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GDC did well but changes needed: Yusupha Jaiteh, MC Cham should be reassigned
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GDC did well but changes needed: Yusupha Jaiteh, MC Cham should be reassigned

Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) had upset the apple-cart in the just concluded local government elections held on Thursday, 12th April 2018. Well, well, well that was not on the script, was it? The party's political trajectory is enviable and won them many admirers on the side-lines. Their supporters are generally mild-mannered, civil in discussion and comport themselves well, which earned them plaudits from many quarters. 

Their achievement set pulses racing among sympathisers. The party some called the new kid on the block, to others the growing baby party. I would say it must be a baby Elephant that is crushing anything in its path.

GDC is the biggest winner on Thursday night. They quintupled the number of seats won from last year's National Assembly elections; no other party manages that feat. How dare they win in Hamat Bah's backyard of Saloum (Ballaghar)? How dare they win in Kiang Central (Jiroff)? How dare they win in President Barrow's voting ward of Jabang? How dare they win in President Barrow’s home village (Julangel ward)? How dare they win Farafenni? For those wondering what President Barrow was doing in Jarra during the campaign period in the name of reconciliation wonder no more. He was there to halt GDC's growth. 

GDC trounced the established decades old parties and gave UDP an almighty scare which left their supporters gasping for breath. Their performance inflicted an excruciating pain in the hearts of the yellow grouping. In the build-up to the elections, prophets of doom prophesied total collapse of GDC at the polls, but who's talking now? These naysayers mocked, ridiculed and caricatured Hon Kandeh at every given opportunity, even in instances where there is no need for it. Even Hon Kandeh's benevolent gesture to rural dwellers wasn't spared. What they don't know is that rural people are very appreciative and have manifested it. I have also seen moderate UDP supporters predicted 90 plus seats for themselves and a measly 10 for GDC whilst their rabid supporters predicted zero seats for the baby party. 

What next for GDC?

All their supporters acknowledged that they underperformed in the Greater Banjul Area. To reverse this trend, they need to look inwards and make some necessary changes starting from the top. 

MC Cham:This is a guy that all GDC supporters like and respect for his handwork and dedication to the party, but the truth is he is manning a position (National Youth Mobiliser) unsuitable for him. If MC cannot mobilise youths of his constituency to vote for him, how can he mobilise youths of other areas to vote for GDC?  He lost his bout. He did not come second, not even third but a distant fourth beaten by two independent candidates one of whom announced his candidature few weeks before the election. That is enough reason to reassign him to a position that suits him. He seems to have a good rapport with the media, so I would suggest his reassignment to head of media and communication. 

Yusupha Jaiteh:GDC came into being during the height of the struggle. Mr Jaiteh's selection as deputy party leader raised few eyebrows. At the time I saw comments of the ever cynical and sometimes out of order Ngange Demba Njie. He reckoned Mr Jaiteh's appointment/selection was calculated to entice Mandinka voters. Well, if that is the case it is not working as most Mandinkas have aligned themselves with UDP.

As far as performance is concerned, look at GDC's abysmal results in his hometown of Bakau, enough to move him elsewhere. Look at our next door neighbour Senegal, President Macky Sall released his then Prime Minister Mimi Toure to contest Dakar Mayoral to prove her political base. She lost and has since been left in the wilderness. I am not calling for Mr Jaiteh's removal from the executive but a reassignment to a more suitable role. I would suggest that the next deputy party leader should come from CRR as a show of appreciation for the trust and confidence they have in GDC.

The campaign manager too should go. President Barrow labelled residents of Banjul and Serrekunda as cowards during a meeting with Gambians in Turkey. The campaign manager should have organised a massive rally in Banjul and Serrekunda to break down the message to the electorates, but no, it was MC Cham with his customary rebuttal which the local press does not even bother to publish.

The author is a keenly follower of Gambian politics



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