In what was supposed to be a press conference turned out to be a public meeting when supporters of the United Democratic Party UDP showed up in numbers at the party’s bureau in Manjai Kunda.
A joint press conference organized by the UDP, NRP and GMC for clarification of statements circulating around that the coalition is divided turn out sour for a journalist who was attacked by supporters at the closing of the event.
In a hot jam pack room shared between party supporters and the press who were made to wait for almost two hours before the commencement of the conference ended bitterly for one of our colleague Kebba Jeffang Junior of Foroyaa Newspaper who was attacked by supporters for what they describe as ‘disrespecting their elder lawyer Ousainou Darboe’ during a heated question and answer session between the Mr. Jeffang and Mr. Darboe.
The three parties came together to form a tactical alliance ahead of the April 6th National Assembly Elections, a decision which has caused a lot of confusion among Gambians with some parties not willing to join in, leading to speculations that the coalition is divided.
The leader of the United Democracy Party Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe in his deliberations made it very clear that the coalition have never reach an agreement on how to contest the parliamentary elections saying the agreement was only for the presidential elections.
For his part, Mai Ahmad Fatty of the GMC says Gambians should understand that the coalition is not a political party and under Gambian laws, a coalition cannot contest an election thus the issue of coming up with independent candidates for the 53 seats as suggested by other party(s) is unwise.
After the deliberations by the three leaders in English then in the local languages, the press was given a chance to ask questions, but supporters of UDP were unhappy with a question asked by the Foroyaa reporter which Mr. Darboe had to intervene and address the gathering to allow the press to do their job freely.
After the press conference, supporters attacked Mr. Jeffang outside the office which was very embarrassing to watch as dozens of men and women attacked the reporter accusing him of been disrespectful to their leader. The party executives could not be reached at the time of going to press but we hope they will release a statement as soon as possible for being the first party after Jammeh’s rule to attempt in making life difficult for a journalist in The Gambia.