GAMB0001Gambian opposition in general are good at creating or generaring political momentum but their problem lies in sustaining it. The main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) is no exception here. The truth is that even the party’s ambitious, able-bodied and energy-filled youths complain about this waekness. They keep wondering when shall there be cure to this disease, which if left ubtreated, could derail the goal of unseating Dictator Yahya Jammeh in 2016.

Hear the query of a particular opposition youth leader. “For my party to spice up the already built momentum, the youth wing must be involved in high level decision making processes. We’ll then take the political fight to the doorstep of Jammeh and his ruling APRC [Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction]. Of course, this doesn’t mean taking up arms. No, all we will do is to campaign tactically in a bid to win the hearts and minds of Gambian electorate.”

We agree with the youth leader that maintaining the momentum is a perfect winning strategy, as it keeps voters engaged. Voters are like radio or tv audience who keep switching, in search of what their desires. They usually stay where there is plenty of activities which gives them sense of belonging and high level of attachment. 

A Brikama UDP youth coordinator spoke the plain truth when he said “Jammeh can fool some people sometimes, but he cannot fool all the people all the time. For twenty-one years he has been fooling us with his gifts, knowing fully these cannot address our current economic problems.” He was specifically driving home the precarious situation of Kafuta, a village whose residents were in the past known for owning model vegetable gardens.  Kadutans have had their inherited vegetable lands seized by forced only to be handed over to foreigners. With nothing left, they now till the land for foreigners in return for low wage agricultural jobs. And to add salt to injury, they lack job security.

Clearly, the Gambian opposition appears to be sitting on a gold mine. What is more soothing than knowing your enemy’s weak points? President Jammeh’s land grabbing spree – either for personal use or for his so-called magnanimity purpose – needs to make huge talking point. This is happening in a country where land for agricultural purpose is limited as evidenced by backlog of court cases to that effect.  

The goal of the opposition here is to perfectly define the man who made us believed that he was a Saint in July 1994, only for us to realise that he is nothing but a pathological liar and betrayer. The election will be won or lost depending on how much efforts have been done to expose Jammeh’s uncountable mismatches or contradictions.

For the opposition to remain in the limelight, there should be conscious plan and efforts to engage and feed the minds of the electorate long before the election battle lines are drawn. There are many ways to engage the voters, in particular, those at the grassroots kevel. Let the opposition remember that the communities that turn their back on Jammeh for either bullying them or grabbing their lands are now looking up to the opposition for salvation. But gone are the days when food descended from the Heaven. 

Ends

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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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