|Leaders of Gambia's Opposition parties|
The lack of message discipline is threatening to derail an otherwise flawlessly-launched rolling out of the candidature of Dr. Isatou Touray as an Independent presidential candidate at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.. Unfortunately messaging mishaps started to gush out of the faucet immediately following the roll-out event.
A female team of Dr. Touray's supporters that hit the airwaves in support of their candidate was soon dubbed the "gender brigade" and accused of using the gender card to advance the cause of the Independent candidate. Gambian society is a still tradition and conservative setting and, more so in rural Gambia where . No one knows this better than Isatou Touray who has dedicated almost all of her professional life, in rural settings in the fight against female genital cutting.
Tagging her campaign with the gender card label is not only unfair, it is a demeaning to Isatou Touray and her female supporters - most, if not all, of those whothat is limiting to the human spirit that can only limit personal freedoms by stifling human progress.
In lamenting the unforced errors of the Dr. Touray's campaign a few blog posts back, little did we expect that the most devastating with potentially lasting impact on the campaign of Gambia's first woman candidate for the presidency. In an email release from the United Democratic Party members in the diaspora expressed frustration and down right disgust that a member of the Isatou team actually demanded that Gambia's biggest opposition party of the past 20 years should step aside (without any negotiations) and make way for his candidate as the leader of the opposition. The gullibility of the gentlemen is breathtaking; no wonder the reaction of the UDP in the diaspora was equally brazen and understandably so.
Whether the person was authorized or not is immaterial at this point because the damage has already been done, threatening to leave a bad taste taste well beyond the December elections. unless the party leaders - and that includes Independent candidate Touray - take full charge of their respective campaigns and restraining unauthorized supporters from speaking on behalf of their respective parties.
Inter-party negotiations must commence immediately which, we hope, will lead to a single flag bearer for all of the opposition parties. These negotiations should be the exclusive responsibility of the leaders of the opposition and not surrogates - unless empowered by the party - because it is the single most consequential political discussion of their lives, given the options stirring the Gambian population in the face should negotiations fail. It is time for party leaders to take full responsibility for the process from here on out to avoid the mess currently on display in the online press and social media.