For years, Gambians longed for a strong and united opposition that would challenge President Yahya Jammeh. Last year, five opposition parties came together to create the National Alliance for Democracy and Development. But with presidential elections scheduled for October this year, one of the key members of the alliance has resigned. Osainou Darboe, whose United Democratic Party holds the majority, says he was resigning due to lack of trust among its members.
Hamat Bah is leader of the National Reconciliation Party and a member of the opposition alliance. English to Africa reporter James Butty asked him if there is a problem of distrust among members of the alliance. “Well, that’s Mr. Darboe’s perception. That’s his belief. I can believe certainly to an extent what Ousainou Darboe is saying. May be he has every reason to believe that some members don’t trust him in the coalition.”
Bah says the National Alliance for Democracy and Development has been having power struggle problems. “Yes, as it happens in every coalition, there have been some problems in selecting a coalition leader. But we have not completely exhausted completely the process through which we set ourselves in the memorandum of understanding.”
Bah denies that part of the coalition’s problems is a result of ethnic differences. He blames such thinking on detractors of the coalition who he says will say anything to tarnish the coalition’s image. He says the coalition has not dashed the hopes of the Gambian people. “We have not disappointed the people of Gambia. In fact we have rekindled the hope of Gambians. And we have no doubt that come October 2006, there will be one credible opposition candidate against Yahya Jammeh, and Jammeh will definitely be defeated.”