Lamin Queen Jammeh, a veteran Gambian politician, former Governor of the North Bank Region and current spokesperson for the National Peoples’ Party (NPP), has told NewDay in an exclusive interview that His Excellency President Adama Barrow will sweep the provincial votes and triumph in the December presidential election with a “landslide victory” because failure in the election “will never happen”.
Speaking on a wide range of political issues ahead of the December polls, Jammeh said his party is “calm and confident” and heading into the December election without an iota of doubt about victory. He also said President Barrow is beyond compare in the Gambian political arena.
“NPP will not win with a hundred per cent of the votes, but my assurance is we will win a hundred per cent with a landslide. It will be a nightmare for anybody to sit down here and think that Barrow is going to fail in this election because that will never happen.
You know there is a funny thinker who says that governments can lose but oppositions do not win because the thinking is that before you win you must invest, what investments have they made? Even in business, you must do some investment before you win.
If you have not invested anything, what profit will you have? So, I want to make it very clear that we at NPP are as comfortable as we need to be and there is nothing to distract us from our programmes and activities. We will be doing all this in consonant with the Rule of Law.
As strong democrats, our leaders is one of the biggest democrats on the continent today and the dividends of that is now paying off.
The Democratic tendencies in Barrow are paying off and genuine people have accepted that there is no comparison. His equal has not yet come to the arena.”
Reacting to NewDay’s assertions that no candidate could win the presidency without winning the West Coast Region (WCR) and Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) and that President Barrow doesn’t seem to be the favoured candidate in these areas; Jammeh argued that NPP is the most popular political party in the WCR ahead of any other party, even though it is a known APRC stronghold.
He also avowed that his party will win all 5 provincial regions in addition to WCR. “NPP will win all the provincial regions, including the West Coast Region. In my opinion, NPP is the most popular party in all the five provincial regions and therefore it will rank as the highest in all the regions.
Our standing in WCR is very, very high because as far as I am concerned, if I were to place them in terms of the level of support then I am saying NPP ranks first, followed by APRC, and UDP is probably third. Without any coalition by any party, this is my ranking for West Coast Region.”
However, when it comes to KMC, the former APRC member did not sound as confident, making it clear that his party is not blind to the realities on the ground and that the NPP needs to double down on their efforts in capturing the municipality.
“NPP is conscious of the political reality on the ground and that reality says we need to double-up in KMC because the local leadership of KMC is the UDP. Nobody should undermine the influence of a local authority like the mayor and the demographic complex of KMC itself. KMC will require us to go some extra mile,” he said.
Asked if the NPP’s strategy is to win the rural votes, Jammeh said every region is as important as the other, however, he said history shows that it is always the rural votes that determine the winner.
“I know that in the historical developments of politics in The Gambia, the rural vote is very important. In fact, throughout history, it is the rural vote that determines the winner in the end.
Throughout history, he who wins the rural vote, wins the national vote. There is no doubt about that. We are comfortable in the rural settings and it is the other way of telling everybody that NPP is winning.”
Speaking further, Jammeh also confessed that a potential national coalition of opposition political parties would be a force that must not be underrated, although in a scenario like that, his party would have strategies to keep the electorates.
“It will be a force not to be underestimated because politics is about building relationships so that if you see your opposite camp extending its tentacles and developing relationships with institutions or entities that you could have developed a relationship with, it is an interpretation of the reality to show you that we have beat you to it.
Political success comes about by extending that relationship with the public and in so doing minimising the opportunity for your opponent from enjoying that advantage.
“In the event that your opponent demonstrates to you that they have already made it, then you have to counter whatever strategy they have laid in order to diffuse that success if not at the level of the party but at the level of the electorates. For example, if opposition parties formed a coalition
NPP may not be able to do anything about the formal structures of the coalition parties but there is a lot that NPP can do with the electorate so that if the opposition parties are forming a coalition it will tell us to add up with whatever we have with the electorates so that the institution
remains with them but the electorate remains with us.”
Published on July 12, 2021