By Kebba Jeffang
A handful of young people are calling on all the opposition parties in the Gambia to come together under a coalition ahead of the 1st December, 2016 presidential election in order to remove the ruling APRC government.
These calls were made during a vox-pop conducted over the weekend by this reporter to gauge the minds of the young people concerning political change in the forthcoming poll.
One of the young people who are clamouring for a coalition is one Kebba Kanteh who said “We are calling all the opposition parties to come together and produce a coalition for change. They need to combine their forces in order to effect necessary and desired change in the Gambia. I feel it is better for us to have a grand coalition rather than each of the opposition parties contesting to remove the incumbent from power.”
According to Kanteh, it is only when all the opposition are together that they can bring about change.
“It’s high time to form a coalition to serve the interest of the Gambian people. If we have UDP, PDOIS, NRP, NCP, PPP, GPDP, GMC and the newly formed GDC bonded together and which many Gambians are yearning for, it will definitely usher in the third republic that we desire. The opposition parties should not be divided but should come together and select an ideal candidate to represent all of them in the election,” said Kanteh.
He expressed hope that his wish for an opposition alliance is realized as soon as possible before the election which, he added, is fast approaching. He concluded that it is time to create opposition unity in order to gain the people’s confidence to vote for change.
Ebrima H. Baldeh, a resident of Basse, said he is appealing to all the opposition leaders to be united and be under one umbrella so as to defeat the ruling party in this coming presidential election.
“We the youths are tired of living in a climate of fear and it is only the opposition leaders who can save us,” he said.
Kemo Bojang, another young man, told Foroyaa that unity among the opposition parties is now or never, as clock is ticking with less than 4 months before the Presidential election on the 1st December, this year. He said the country needs a change of government after over 22 years of AFPRC/APRC government and the only way to do this is through a coalition where all the opposition parties will come together and contest against the incumbent.
He said change is needed because many of the promises made by the current government have not been fulfilled, citing the education sector as an area which, despite the numerous schools that have been built, needs improvement in order to guarantee quality education.
Alpha Bah said he wants to hear from other opposition parties what their take is on forming a grand coalition to dislodge the APRC regime after 22 years in power.
“It is only the PDOIS that has stated in black and white what its position is regarding an opposition alliance and how to go about it. They even stated that their proposal is not an imposition but an approach they are putting on the table for consideration by other opposition parties or interested independent aspirants and for them to either endorse or to propose some adjustments or bring something that is more realistic and credible in achieving our common objective of bringing about change,” he said.
Bah said what young people should do is to approach all the opposition party leaders and urge them to make their positions clear on the issue of opposition alliance as little time is left for them to build this force for change through elections.
Lamin Sanyang, a young writer, said that even though President Jammeh came to power through the barrel of gun he has been given the mandate by Gambians through elections for the fourth time so far?
He asked what is keeping the opposition parties away from each other. “Why can’t they form a coalition? Should we blame Jammeh for the lack of alliance among the opposition parties?” he asked sarcastically.
Sanyang said “no one should be baffled or carried away by the crowds coming to one’s meetings. In fact there were bigger crowds in the past but the status quo still remained.”
He said no single opposition party, old or new, can dislodge the regime without a coalition, noting that people should know that loyalty to state and loyalty to a party are not the same. He said the Gambia’s liberation must not be compromised for any leader or a political party.
“The refusal of a coalition formation would be a fatal blow that would be difficult for the opposition parties to recover from. We need to act now or never,” he concluded.
Salimatou Fatty, also a young lady opined that coalition remained the only option to effect a change. She called on all the opposition leaders to come together and form a unity party ahead of the presidential poll in December election.
“I want the opposition leaders to come together and form a coalition for the 2016 elections to be successful. Their coming together will show their willingness to make Gambia a better place for all and also it is the only way they can get the votes they deserve, because forming a coalition is what every young person is calling for, including myself,” she said.
This medium would make efforts to reach all the leaders of the opposition parties in the country for them to state the position of their political parties regarding the formation of a coalition and will report accordingly.