Gambia to have first female presidential candidate
02 September 2016, 19:27
Banjul - A
women's rights activist in the Gambia currently campaigning against female
genital mutilation has said she will put herself forward as the country's
first-ever female presidential candidate.
is true that I want to contest the presidency" in December's election,
Isatou Touray told AFP ahead of an official announcement expected later on Friday.
she would stand as an independent candidate in the polls, expected to hand
incumbent Yahya Jammeh a fifth term at the helm of the poor west African
her sixties, Touray has had a colourful career, winning a US State Department
award for empowering Gambian communities in 2008 but arrested in 2010 over
corruption allegations when she was deputy director of the Gambia's development
acquitted of all charges.
currently executive director of leading women's group, the Gambia Committee
against Harmful Traditional Practices, which fights to stop female genital
on Thursday, the United Democratic Party (UDP) - the country's principal
opposition movement - named relatively unknown businessman Adama Barrow as its
of the party's leading figures are currently serving jail time for holding
public protests, catapulting the UDP acting treasurer into the spotlight.
51-year-old native of the rural Upper River Region, called for opposition unity
to help him "salvage" the country at a press conference in the
wish to appeal to all Gambians, particularly leaders and members of other
sister parties, to get together and unite around the common cause... remove
this government in the polls and create a government truly of the people and by
the people," he said.
father-of-five with two wives as permitted under Gambian law, went on to
describe Jammeh as a "soulless dictator".
current president came to power in a 1994 coup, and has ruled the Gambia with
an iron fist ever since.
members have recently died in custody following anti-government protests,
prompting the UN, France, the US and various human rights watchdogs to voice
concern and call for a neutral probe.
leader Ousainou Darboe is among several members serving three-year sentences
for organising a rally over one of the deaths, while another group is awaiting
trial for similar offences.
candidates must deposit the sum of $12 500 in November when the Independent
Electoral Commission invites parties and candidates to declare.
candidates, Lamin Bojang of the National Convention Party and Halifa Sallah of
the People Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism, have so far
also declared their intention to run.
begins on November 16.
independence from Britain in 1965, the Gambia has had just one other leader:
Dawda Jawara, who served until the current president toppled him in a 1994