By: Yankuba Manneh

Just few hours before Independent electoral commission (IEC) officially begins nominations for 2021 Presidential aspirants, another new coalition agreement has been signed between Mama Kandeh’s Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) and the Yahya Jammeh backed APRC ‘No Alliance Movement (NAM).’

Leaders of the two parties made this public pronouncement at a presser late Friday evening at Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo.

This development came less than a month when former President Yahya Jammeh, in a telephone call, gave directives to his hardline loyalists to enter a merger with Sheikh Tijan Hydra’s Gambia Alliance for National Unity (GANU) while disapproving NPP-APRC alliance at a massive rally in Kanilai held on Friday 15th October, 2021.

Speaking at the joint press briefing, Yaya Tamba, deputy Party Leader for APRC ‘NAM’ said they signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GDC based on Yahya Jammeh’s directives. He also revealed that the coalition is named as ‘ Patriotics Gambians (PG)’ and would be led by Mama Kandeh as the flag bearer in this year’s Presidential race.

“Our party leader Yahya Jammeh gave his blessings that we should work with GDC and he approved the Party leader and Secretary General of GDC to be the flag-bearer of the coalition,” Mr. Tamba explained.

He further added: “We have come into the agreement under the detectives of President Yahya Jammeh to make a formidable organization with a seasoned and recognized politician and determined party whose purpose is only gear towards the interest of Gambians.”

Mr. Tamba went on to highlight the objectives of the PG coalition, saying both parties are committed to the cultivation of peace, realization of socio-economic developments and improvement of security infrastructure in the country.

“Patriotics Gambians is formed to rescue and liberate the Gambia from current downward scales of spiral lawlessness, conflicts, political instability, economic stagnation, degradation and national security,” he said emphatically.

Tamba was also quick to assure his militants and all Gambians that the PG is poised to establish a pragmatic National Reconciliation Council as well as reintroduce and strengthen the culture of respect for human rights and civil liberties as enshrined in the 1997 Constitution.

Mama Kandeh, the GDC Party Leader and now flag bearer of PG coalition commended the leadership of APRC ‘No Alliance Movement’ and the former President Yahya Jammeh for coalescing with his Party to salvage the country from bad rule.

Kandeh, who contested against Jammeh in 2016 elections said the directive from Jammeh showed how much the former President loves and cares about the development of the Gambia, even though he lives in exile. The former Lawmaker expressed delight and optimism at the signing of the MOU, noting that it is an important first step towards restoring what he called ‘Gambia’s lost hope.’

“Today is a great day for all Gambians. Gambians have lost hope. Gambians need someone to give them hope. And here we are giving you that hope,” he stated with renewed optimism.

Kandeh reiterated his resolve to unify all Gambians and to let go off the past and build a Gambia where youth and women become major drivers of the economy.

He also explained that the new coalition will serve as a savior for all Gambians as more basic services will be provided and a national reconciliation shall be guaranteed.

He underscored the significance of national unity, reconciliation and reparation and promised to champion this course once in power. He argued that, ‘that is the surest way to quickly develop this country by Gambians from all walks of life.’

“In the absence of unity in our nation, no human being can develop this country. And I believe every genuine Gambian would want to respect this,” GDC leader said at the signing ceremony.

Even though he was pressed to say what the MOU entails about Jammeh’s possible prosecution giving that former President Jammeh was adversely mentioned at recently concluded TRRC hearings, Kandeh answered with ambiguity.

The question that many Gambians are asking is whether Jammeh will actually face justice under Kandeh-led government should he wins the December polls.

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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