency, it is thought that he will attract many people from the already established parties in the country. The supporters of NPP are full of confidence that they will sweep the polls and their hope is largely based on their ability to lure the supporters of other parties.
Nonetheless, the other established parties do not seem to be very much worried as they continue to strengthen their parties by consolidating their grassroots support base. Next year, 2021, already promises to be an interesting year in Gambian politics.