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Sunday, July 3, 2011

‘Gambia Will Have New President Come November 24’

Hendry Gomez
By Abdoulie Nget

A new president different from incumbent Yahya Jammeh will occupy the State House after November 24 presidential election, the leader of opposition Gambia Party for Democracy and Progress (GPDP) has assured.
That new president will be none, but Mr Henry Gomez himself, he told The Daily News in an unusual emphatic manner during an interview on Friday.
“We are doing our underground campaign - a door to door approach – and come November 24, the result will speak for itself,” he said.
Grounds have been cleared for Gambia’s presidential election as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) last month wrapped up a nationwide registration of voters. Nominations are slated for 10 November 2011.
Gambian president Yahya Jammeh, who is widely viewed as favorite will be seeking fourth five-year mandate. Jammeh himself said he will teach the opposition a lesson come November 24.

Gomez who may join the race for the first time was deemed unqualified by the country’s electoral body in 2006.
“It is the right time for a new party to rule the country for good,” he said, sounding optimistic to unseat incumbent Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.
He added that he will not accept what happened in 2006, referring his denial to contest because he had not stayed in the country long enough to be allowed to contest.
“We are all Gambians and we have the right to vote and be voted for,” he said, calling on Gambians to demand limit to presidential term.
What difference?
Mr Gomez said his party is determined to make a difference in the lives of Gambians. He said it is clear that Gambians are facing economic hardship coupled with lack of political freedom.
“GPDP will give back Gambians the three daily square meals by reducing the cost of a bag of rice to five hundred dalasi,” he promised.
He also assured to put agriculture on the top of his agenda when voted in. Free education for boys and girls, expansion and diversifying the tourism sector will equally be his party’s priority. 
“Gambians will own their country, but not to be held hostage in accessing their rights,” he said.
Gomez noted that his party, unlike the current regime will observe and respect basic freedoms, including freedom of speech.
Gomez also pledged to reverse the worrying trend of rising poverty in Gambia.
Decries unleveled field
Mr Henry Gomez said the eleven day campaign period declared by the electoral body is short and does not favour the opposition parties.
He said, the ruling APRC party, unlike the opposition, is always campaigning and controls the state-owned television.
“In 2006 it was four weeks, then why only eleven days in 2011 election,” he quizzed.
 On coalition
Gomez apologised for his earlier statement on opposition coalition which brought about controversy in the opposition camp. 
 He said, what he meant was for all the opposition parties interested in a coalition to come together and give opportunity to Gambians to select the leader of any coalition.

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