Isatou Touray, Gambia’s first female independent Presidential candidate

September 22, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Alpha Jallow

As Gambia braces itself for the forthcoming presidential elections on 1st December, opposition candidates are discussing the possibility of a single coalition to oust the incumbent Yahya Jammeh. However, one candidate who is getting the attention of the electorate is the first female independent candidate, Dr.Isatou Touray.

Isatou Touray is about to make history as the first Gambian woman to become an independent presidential candidate in the forthcoming election.

Dr. Touray was born on the 17th March 1955 in Banjul, the Gambia. She has worked as teacher, lecturer and trainer on Community Development, as well as in Women and Development. She holds a Degree in Education and English from Usman Dan Fodio University in Sokoto Nigeria; a Master’s Degree in Development Studies with specialisation in women and development, from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, The Netherlands; and a Philosophy Doctorate (PhD) in Development Studies with emphasis on Gender, from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She is married to Dr Alhagie A.M Touray and they have four children.

Isatou Touray, until quite recently, was the Co-founder and Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) and she had been a national and international leader in the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). She also founded the Gender Unit of the Management Development Institute and introduced a Diploma in Gender and Development Programme which she coordinated for over 15 years.

 

 

From 2009-2014 she served as Secretary General and Board Member of the Inter-African Committee (IAC)- a Pan African Network on the Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices with a membership from over 28 African countries. Dr. Touray had been engaged in grassroots activism to end FGM in The Gambia and Africa as a whole.

Dr Touray is a human rights defender and has worked tirelessly to ensure that human rights standards are respected in the Gambia. She has contributed a lot to the advocacy in advancing policy and development issues both in Gambia and internationally. She is a leader in the field of women and development and has been quite instrumental in leading the grassroots movement to help end female genital mutilation in the country, and on the African continent.

As an Independent Presidential Candidate, Dr. Touray has the belief and conviction that the Gambian people can bring about change for a better Gambia by directing their efforts and political capital towards one end – the singular pragmatic goal of ushering in a new and third republic that brings progress by building strong democratic instruments and institutions, repealing the obnoxious laws that restrict freedoms and liberty, building a strong economy, and levelling the political playing field for all the stakeholders, so that the sovereign will of Gambians will always prevail in their choice of leadership.

Concerned with the predicament of the young people, she feels it is time to salvage the current situation they find themselves in and forge a new and promising direction to bring hope and fruitfulness to their lives as the leaders to be.

Dr. Isatou Touray has expressed the commitment, if elected, to serve for one five-year term only in a Transitional Government working with all those who have the capacity and commitment to salvage the Gambia as it totters on the brink of total collapse.

 

 

Dr. Touray is inspired and motivated by Gambians from different political and religious persuasions, their desire for change in the face of immense economic hardship, restrictions on their fundamental freedoms and personal liberty. It is in this context that Dr. Isatou Touray is sponsored by individual Gambians who believe that it is possible to have non-violent change through the democratic process to have a better Gambia. She is cognizant of the compelling need to come together as one in the symbol of the broom that serves as the emblem of her campaign, launched earlier this month in Banjul, Gambia.

Most educated women have been active onlookers of the political arena of the nation for many decades. Over the recent history of The Gambia, citizens have overcome the myths about womanhood and realized that indeed as equal citizens, women have the responsibility to salvage the country from its current state of affairs. Therefore, the emergence of Dr. Isatou Touray as an Independent Presidential Candidate for the 2016 election is to take up the moral responsibility to save the country from the need of leadership and direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

387981_137970992979763_864767648_n

Alpha Jallow

Alpha is a freelance journalist from Dakar, Senegal, having worked for the BBC African Radio service, West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply