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Waa Juwara on opposition meeting on United Front

Sep 8, 2011, 1:53 PM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

Lamin Waa Juwara, one-time strong opposition leader and now Governor of the Lower River Region, has lashed out at his former colleagues in the opposition, describing their recent meeting on the possibility of forming a United Front ahead of the forthcoming Presidential Election as a “futile engagement”.

Juwara, also a long-time past critic of the ruling APRC party, shifted his allegiance to the APRC in 2008, two years after the NADD alliance, of which he was then a member, lost the 2006 presidential election to incumbent President Yahya Jammeh.

His comments have come as the ruling APRC sets its eyes in three key opposition strongholds in the Lower River Region, notably the constituencies of Kiang West, Kiang Central and Jarra Central ahead of the November polls with a view to capturing them.

Speaking in an interview with this paper yesterday, the former Niamina Dankunku parliamentarian said Gambians have “lost confidence” in the opposition because, as he put it, “the opposition has dashed the hopes of the people by pulling out of the NADD alliance”.

According to Juwara, whose move to the APRC party was seen as a big blow to the opposition generally, as at now, no amount of talk by the opposition can restore that confidence.

“It will require an entire generation of new political leadership that can bring about change to attract the attention of Gambians,” he said.

Mbarodi, as he is fondly called, said for now, the overwhelming majority of Gambians have made up their minds to vote for President Jammeh and the APRC party.

“Their (APRC’s) consistency and track record so far has made them the choice of the people,” Waa added.

In Waa Juwara’s view, there is no amount of coalition that can restore the confidence of the Gambian people to the opposition side because, for him, the actions the opposition took “especially UDP and NRP is unbridled arrogance to say that they are the only people capable of leading the opposition, when they have woefully failed during the last election”.

“With presidential election just around the corner, talking about an alliance is political nonsense because nobody is listening to them,” he stated.

It would be recalled that leaders of various opposition parties in the country last week met in an undisclosed location in the Kanifing Municipality to discuss, among others, the possibility of forming an opposition alliance, which they said was in the best interest of Gambians.

Sources said the meeting, which brought together key political party leaders, was the first and will be followed by similar meetings, at least two to three more times.

While political analysts said the November polls will bring together a fragmented opposition, whose only option is to unite against incumbent President Jammeh, others said even with less than three months to go, it is not too late for the opposition parties to bury their differences and come together in an alliance if the right actions and decisions are taken.

A total number of 837, 029 (eight hundred and thirty seven thousand, twenty nine) people have registered to vote in the November polls, showing a massive increase since the last election’s figure, which was 670,336 registered voters.