Rejoinder: Gambia: Agenda 2011: leaders of opposition parties must do the right thing.
Mr Jeggan Grey-Johnson’s write up on the freedomnews paper at first glance could deceive even the most critical reader. But on close scrutiny, his attempt of lecturing the UDP/NRP and the wider Gambian voters who don’t subscribe to PDOIS politics could not be missed. He like the few usual PDOIS followers of mainly Halifa Sallah, found it hard to resist the temptation of talking at Gambians. They tend to find us as very ignorant and people who don’t know their good.
Unlike the stance of PDOIS and Halifa, the UDP/NRP camp sees Gambians as people with intellect and the free will to do as they reasonably see fit. The pontificating of Halifa to Gambians is the biggest mistake this few harden followers of Halifa continue to repeat.
The leader of the biggest opposition party in the Gambia in an interview on the online Radio run by the www.thegambiajournal, concedes that, he has made some mistakes and he is willing to listen and change the political direction of Gambia. That is what we expect from our leaders, Obama’s short stint in white house demonstrate this practical example.
The UDP leader unlike the political saint don’t bonk about blaming others for the failure to unseat our country’s dictator. Oh no he accept that the task to change our condition is a job for every single Gambian. There is no time to blame others, and the sooner Halifa and his followers get to grips with that the better.
The United Democratic Party just like PDOIS, PPP, NRP, GMC etc are all registered political parties. These entities are under no constraint to join with others in unseating the APRC dictator and acclaim human rights abuser but for the sake of synergy and complimenting one another in various avenues can join forces through the proven method across the world to end Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny.
Mr Grey-Johnson on the other hand lectured us on why he think Halifa and O.J are the selfless politicians, well meaning, no over ambition for power etc whilst the UDP and NRP leaders are power hungry and unwilling to do unity. The puzzling thing which every sincere observer of Gambian political landscape will opine is that, Halifa is the leader who is the most difficult of all Gambian politicians one can deal with. Even lifelong PDOIS members concede to that fact off the record.
Without further ado, let me point out one statement from Mr Grey-Johnson’s complete partisan piece.
“The fact that UDP and NRP are paying lip service to unity, and doing the complete opposite, signals the power lust for leadership even before they’ve reached State House.” Mr Grey-Johnson
How so, whoever has been feeding you these words apparently is lying. If you look deeper, use less emotion, you will notice who is unwilling to open up to unity talks. We are supposed to put the fire out at this juncture, but since you started the exchanges, I will assist you along the way.
It is for the NADD/PDOIS leader to deal with the antipathy existing between him and Darboe. Gambians know Ousainou is more influential than Halifa, 5 to 1 may be but still Gambians wish that, the differences between the two men be resolve and harmony prevail.
All sober Gambians should see Halifa’s latest attempt as a belligerent defiance in the face of a slow walk toward serious unity. Halifa’s entire Agenda 2011 is allegorical, pointing to something all together different than what it’s portrays. Gambians should be careful of his new trick.
Halifa has masterminded PDOIS affairs for over two decades, proofing unsuccessful yet, what can work are ignored because of pride and other ulterior motives. Halifa’s new plot is more farfetched than the decoding of the Davinci code. We at the UDP are aware of the forces at work prompting Halifa stubbornness masking it with rousing flowery words.
The quest to be remembered or even name alongside the messianic legacy of Africa’s anti-colonialist heroes will continue to deprive Halifa of the ability to understand issues now. He should stop living in the past!
The drummers of Agenda 2011 are seriously sleeping politically. How can different political parties hold primaries to select a leader? In which country have we ever seen such a system?
Mr Grey Johnson, don't fall for a trick bigger than Denton Bridge. All successful temporal marriages of convenience came about as a result of lesser parties rallying behind bigger ones. But for some spectacular reasons Mr Sallah thought by avoiding the opposition political parties and going direct to the voters, he can get his wish of fulfilling a compelling dream.
Readers should understand that, Mr Johnson’s misinterpretation of Gambian opposition’s true state is meant only to give Halifa more credibility against the other opposition leaders Gambians prefer over him In short his analysis can be simplify as follows:
Read the skill in super manipulation
1. Halifa is not power hungry but others are (Ousainou)
2. Sedia handed the baton to Halifa and Ousainou didn't. (What that expose his that, Mr Grey-Johnson's dislike of UDP selecting Ousainou at their party congresses doesn't matter, what matters is that Ousainou should be deselected because one Mr Grey-Johnson said so. I wonder where his democratic credentials went to, if he has any?)
Opposition leaders who ended up becoming Presidents, Prime Ministers stick with their people. They don’t all practice the American system of letting a fail opposition presidential candidate be banished to their congressional seat.
Obvious examples one can point out are: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair of United Kingdom. He was an opposition leader until John Major was unseated. He then went on to lead labour for over ten years.
Abdoulie Wadda of Senegal, he too was an opposition leader for close to two decade, yet he ended becoming the Senegalese president using the formula that sane minded political tacticians and strategist would only contemplate... the rallying of smaller parties behind the larger one.
In Kenya, the current Prime Minister was an opposition figure until he became the prime Minister after so many years, and the current president himself was a product of smaller parties backing the larger one. In Zimbabwe, the current prime Minister was an opposition leader for a long time. I can go on and on.
Mr Grey-Johnson it seems wish to bypass all proven methods of coalitions for a system that only Halifa Sallah can think of out a box. Even in America were electing a party leader takes the form of a primary, the contending candidates all belongs to one party, not different parties. The mere flaunting of such absurd idea is not just counterproductive but seriously lacking scholarly thought.
The UDP select their party leader at their annual congress, it is the executive and the members who regularly stick with Ousainou, who is Mr Grey-Johnson to suggest that, Ousainou should leave thus lazily thinking that, his man will get advantage due to that.
I wonder why the PDOIS guys are actually throwing such outlandish argument.
3. Agenda 2011 which propound some of the most of undemocratic calls is embraced by some confused and misinform followers who refuse to look deeper than what is apparent. That is, Halifa said in the material, only those who buy into the agenda 2011 will be allowed to vote in any primary. Now, is that democratic Mr Grey-Johnson? No wonder only lifelong Halifa guys are even contemplating reading the material.
4. Mr Grey-Johnson fail to point out that Halifa is actually a failed parliamentarian who couldn’t withhold his seat in Serrekunda. If Halifa’s 25 years plus political wisdom is such that, he can give us readymade solution out our current debacle, he will never speak to anyone about coalition let alone speaking with the UDP. If it is Halifa who is in Ousainou’s position with a majority stake in the opposition camp, the last person he will consider speaking to will be Ousainou. Yet Mr Grey-Johnson felt, Ousainou is the problem and Halifa the political dynamo and master tactician should be given a crocked badge to lead the opposition into a 6% vote share.
5. NADD according to Mr Grey-Johnson got a 100% improve result, in actual terms if you add 3%+3%=6%. In politics there is no insignificant figure when it is vote share, half a percent is a serious figure. Thus, NADD did not score 6% but a lesser amount. And even for argument sake if we take the 6% as an improvement, which right thinking person will exchange 6% for over 25% plus?
Only our somersaulting PDOIS poll analyst will ever take us in that direction. NADD couldn’t even capture a mere double figure in the range of 10% or even 12% but a meagre 6% yet Mr Johnson is shouting his top off with such figures, imagine if NADD has score 15%, who will dare approach Halifa for him uniting with other opposition parties? But as usual, Mr Grey-Johnson like many of Halifa’s followers only understand his outward big ideological propaganda, his stubbornness and lack of tolerance to alternative views never down on his harden followers. Their years of residing in the west have little or no effect on their understanding of give and take in politics.
Ousianou Darboe is not power hungry neither unwilling to speak with members of other opposition camp. In fact that is what he has been doing for long time now. But if you are trying to convince someone who looks at you like an illiterate, what chance do you have to put your message across to him?
Mr Grey-Johnson should tell us why he thinks Halifa will win a primary to become the leader of the opposition. If he can just manage to do that in just one paragraph, many will appreciate his efforts.
But to finally state why Mr Grey-Johnson and other misinform writers feel the Agenda 2011 will favour Halifa or their chosen candidate before any voting, their premise is the simple fact that, it is Halifa who wrote the idea.
Since Halifa wrote the undemocratic idea which among other thing state that:
“one person can sell the idea to 50 people, this 50 people will come back to the initiator of the Agenda (Halifa)...” so that he can tell them what to do, and those 50 people will also go on passing the good news to hundreds more. This simple logic place Halifa at an advantageous position against the rest of the opposition candidates.
Now let Mr Grey-Johnson tell us less intelligent Gambians, is that a good way to attain leadership? Deceiving your colleagues with a grand idea which is nothing but communistic at best. However, all that Mr Halifa Sallah has unconvincing put together calling it Agenda 2011 is just a dream lacking direction.
PDOIS even in Banjul could not over two decades of taking part in party politics produce a winning candidate, Halifa became a parliamentarian due to UDP boycotting the 2001 elections, leading to him wining the Serrekunda seat. Wouldn’t it be much easier for Halifa to device a winning formula for his own battleground first and then he can think of countrywide?
The Agenda 2011 is:
An idea propounded by one man, cannot be the property of a nation. When people were involve from the onset to the completion of the agenda, then it become a representative material, but by virtue of it being a singular idea of Halifa, Gambians are at liberty to say no to dictatorial tendencies at its infancy. We are no more a state where one man can hoist his thoughts on the rest, with the pretext of sweet talks and hiding behind sovereign dogma. Halifa is equal to one Gambian; therefore, let him tell us, who he consulted in arriving at the modalities of what he is calling the ‘Agenda 2011’. What substantive researches did he carry out and what methodologies if any did he utilize to know that, the agenda 2011 will make any difference? Did Halifa carried out any preliminary test among Gambians, preferably none PDOIS sympathizers in ascertaining the viability of the Agenda?