UDP prefers party led-coalition, urges all opposition parties to join them 

Jul 10, 2023, 11:22 AM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

Political party leaders are said to have begun coalition talks ahead of the 2026 presidential election. However, the North Bank Region Spokesperson of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has expressed his opinion that his party would prefer a UDP led-coalition in the 2026 presidential election.

President Barrow recently announced his third term bid but the decision appears unpopular among Gambians who advised him to emulate Senegalese President, Macky Sall.

Former TRRC Lead Counsel Essa Faal has urged veteran politician, Hon Halifa Sallah to initiate coalition talks as he did in 2016 for the opposition to put their forces together against President Barrow in 2026.

Reacting to calls for coalition among opposition parties ahead of 2026 presidential election, UDP’s Karamo Njie said his party prefers a party led coalition to avoid the mistake of the past.

“UDP may not want to go into 2026 coalition type where we equated our powers with parties without base for the interest of the nation. It’s unfair to go into coalition with parties without base in the name of national interest. Some of the parties should accept the fact that we are the biggest opposition party in country and join us in the crusade to end misrule and inefficiency within the government,” Njie stated.

He added that his party may not want go into coalition talks with parties without structures whose only interest is to use UDP’s influence to achieve power.

“In other countries if oppositions are really interested in changing the status quo, they endorse the biggest opposition party and they will be opted in the government after victory. Unlike in The Gambia, opposition want to achieve power by going into equal shares with the main party without due consideration to their support on the ground. During the selection process of the coalition 2016 flagbearer, some of the parties were without a delegate in some parts of the country, yet they failed to acknowledge UDP’s power by selecting an independent candidate instead of a UDP-led coalition,” he charged.

Njie urged other opposition parties to join them in the crusade to end President Barrow’s rule in 2026 by supporting a UDP-led alliance. 

The UDP NBR spokesman rubbishes recent comments suggesting that the UDP leader should retire, saying those peddling that kind of comments lack moral right (s) as they are not members of the UDP.

“Darboe will be our candidate in 2026 and there is no reason that should warrant his untimely retirement in politics because his case is completely different from President Barrow and Sall. Darboe is not occupying any state position and there is no term limits imposed on opposition leaders because it’s of no use to the masses. We should put pressure on Barrow to do the needful and forget about opposition leaders if we want to be seen as serious public servants” Mr Njie said.

President Barrow has declared his third term bid; a decision hailed by his supporters. However, UDP’s leader, Ousainou Darboe is yet to declare his 2026 presidential bid but rumours have it that he is still interested in the presidency. 

Njie further advises the Presidential Advisor, Mr. Saihou Mballow to acquaint himself with the coalition 2016 document framework and stop misleading the public insisting that President Barrow’s transition was 3 years and not 5 years, as claimed by advisor, arguing that he even failed that promise. So, he should step down after this term because there is nothing further to justify, he added.