Gambia Has Decided – Now Let’s Work!

While listening to my friend Pa Mbai’s rather hysterical “Election Night Analysis” on the 6th of April 2017, I sent him an e-mail to dampen his “I am soooo happy tonight” hysteria. I told him that “my information is UDP has won 32 seats”. That did it! Pa calmed down! The problem with Pa is that he has lived in Yankee-Land too long. There the press think they decide the elections, not the voters. New York Times was the most hysterical of the “liberal media” in the last US Elections – and they are still trying to have Trump impeached!

More than a month before the Elections, on the 4th of March 2017 precisely, I stated that UDP and allied NRP/GMC/PPP would get 30 seats. See here

The subsequent virulent, mainly online, attacks on the UDP leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe stiffened the back of his supporters and the UDP has by itself ended up gaining 31 seats – that is 58% of the elected Members of Parliament (NAMs). UDP’s long-term ally Hamat Bah’s NRP has taken 5 seats – that is 9% of the elected NAMs. These two firm allies have 67% of the directly elected NAMs needed for fundamental constitutional changes. Mai Fatty’s GMC got no seats, but that does not matter really since GMC leader and Interior Minister Mai Fatty’s powerful Interior Minister position is in the gift of the UDP leadership of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and President Adama Barrow: Mai Fatty’s position is secure for the next five years (barring a serious mishap).

Mama Kandeh’s GDC received only 5 seats, but I am not surprised at that because Mama Kandeh’s impressive Presidential Elections performance was due to his former position as an APRC MP (there were unfounded rumours at the time that Mama Kandeh may infact have been a plant by Yahya Jammeh to divide the opposition votes – but Mama Kandeh’s presence ended up taking more votes from Yahya Jammeh himself!). GDC/Mama Kandeh’s best bet is probably to join the UDP – with Mama Kandeh being offered a cabinet post once he agrees not to oppose the UDP’s next Presidential candidate (likely to be the sitting President Adama Barrow). Rather poetically, the GDC and the former dictator’s party the APRC have tied at 5 seats each – and the Minority Leader of the Opposition would come from them.

Halifa/OJ sadness

It is sad to note that Halifa Sallah’s party got only 4 seats, less than dictator Jammeh’s APRC. It is also sad to note that the veteran Gambian politician and brave victim of Yahya Jammeh’s brutality, OJ Jallow received only 2 seats. Sadder still is the attacks on Lawyer Ousainou Darboe during the campaign, while Darboe kept a dignified silence. It really is incredible that Halifa Sallah, the undaunted National Hero seeing off the dictator, should have “clutched defeat out of victory” by a) refusing a cabinet position and b) stating that he would field 20 PDOIS candidates in the coalition unified list. If Darboe had agreed, UDP would not field candidates in those 20 PDOIS chosen constituencies! Darboe would not agree to that when he thought, rightly as it turned out, that PDOIS would capture only a few votes if in competition with UDP. OJ Jallow too would have expected a clear run at more that 2-seats had Darboe agreed to a unified list of candidates. There is no doubt that the “bad blood” was just politics – as it is everywhere. See bossom pals & dinner-party friends, the Trumps and the Clintons, turn brutally against each other for election purposes. And then Obama and Trump shaking hands? Halifa, OJ and Darboe will probably be sharing BENECHIN in the company of President Barrow tonight and I have only one suggestion.

Changing the Constitution to enable Halifa Sallah to the Speakership of the National Assembly

Now that Halifa Sallah has only 4 seats in the National Assembly, and more importantly UDP/NRP combined have 68% control, Halifa Sallah should be the Speaker of the House – no one is better qualified than him. The solid two thirds majority of the UDP/NRP Alliance makes my arguments here relevant:

The only problem is a constitutional one at the moment in that Dictator Jammeh decided that a Speaker should be his puppet (a nominated MP). The Speaker is in democracies elected from amongst themselves by the legislators and the Gambia’s Constitution should now be changed to reflect that norm. Halifa, now an MP, does not have the numbers to back him, but as the most qualified MP, Halifa should get the backing of the UDP/NRP MPs for the position.

All that now being out of the way, it is time to fully concentrate on The Gambia’s security and developmental needs.

Dida Halake

London, UK.