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May 8, 2015, 11:19 AM
Isatou Touray has urged Gambians not to allow anyone to divide them.
She made this statement when she was given a rousing welcome by a very large crowd at Brikama on 8 October 2016, at a political rally.
She told her supporters that tribalism has no place in The Gambia, as “we are all members of the same family”.
She also told the people to respect other religions because “they are also good”, adding that The Gambia is a secular state.
Dr Touray said the economy of the country is “diminishing”, further stating that some Gambians abroad want to come to the country to invest and create job opportunities, but “the environment is not conducive”.
“This is why the youths who are unemployed are risking their lives on the back-way journey,” she added.
She further stated that “there is no quality education”, which is why “students fail their exams”.
Dr Touray also stated that very few women have their own rice fields at Pacharr, but much of the work on those rice fields are done by them, who hardly benefit from their labour. “This is not women’s empowerment,” she said.
She further stated that “the hospitals have no medicines, except paracetamol, which are sometimes not available”.
Talking about the opposition, Dr Touray said for the past twenty years, the opposition in The Gambia had been struggling to unite to form a coalition, but they had failed.
The second round ballot in Gambia’s presidential election has been scrapped and the simple majority ballot introduced, she said, adding this was why the opposition wants to unite to put up a single candidate to unseat the incumbent.
She adduced further that she had not come to push the opposition aside, but since they tried on several occasions to form a coalition and failed, she felt it was time to come together to select a single candidate to contest in the presidential election on 1st December 2016 against the incumbent.
Dr Touray also said the opposition is doing a good job, adding that they are discussing on to how to select a single candidate and the discussions are progressing. She, therefore, commended the opposition for their cooperation.
She said she had travelled the length and breadth of the country, and had met hardworking men and women on the way.
She told her supporters she had seen a “deteriorating” country with “deteriorating institutions”, where people are living with fear of speaking their mind or the truth.
She further adduced that “Gambians today are not free to say what they think”, adding that “fear and terror have so gripped the people that most will look behind before they speak”.
She said: “The task before us is to awaken our consciousness of the sovereign power to use our votes, as the instrument of change to free ourselves from the rule of fear and terror, unleashed by a regime that created a series of laws or made amendments to existing laws that erode the rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution.”
Dr Touray stated that if elected president, she would create job opportunities for the youths, and would only stay for five years.
She said further that she would release lawyer Ousainou Darboe and all other political prisoners, if she is elected president.
Amie Bojang-Sissoho, in her remarks, told the gathering that Dr Isatou Touray decided to contest the presidential election as an independent candidate, because she felt “women of The Gambia have been marginalised”.
She added: “There is no respect for the rule of law; there is hardship in the country and the rate of unemployment is high, warranting the youths losing their lives on the back-way journey; there is a state of fear.”
Kebba Njie, who spoke on behalf of Lamin Waa Juwara at the rally, urged the opposition to unite and come up with a single candidate.
He also urged the youths to come out in their large numbers to vote out the incumbent on 1st December 2016.
He said they are throwing their weight behind Dr Isatou Touray, and would campaign for her.
Majanko Samusa of the National Conventional Party (NCP), who also spoke at the rally, told the gathering that the opposition are discussing to select a single candidate to contest against the incumbent.
Ramzia Diab, while addressing the crowd, said Dr Isatou Touray is a mother and highly educated, adding that she is as well highly respected by the international community.
Dr Touray is, therefore, competent enough to rule The Gambia for the progress, growth and development of The Gambia and all Gambians.
Kebba Ansu Manneh, in his remarks, called on the youths of The Gambia not to allow anyone to fool them, and to come out in their large numbers and vote for change on 1st December 2016.