Presidential Debate: Sallah, Jammeh and Faal Confirm Participation, Barrow, Darboe & Kandeh yet to Confirm

The stage is set for today's Presidential debate

For the first in The Gambia’s political history, Candidates contesting for President in the 4th December polls will rob shoulders today in the country’s first ever presidential debate.

Three out of the six candidates in the race namely Halifa Sallah of PDIOS, Independent candidate, Essa Mbaye Faal and Gambia Unity Party frontrunner,  Abdoulie Ebrima Jammeh confirmed their participation while Incumbent President Adama Barrow of NPP, UDP Leader Lawyer Ousainou Daboe and Mamma Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress are all yet to confirm their participation in the debate organized by the commission on Political Debates.

All the candidates vying for the presidency were sent invites by the organizers of the historic presidential debate, The Commission on Political debates but at the time of going to press only three candidates confirmed attendance.

The non confirmation of attendance by Darboe, Barrow and Kandeh has raised questions as to why they are shying away from an opportunity to tell Gambians in a televised debate why they should be given a run at the presidency for the next five years.

“We can confirm that we had a meeting with the president and he has committed to participating in the debate. However, the necessary paperwork such as signatures which every candidate should sign to participate is yet to be received. But I can confirm that yes- our team met with the president and he assured his participation, an official from the commission on political debates told Alkamba Times after online reports suggested that President Barrow already confirmed his wish to partake in the debate.

Meanwhile The Commission on Political Debates (CPD) announced earlier this week that journalists Fatoumata Ceesay of Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS) and Saikou Jammeh, former secretary General of Gambia Presss Union will serve as the Moderators of the Presidential Debate scheduled to take place on Saturday, November 20 at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre at 4:00 p.m local time.

The questions, according to organizers will focus on five thematic areas namely Health, Education, Agriculture, Infrastructure and the Economy.

The debate will be conducted and broadcast in English on television and simultaneously  translated on 4 radio stations in Mandinka, Wolof, Jola and Fula.

All six candidates who meet the criteria to participate in the elections have been invited to take part.

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Sainey M.K. Marenah
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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