By Buba Gagigo
The National Youth President for the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) Mc Cham Jr is confident that his party would retain its parliamentary seats in the April 2022 parliamentary election.
He argued that the National Assembly Election is about the candidate chosen but not the party.
“In 2016 Kandeh lost in Niamina East to Jammeh. The coalition took second and we (GDC) took third. But during the (2018) National Assembly election, Omar (Ceesay) won. The margin between Omar and UDP was 220 votes. So, I feel like the National Assembly election is about the candidate and what he did during his tenure. It’s not about the party. The party can select a candidate and have all the support around that area, but if you select the wrong candidate he may lose. I believe Honourable Omar Ceesay will retain his seat because people during the campaign were telling us they would vote for Omar during the National Assembly election. But in the presidential election they voted for Barrow. It happened in Wuli, in the presidential election, they voted for Jammeh, but in the parliamentary election they voted for Sidia Jatta,” Mc Cham Jr said.
Mr Cham’s party, the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) finished third in the just concluded presidential election, but rejected the results with the United Democratic Party (UDP) which finished second.
However, Essa Njie, a political analyst recently predicted NPP dominated parliament following the party’s recent presidential election victory.
“President Barrow’s victory will likely strengthen NPP’s base across the country. It is an opportunity for MPs loyal to Barrow in parliament and even their current MP to retain their position in the upcoming (parliamentary) election. I am predicting an NPP dominated parliament but I do not think this necessarily has to do with the party policies and programs, what the party can offer to the Gambian people. That is advantage of incumbency. Once the president wins elections, it’s easier for the party to dominate parliament In the context of Africa especially in The Gambia. So it wouldn’t necessarily be policies and programs of NPP but has to do with the influence of the president.
He said to prevent that from happening, the opposition have to tighten their belts.
“It’s quite going to be a challenge for the opposition unless they tighten their belt to make sure that they contest parliamentary elections to prevent an NPP dominated parliament which will hamper Democratic accountability especially when it comes to checking the executive for ensuring that they scrutinized and are held accountable for their actions,” Njie said.
The GDC won 5 parliamentary seats in the April 2018 election. However, the 5-year-old opposition party currently holds only 2 parliamentary seats. It expelled 2 parliamentarians this year and lost one to the NPP in a by-election last year, after the passing in 2019 of its sitting member Honourable Demba Sowe.