|Mama Kandeh, Leader GDC|
After his expulsion from the ruling party a few years ago, the two-term member of the National Assembly under his old party set out quietly to form the GDC with little fanfare until its inauguration this year, taking even Yaya Jammeh by surprise.
The crowds that attend his political rallies and the caravans that follow his campaign team across the country have caught the attention of other political parties and vast swaths of the APRC who seem to be switching allegiance from Jammeh to Kandeh at a confidence shattering pace.
It is this discernible shift in support from Jammeh to the new party within the AFRC that threatens to change the political landscape, not only within the ruling party but across all opposition parties. And it is not only Jammeh taking notice but all of the other opposition parties whether it is admitted or not.
Mama Kandeh's entry into the political fray has undoubtedly changed the dynamics of the campaign by his ability to siphon off support from the APRC, thus weakening a party that has dominated the political scene for over two decades, fueled by the dictatorial zeal of its leader.
A weakened APRC makes the ruling party more vulnerable than at anytime in its history, thus providing the opposition a rare opportunity to, at least, give Jammeh a run for his money in the coming presidential and parliamentary elections in December 2016 and April 2017. For all of this to happen hinges on the opposition parties' ability and willingness to coalesce under a single leadership.
It is widely believed that GDC's influence extends beyond the APRC and into the support base of other opposition parties, making it a party of pragmatic opportunism than one driven purely by ideological, parochial or ethnic concerns which partially explains its popularity across party and ethnic lines.
No one understands the favorable political position GDC is in better than Mr. Mama Kandeh, party officials and his supporters which puts them in an enviable negotiating position. Recent information suggests that the consultations process is ongoing which should give hope to all those who wish to see a united opposition against Jammeh in December.