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‘Opposition parties working towards an alliance’

Jul 18, 2011, 1:01 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Veteran opposition leader and Secretary General of the United Democratic Party has assured Gambians, in the run up to the forthcoming presidential elections scheduled for 24th November 2011, that each of the opposition parties in the country is seriously working towards forming a formidable opposition alliance.

“The opposition parties in this country are working towards an alliance.  PDOIS has an approach for an alliance and the UDP has another approach for an alliance. What is left now is how to harmonize those approaches for that alliance, and I believe that will come to fruition,” Darboe told The Point in an interview on Saturday.

Commenting on the recent meetings by different political parties to address the issue of days allocated for the official campaign period for the presidential election, the UDP leader told this reporter that, as far as the United Democratic Party is concerned, the campaign period set by the Independent Electoral Commission is “too short”.

“In a very short interview with a local newspaper (The Standard), I stated my views and the views of the United Democratic Party that, as far as the campaign period is concerned, we feel that the period is too short and inadequate, and we hope that something will be done about it,” he stated.

Darboe, who declined to comment on the meetings held by opposition parties, said their discussions are privileged discussions and the outcome is not to be disclosed.

“Any statement to be made will be disclosed by one of those people directed to do so. It will not be proper for me to reveal what was discussed,” he stated.

Commenting on the ongoing meet-the-people tour by President Yahya Jammeh, the UDP leader reiterated his earlier statement that though the tour is ordinarily one that is enjoined by the constitution, President Jammeh should not use it as a political campaign ahead of the forthcoming polls.

“And, obviously, he is canvassing for votes. There is absolutely no doubt about that, because his ministers have been appealing for people to vote massively for him,” Darboe further stated.

Noting that he will not predict that he will be a candidate in the forthcoming elections, the UDP leader stated that he will certainly seek his party’s nomination as a presidential candidate in the November polls.

On the issue of funds for the campaign, Darboe said that every party is raising funds for its campaign, and “we at the UDP are raising funds that will enable our party to successfully conduct a decent campaign.”

He noted that any party that is vying for elections must raise funds.

“Even if for the local government elections, parties have to raise funds much more a presidential election,” he added.

UDP Priorities 

Commenting on what he said are some key areas that will be priorities to his party, the UDP leader said his party’s priorities will include the economy and agriculture, noting that with all the related sectors, his party cannot really ignore such, as they are very important and they impact on the lives of the ordinary Gambians.

“A bag of sugar is D1500. How many people can afford to get this, especially now that the Muslim holy month of Ramanda is coming, and how many people do earn D1500 a month? “ he asked.

“The cost of fuel is not decreasing, but is increasing instead because of the increase in the pump price of fuel without any budgetary approval for this by the National Assembly. 

“These are some of the issues we will be really taking up,” he further stated.