By Own Correspondent – Lamin Waa Juwara, leader of the opposition National Democratic Alliance Movement (NDAM), has opined that the current breed of opposition politicians in the country, including himself, has no chance whatsoever in the forthcoming presidential election.
According to Juwara, at one time a critic of the ruling APRC regime and now Governor of the Lower River Region, this is so because the opposition have betrayed the hopes and aspirations of the Gambian people, who have also lost confidence in them.
“I’m not talking about Darboe alone, not talking about Hamat Bah alone; I’m not talking about Sidia Jatta alone or Halifa Sallah. I am saying the current breed of opposition politicians in the country, including my very self, has no chance whatsoever,” Juwara said in an interview with this reporter Monday.
The NDAM leader said he would support the ruling APRC party, as the race is very clear, and the APRC is going to win by a landslide, because there will be no credible opposition force to make a credible challenge.
“In actual fact, I do not see any credibility in an opposition alliance, which has betrayed the hopes and the aspirations of the Gambian people,” Juwara added.
In Waa’s view, what The Gambia needs is another generation of politicians who are committed, and know what to do to form a credible opposition, but not the current political leadership.
“The current political leadership is completely out. Our behaviour, as a group, collectively and individually, will not get any support from the Gambian people,” he stated.
Below we reproduce the views of Waa Juwara:
I think I have stated categorically clear that I’m not contesting for the 2011 presidential elections as a candidate. My party still exists, and is a registered political party with the IEC, but despite that fact, we have decided that we are not going to put up a candidate for the 2011 presidential election.
Our reasons are very clear. We think that a lot has been achieved by the ruling APRC party, and we also want to make our modest contribution to make sure that the development agenda that is on the ground goes on as we envisaged. In actual fact, I do not see any credibility in an opposition alliance, which has betrayed the hopes and the aspirations of the Gambian people.
“And I was one of the members of the alliance, and I don’t think it will have any chance, because we have betrayed the people and the people have lost confidence in us. I’m not talking about Darboe alone; not talking about Hamat Bah alone; I’m not talking about Sidia Jatta alone or Halifa Sallah. I am saying the current breed of opposition politicians in the country, including my very self, has no chance whatsoever.
“I will support the ruling APRC party, but even there, the race is very clear, because APRC is going to win with a landslide, because there will be no credible opposition force to make a credible challenge. Therefore, that President Jammeh and the APRC party will win the next elections is a foregone conclusion.
Actually, what happened to the alliance is very unfortunate and, really, I think it’s a betrayal of the people that supported the alliance. This is so, because we raised the hopes of the people, came together and we had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which was very clear.
“We signed that MoU in front of a big crowd, who supported the idea of the opposition alliance coming together. We all nursed the hope that coming together, we are going to be very strong. Even if we don’t win, we will still be a credible opposition force that could influence what happens in the country.
“I think the idea of just being in the opposition is not only to win, all the time. That’s not the essence. When you have a strong opposition, it also influences the policies and actions of the ruling party, and we had that opportunity loud and clear, because we had a formidable force when we came together. But because of our individual ambitions, which led to the betrayal of the hopes and aspirations of the majority of our supporters, we dashed any meaningful hope that we will ever come together again and the people are going to support us.
That is actually what happened, because Darboe said he has the majority of the people behind him and, therefore, his party candidate, meaning himself, should lead the alliance. I think that was not what we had in the MoU. In the MOU, we came together, registered a single political party that was NADD and, because he refused that, those who were members of parliament under the NADD umbrella lost their seats, and we went for by-elections, which were very expensive.
We could have avoided that. We couldn’t belong to two political parties at the same time. We all belonged to NADD, which was a registered political party. What we could have accepted is to go for a primary. If he was confident that he had the support of the majority of the people behind him, they will select him. If he was confident that he was the choice of the people, he should not have walked out of the alliance and, surprisingly, Hamat Bah supported him.
I am not surprised that the UDP/NRP unholy alliance is going to pieces, because Hamat Bah is now saying that he is going his own way; that he is not going to be a partner where Darboe is going to be the automatic leader.
Today, as far as the people are concerned, there is not a single opposition political party that belongs to NADD, that can go back to the people and get the votes of the people. “APRC is going to win by landslide, and I’m not predicting this because of anything, but simply because this is just what is on the ground.
I don’t see any credibility in forming an alliance, whether individually or collectively. The average Gambia voter, who used to support the opposition, is discouraged, and most of them are throwing their weight behind the APRC, because they don’t see us as serious people who are credible, who will listen to the people and do what they want.
As I said, we betrayed the hopes and aspirations of the people, and the people have disowned us, and that is one reason why I said I am not going to contest as a presidential candidate. Because it is a mockery and an insult to the intelligence of the Gambian people.
Anybody who wants to do it can do it. What we need is another generation of politicians, who are committed and know what to do to form a credible opposition, but not the current political leadership. The current political leadership is completely out. Our behaviour as a group, collectively and individually, will not get any support from the Gambian people.
The APRC party will have no serious challenger, and they are going to win by a landslide, because they have the support of the people. They behave credibly as a political party, not because they are the ruling party, but because their grassroots organs and everything is intact, and they have records to show to the people, and they have an agenda that Gambians can buy. We must give credit where credit is due. Let’s just be honest.
The truth is that the APRC party have performed well, and the people would give them their votes because the opposition have betrayed the hopes and aspirations of the people. They have nothing absolutely to tell the APRC. The APRC is more credible than any other political party in this country, because of the way they behave.
Jammeh never betrayed the trust of the Gambian people and, therefore, Gambians are going to vote for him.