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Karamba Touray: Digging Deeper Into The Local Government Election Results

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Karamaba Touray, Gambian In USA

In the just concluded local government elections , 11 registered political parties plus a slate of Independents for a combination of 12 categories of contenders battled it out . When the dust settled, President Adama Barrow’s NPP and his allied parties were declared winners in 53 wards , UDP in 44 , Independents 8, GDC 5, APRC 5, NRP 4, and PDOIS 1. Two distinct patterns emerged from this election . The first is how each category of contender performed in terms of the wards won and the second is the total votes cast for each competing party. In terms of total seats won , NPP and its allies led by a slim margin relative to its closest competitor the UDP but the total seats won by parties in opposition to the NPP alliance are more in number . Additionally , in most of the wards the NPP carried , the margins were razor thin and the combined votes of the opposition far out weighed the votes cast for the NPP . While a win is still a win , the slender scope of the victories in the areas that are known to be strongholds of NPP fit into the wider pattern of overall underperformance.
The most significant pattern to emerge out of the elections was the scale of the defeat inflicted on the NPP and their allies in West Coast and KMC which together account for more than half of the population of the country . It was an overwhelming victory for the UDP reaffirming their earlier victory with additional seat pickups and further consolidating their position as the party of the urban majority and its diverse population. In these important regions UDP swept 30 wards and NPP won only 5 . In contrast to the razor thin margins the NPP got in its URR and CRR bases , the UDP victories in the population dense urban metropolis were clear and decisive . That a sitting President, serving a second term , in alliance with six other political parties , with full access to the entire machinery of government and its blatant utilization to aid his campaign could only manage five ward councilors in an area where more than half of all Gambians reside point to a ruling party that has lost the trust and confidence of a majority of voters . Another lesson is the bright light that has been shown on the light weight character of the NPP’s putative allies. Not a single one of them has demonstrated any capacity that they have national reach and a deliverable support base spread across the country . The only two that managed to win a handful of councilors managed a combined total of only nine wards out of the hundred and twenty up for grabs . Of those 9 NRP won four wards all of which were centered in one corner or CRR north and the total number of votes cast for their four victors amounted to a puny 4809 votes . And the faction of APRC that Fabakary Tombong Jatta sold to President Barrow could manage only 5 seats and a combined vote total of 17849 all similarly centered in just one corner of the country . Pdois which won one seat but because it competed across the country garnered 14210 more than three times the total NRP got for all their four seats combined .What this reveals is the thin and flaky nature of the parties in alliance with NPP who simply have no deliverable support base . They are essentially limited liability enterprises with an IEC registration certificate that their leaders leverage to transact government positions for themselves and a handful of their associates . In the process , they manage to swindle and herd a few thousand gullible people to serve as props and useful vehicles to advance their personal interests . They are special interest self serving merchants with no commitment to anything beyond what they can get for themselves . They cannot deliver electoral success but they are adept at scheming to look like they have voters behind them . They are what Texas ranchers call “ all hat and no cattle “.
In the end these local government council elections were a substantive defeat for NPP and their allies . They lost the aggregate number of seats as well as the popular votes cast . Crucially their main competitor UDP who had no alliance partner , won 44 seats outright against an NPP alliance of at least 6 registered parties as yambarr as they were . Even more noteworthy was how crushing the defeat was in the the two regions that make up more than half of all voters . I also expect the remaining election for mayors and chairpersons to be similarly resolved in favor of the opposition retaining the majority and the NPP and their allies facing crushing defeat . Voters want less of NPP across the board because of their record of corruption, incompetence and general malfeasance. I am confident UDP will build on their strong ground game , grow the trust , confidence and enthusiasm voters have for their capable, honest and hardworking candidates and reach every voter with a clear and believable agenda the party and its candidates have for the country . Our message is clear , our candidates are top notch and our priorities are the people and their pressing needs . Informed voters will always support competent , honest and hardworking leaders with proven records of putting people front and center of governance .

Karamba Touray- USA

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