By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Dr. Isatou Touray, the female presidential aspirant, who recently announced her candidacy as an independent in the forthcoming December 1 election, said she is calling on all the opposition parties to rally behind her as the strategy for the removal of the APRC regime.
She said this in a press briefing at her residence in Brusubi yesterday, Monday, 5 September, 2016.
Responding to a question on what her stance is regarding the formation of a coalition with the opposition parties, Dr. Touray said the strategy of a coalition is okay but that this has never brought about change.
She said the NADD coalition was a very good opportunity in 2006 which many Gambians felt was the answer to effect a change.
“Unfortunately coming together and coming to terms after a long process of dialogue and conversation, the onlookers were contacting individual parties to tell them let us move, only to see that it was not possible,” said Dr. Touray.
She said the idea of a coalition is not a new thing in the Gambia as it has been coming up on many occasions in the past but has never materialized. She added that this (NADD) was a golden opportunity for Gambians to shift the balance of power.
The Independent presidential aspirant said the second opportunity was in 2011 when there was the ‘united front’ when only two parties came together.
“That also created an opportunity, where the Jammeh regime got entrenched because there was no coming together,” she added.
Dr. Touray said she is compelled to come up so that what happened in the past will not be repeated this time.
“So how are we going to change this strategy to ensure that the goal that we set to achieve is possible is to have an independent candidate who they can rally behind and give the opportunity,” she remarked.
Asked whether she is ready to submit herself to a primary as suggested by other opposition parties and to support whoever is selected in that process, Dr. Touray’s response was that she is confident that the opposition parties will endorse her as she has met with all of them.
Dr. Touray said it is a constitutional right to contest as an independent and also an opportunity to look at other strategies that can get the Gambia out of this current dire situation.
“I am open to discussion, but I have been an onlooker and an active onlooker watching the political landscape and the political dialogue which is going on and that is why I decided to come out as an independent candidate,” said Dr. Touray.
Dr. Touray said she is a development expert who will bring sound programs and policies to restore democracy and respect for human rights.
She noted that if she is elected for a one term of five years together with all stakeholders, she will work towards constitutional and electoral reforms, setting up commissions to handle important issues, promote the Gambia’s international image, restore democracy and a level field for every Gambian, particularly to all opposition parties.