Mai, who wrote on his Facebook page, explained that there was no provision in any of the Coalition 2016 documentation or processes that conditioned the conduct of parliamentary elections as a single unit.
The former Interior minister revealed that the issue of Coalition 2016 and Tactical Alliance was brought to the fore by Hon. Halifa Sallah and Mrs. Aji Yam Secka.
“The idea of contesting parliamentary elections as a Coalition was discussed for the first time at a meeting presided over by then President-elect Barrow at Kairaba Hotel. The Coalition Executive debated exhaustively but remained divided. Two contentions were debated: going as a Coalition would weaken political parties, and two, going as a Coalition is consistent with the coalition spirit.”
Mr. Fatty revealed that the meeting ended in an impasse, adding that consequently, each went on his or her own. The statement further indicated that, GMC, United Democratic Party (UDP) and National Reconciliation Party (NRP) agreed to pull their weight together in what became known as Tactical Alliance.
He stated that GMC was invited to concretise the idea of the alliance at the 11th hour at UDP Manjai bureau.
“It means, each party will respect the subjective strength of the other in constituencies or wards where each dominate in terms of support base. However, this principle collapsed well before nominations of parliamentary candidates. At least with GMC, we didn't feel that we were justly treated during the processes leading towards candidate selection and nomination for constituencies. Consequently the entire idea crashed.”
He said the three protagonists agreed on the Tactical Alliance idea but it was not implemented as envisaged.
Mai further revealed that UDP was willing to spare only one constituency for GMC, saying for instance in Wuli East, UDP Upper River Region (URR) Chapter, led by former chairman, Bubu Drammeh, openly endorsed, supported and campaigned for an Independent candidate against a GMC candidate, a supposedly Tactical Alliance partner.
“To avert internal conflict within the Alliance, GMC sent an executive delegation to the UDP leadership during the nomination period to discuss and resolve the contradictions within the alliance to no avail. GMC and UDP therefore put up candidates against each other at Niamina West, Tumana, Kantora, Jokadu, Niumi, etc. So did NRP as well.”
“What the public should know is that Tactical Alliance existed only in name, but not in practice. According to the UDP leadership, the entire country was their support base, and so there was very little they were willing to negotiate. Using the Minister of Local Government at the time, Hon. Lamin N. Dibba, community leaders such as chiefs and alkalolu were subtly pressured, and out of keeping their positions mostly supported UDP candidates across the country. I am speaking from personal knowledge and experience.”
Having said that, he added, it is also true that GMC and UDP have been traditional allies.
He said the future is yet to be determined, adding that the political constellation of The Gambia is no longer the same and future political topography remains unpredictable.