The Fragmented Oppposition.

With the apparent withdrawal of two of its constituent parties, the national alliance for democracy and development seems to find itself at a critical crossroads. The implications of the UDP/NRP withdrawal cannot be lost on the remaining parties. Suffice to say they are the two largest opposition parties that constitute NADD and their apparent departure leaves behind two parties that have never contested any national elections on their own in the second republic and one solid party with well not a large support base.

So where does that leave NADD as an entity? Opinions vary and emotions are high on Gambian forums. Some fervent NADD supporters are interjecting tribe and tribalism into the mix. It is an ugly proposition to think that some of us are so desperate and devoid of solution that we will bring tribal sentiments into the midst of a political quarrel without any tangible evidence. Granted, numerous individuals to set up NADD spend a lot of time and energy and their frustration with the turn of events is understandable. However, the situation today calls for deal making and cajoling than casting blame.

Needless to say, the UDP/NRP coalition is a force to reckon with in Gambian politics. The 1996 and 2001 presidential elections results support this fact. You can view the results here. This doesn’t negate the fact that a united opposition would have been the ideal tool to confront the APRC juggernaut.

Tempers are short and frustrations abound, but we cannot and must not trample on the rights of individuals and their constituents parties to withdraw from a political alliance when they feel such an alliance doesn’t serve the interest of their supporters. Democracy is messy and this is one of those undesirables that we have to tolerate in building a democratic society….the right of individuals and parties to disagree and desert a group they don’t desire to be a part of. In the fight against a dictatorship, we may bemoan the splintering of unity, but we should never lose sight of the right to association.

Calling some one a traitor, a tribalist or what ever name some commentators are using on Gambian forums to describe Ousainou Darbo is not helpful. The die has been cast. Messrs Darbo and Bah decided to leave NADD and form an alliance and that is their right. I may not agree with it but I will defend their right to association. The notion that the end justifies the means, even if the process is flawed is not good enough. NADD supporters should regroup and strategize rather than spew venom on people who left the coalition. The fact that this is not happening, but rather a slugfest is taking place on line about the tribal component of certain parties says a lot about the weight of the two departed parties and how it leaves NADD as an empty shell. We can gloss over it all we want but the realties on the ground (and that’s what matters) doesn’t bode well for NADD without UDP/NRP. They constitute most of NADD’s support base where it actually matters …the electorate.

Gambians in the diaspora disappointed at the turn of events need to put on a different hat and think of ways to get the fragmented opposition to work together. The old setup is gone and dwelling on it is not going to help matters. We have to constructively come to terms with the fact that a new setup/alliance is needed before October. We can argue forever who is at fault and there are plenty of people to blame, but at the end of the day the biggest threat to our nation is Yahya Jammeh. Lest we forget.


4 Responses to The Fragmented Oppposition.

  1. Cynthia says:

    No matter what happens with NADD, Darboe ran twice and lost and this says something about the trust people place in him. As far as NADD, looking at the IEC website, NADD doesn’t have a prayer without Darboe. They are impotent! It also looks like Hamat Bah is hedging his bet, i.e., tagging alone because even if he had stayed with NADD, they still wouldn’t have had a chance without Darboe. If Darboe wins, it will be interesting to see if he will fare any better than Jammeh. I have to wonder – maybe this is why he lost the election twice before. Btw – I know there is something to that tribal politics talk. I was there when Karamba started talking about parity and how the UDP had the largest constituency, i.e., Mandinka (~45%). Everybody wanted to ignore this, but what happened was inevitable.Although I don’t know Darboe, from what I’ve read about him, I have my doubts about him (a gut feeling). Good luck. This is going to be interesting.

  2. ousman ceesay says:

    It is true that Darbo ran twice against Jammeh and lost, but so do Hamat Bah, Sidia Jatta of PDOIS. Does this preclude them from running again? That was before the coalition. I am not going to mention OJ or Juwara. Their parties have never ran in a national election. The tribal card is just what it is. If you look at the vote breakdown for 2001, and knew anything about the demographics of the Gambia, you will know that it is not logical to equate UDP with mandinkas. Yahya won in predominantly mandinka areas like Badibu, kiang and Jarra to name a few. Ousainou’s detractors and people mad at him for leaving NADD will want others to believe in this bat shit idea. A quick look at the UDP hierarchy tells a different tale. It comprise of all tribal groups in the Gambia. here is the url: hatchet job against Ousainou has been going on for the past few weeks. The likes of Dr. Saine claimed OJ was selected even when the executives of NADD were still deliberating. Add to the is the constant leak of information on the deliberations to Pa Nderry by one the executives who obviously have an axe to grind against Ousainou. They drag the man’s name through mud and when he got tired of the bullshit and called it quits, they called him a tribalist.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Interesting… I also heard that Darboe didn’t like the term limit set by NADD, which indicates to me, that if Darboe is elected, Gambia may be in the same boat they are in with Jammeh. However, this is only conjecture at this point and may not end up being the truth. This is an unfortunate turn of events no matter what. I will keep my fingers crossed in hopes that the best thing will happen for Gambia.

  4. ousman ceesay says:

    The term limit argument is their new meme. The people bandying around that crap have no inside info than you and I. If this was the case, NADD in their latest press release will say so. The funny thing is that the NADD press release is a lot more concialiatory than the comments of the online bomb throwers. They(NADD execs) are realist. People like Halifa (working on the ground) know what a UDP/NRP withdrawal will do to NADD. That is why he is still looking for a way out of this impasse. It would have made a world of difference if he had accepted the flagbearer position. He punted and now it is a mess.

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