By Ndey Sowe
The GDC leader and presidential candidate in the December 1 presidential election on Tuesday December 6 held a press conference to contribute his quota to ‘peace and tranquility of this country.
“I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank all Gambians and our electorate especially those who voted for the GDC. I want to register my appreciation of all the members of the Gambia Democratic Congress.
“It is a newly registered political party and we have achieved a lot, without this executive and the sympathisers of GDC we would not have reached the level we are today,” he said.
He noted how under the newly amended Elections Act they were required to obtain the signatures of at least ten thousand Gambians for their party to be registered which would not have been possible without the support of the deputy party leader, Mr Yusupha Jaiteh and every Gambian who stood by their side until the party was registered and who never left them behind. “They were always with us up to the level of election,” he pointed out.
He expressed his appreciation for both the APRC and the Coalition for the peaceful manner in which the campaign was conducted. “I want to register my appreciation of all the political parties starting from the coalition, and the APRC members. The entire campaign was conducted peacefully and there was not a single time that I heard that people were fighting or there were problems with political parties meetings or issues that were not of the nature we want it to be. For the GDC throughout the campaign everything went peacefully and that alone has shown that this country is one Gambia, one people; and we thanked all the political parties including GDC,” he remarked.
On Friday, he said, Gambians finally decided who should lead this country and GDC accepted it in good faith. He went on to say: “As I always say during my campaign it is not for me to decide who should lead, it is not for President Jammeh to decide who should lead and it is not for Adama Barrow who should decide who should lead, it is the Gambian people who should decide. I believe all of us should accept it in good faith.”
He indicated that subsequent to the declaration of results he has been receiving reports of fights. He therefore called on every Gambian be it the APRC, the GDC, or Coalition 2016 to desist from violence. He noted that the campaign has been conducted peacefully and the most beautiful thing Gambians have achieved “in the history of this country is to change the leadership through the ballot box I think that alone should be enough for us. That alone should make us raise our heads up throughout the world. That joy alone should not give us any room for violence. It was said that there is no democracy in this country, it was said that there is no respect for human rights in this country; now that there is a change we who brought about the change should practise it and respect human rights and make sure that democracy is also practiced,” he opined.
He emphasized that APRC supporters have the right to put on an APRC T-shirt, the GDC supporters have the right to put on a GDC T-shirt and likewise Coalition 2016 supporters. “It is no harm in putting on a T-shirt to show that a person is supporting a particular party. It is his or her right and we should respect everybody’s fundamental right. I am calling on all Gambians to maintain the peace and tranquility of this country. If we love our country, if we love the future leaders of this country we should be able to spearhead the peace of this country. Any form of revenge is not helping us. I think the political atmosphere has changed and we must do everything to make sure that political atmosphere is changed.”
He said that so many thought that election can never get President Jammeh out of power, but that GDC never believed this. “So all that the GDC believed was that, change is possible through ballot box. I have been a member of the Pan African Parliament, I know protocols that are put in that parliament condemning all forms of unconstitutional government. So I needed that and I worked with them and I don’t believe a change of government can only happen through the ballot barrel. The barrel will not differentiate who Ousman or Fatou is. Today I’m very proud as a Gambian, and I believe every Gambian is proud to see that we have effected change through the ballot box,” he concluded.
He seized the opportunity to congratulate UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and his team for their release, noting that they are heroes in this Country. He continued: “And what makes them a hero is what Ousainou said that; we should forgive and we should close all of our old chapters and open a new page. Why are people talking about Mandela, is what he has done for South Africa, and what happens in South Africa would never happen in this country but they were able to forsake and forgive, and today every South African is happy and I want that also to be maintained in The Gambia; a small country like The Gambia less than two million people. We do not want any form of revenge in this country.”
He thanked the media for a work well done. He also thanked the GDC members and the Diaspora and apologized to all Gambians.