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Gambia's Opposition Leader Speaks Of Difficult Year

LAWYER DARBOE (JollofNews) – Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of the Gambia’s opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has described 2012 as a difficult year in which the country has not registered any tangible achievements on the economic and the social sector.

Mr Darboe said the past year has seen an increase in the level of poverty and hunger in the country with many household heads being unable to provide for their families. He added that this has forced many children to beg in the streets.

According to the UDP leader youth unemployment has also gone up resulting in youths who could not be absorbed into the state security services opting for the perilous route to Europe.  

He added: “The year 2012 witnessed events in the Gambia that have marveled not only the ordinary citizens but the world at large.  It was a year that saw the execution of nine death row inmates; saw the incident of night arrests of prominent individuals, the misuse of  the Economic Crimes, (specified offences) Act and the efforts to fetter and stifle the citizens’ right to petition the executive for redress by indicting aggrieved persons before the courts on charges of giving false information.  

“We are baffled as to why these have happened to the Gambia in 2012.  It is difficult to rationalise these happenings in a country that vaunts of its constitution as beingLAWYER DARBOE one of the best in the sub-region; a country that is host to the African Commission On Human Rights, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies and the African Institute for Human Rights Studies.”

The UDP leader said 2012 has witnessed the greatest setback for democracy and free and equal participation of political parties in the electoral process. He said the year saw the boycott of parliamentary elections by major opposition parties as result of the electoral commission’s refusal to put in place guarantees for free and fair elections.  

He added that the hackneyed slogan of “power to the people” can only be meaningful if the electoral process is credible.

Mr Darboe said while 2012 was bad politically for the country, it was on the other hand a year in which Gambians in their individual capacities have registered great achievements that every Gambians can and should be proud of.

He added: “These monumental achievements by individual Gambians should give us hope, hope that when our individual talents and knowledge are properly harnessed, our country the Gambia will be the ultimate beneficiary.  Let us keep this hope alive and do everything within our powers to sustain it.  I am sure we can do it if we accept the fact that we are all Gambians and we all wish the best for our country.   
Mr Darboe added that as Gambians celebrate the beginning of a new year, they should take pride in being Gambians and should not allow their sectarian political views to make them shy away from speaking the truth.  
“After all we are first and foremost Gambians before being members of any political organisation or grouping,” he said.
Mr Darboe added: “Leaders of every description and category must be prepared to sacrifice for the good of the nation and there can be no supreme sacrifice than to challenge the in-equities in the society and stand up for the wronged and deprived. Let us subordinate our individual selfish aspiration to the greater good of the Gambia.  We must strive to build a just society but we can only do so if justice guides our actions.”
He said the Government of Yahya Jammeh should take the lead in creating a just and equitable society and must also grasp the reality of the situation and find solutions that Gambians would be proud of.
Mr Darboed further said: “We have seen examples of countries in more extreme situations come together and act as one. Our differences are minute compared to those countries that appear geographically and ethno-linguistically to be constituted by what appears to be different nations. We are convinced that if we are serious in our desire to make our country better for ourselves and our children, we should be able to forge ahead into the future with trust and confidence.
“We must in the coming months be prepared to engage in a national dialogue that will address governance issues of every nature in this country.  I call on the Executive and all other leaders to give consideration to the convening of a national conference to discuss not only political but also socio-economic problems confronting our beloved country.”
Written by PK Jarju


+1 #45 2013-01-10 16:27
At the end of the day gambian,opposit ion parties have ONE supreme objective,and that is to win enough votes to get into government or control/influence proceedings in the Assembly...Whether the UDP beats PDOIS at every Presidential or Assembly Elections is immaterial if they fail to achieve their ultimate objectives..And vice viser ..

You can continue to blaspheme the PDOIS and Halifa for as much as you like...That will not change anything....It's a legally registered party that will continue to be an influential and vocal opposition party,offering REAL ALTERNATIVE to what exists...

Whether the voters realise this and entrust the country to them is entirely up to them...The PDOIS will not bribe or coerce them or use other underhand tactics to win votes...Just it's message...
+1 #44 2013-01-10 16:09
Political loyalties shift like the shifting dunes of the Namib Dessert...And a whole host of factors could be cited..Yesterday,it was the PPP and the NCP...Today,its the APRC and UDP...Tomorrow is anyone's guess...Sheriff Dibba was already a spent force when he tried to launch his "come back"...No surprises,he could not capture his pre-coup popularity..

I will not dispute your claims that the UDP has better and effective mobilisation strategy than the PDOIS,but I don't understand how they could have better communication strategy than the PDOIS...May be you can share with us...

The PDOIS,like the UDP,holds rallies and meetings to dessiminate their ideas...But unlike the UDP,the PDOIS has a newspaper from inception...It produces and distributes audio recordings...It organises plays and has a school to spread its ideas (as far as education is concerned),etc...So how could they have a less effective communication strategy than UDP..?
+4 #43 2013-01-09 20:36

Let me not enter too deep into this very educating "historical" debate. I know my place and my limitations.

But come a businessman, if I had a business that made NO inroads into the competition for 18 years...I'd be running a very small corner shop. The Hypermarket in Gambia, was created out of nothing by Jammeh.It was designed by Jammeh.It is controlled by Jammeh.72% of the electorate that voted.."shop" with Jammeh.

Some of these opposition guys were around long before The APRC.

Jammeh was the new fashion in Town.

Gambian youth and energy with educated technology and planning is your salvation.

Some kid in Gambia...will one day break the mold...and build a new reality.

Its an inevitability of high speed Global fashion.

Self perpetuating Governments are the last of the Mohicans.
0 #42 2013-01-09 19:02
Well said Mike. I entirely agree and that is why I am exposing Halifa's prejudices against Mandinkas even though I am not a mandinka because I know tribe does not count in the eyes of God. It is the good deeds that makes a human being a good person and i have no doubt that most mandinkas are decent people and I can't stand side while they are being insulted by Halifa. His father had done the same during the times of PS Njie who, ironically, relied more on Darboe's father, Numukunda Darboe, for political mobilisation than anybody else. PS Njie is wollof and Numukunda Darboe is Mandinka. Ousainu Darboe himself was living with PS Njie when he was attending school in Banjul.
+1 #41 2013-01-09 18:55
Meant to say Darboe had far more votes than Sheriff Dibba despite Darboe having little or no community connection in SK Central. He is certainly not from Baddibu or Kiang.

Halifa also had more votes in SK Central IN 2007 than APRC's Abdoulie Sanyang who is a mandinka.
0 #40 2013-01-09 18:51
Quoting Bax:
Community loyalties is why I mentioned Baddibunkas and Kiangkas in S/K,not their tribes...

Even that did not help your explanation because and as I previously stated,

1. Sheriff Dibba is a native Baddibunkas and yet had far more votes in SK central despite Darboe having little or no community connection in SK central.
2. Halifa is a native of SK CENTRAL AND have lived there all his life. One would have expected him to jelly well with those from baddibu and kiang and draw political support among them just like OJ,a non-mandinka, has done. Infact, Halifa would not have won against Abdoulie Sanyang, a mandinka, in 2007 without significant votes from the exotic communities who are mainly mandinkas but the reason he can't surpassed Darboe in votes is because Darboe's communication and mobilisation strategy in SK central works far better than Halifa's. Halifa's hatred for mandinkas is baseless and should be treated as such.
+4 #39 2013-01-08 22:45

Your right, I know not, Gambian political dynamics. To me it as useful as a chocolate fireguard.

What I do know is that when we are born, we enter humanity without any prejudice.

It takes years of instruction and influence to form someone elses opinion.

The true believers are free of the prejudice from others. Sadly, most take a view that is comfortable and follow the nearest crowd. For there is always safety in numbers.

Culture is only important when celebrating history. It has no other relevance in the 21st century except in a circus.

Nationalism is a false prophet that divides only to conquer.{One mans meat is another man's poison}

Democracy has become a greedy industry instead of a respected institution of free exchange.

Men will always guard there watering hole zealously.

The English are no different to anyone else.

We just think we are.
+2 #38 2013-01-07 08:56
Community loyalties is why I mentioned Baddibunkas and Kiangkas in S/K,not their tribes...Although tribe may be a determining factor in some voters..I did not even name any tribe,and yet you're bringing Mandinkas into it..Are all Baddibunkas and Kiangkas Mandinkas..? Don't polically influential Wollof Communities exist in Baddibu or Fula Communities in Kiang..? Why does it always have to be Mandinkas for you,anyway..? I can guess and I bet most can too..You are a filthy TRIBALIST.. Mandinka ... Mandinka ...Mandinka..That's all you sing about..

Keep nursing the pain in your heart..The PDOIS is here to stay,whether you like it or not..If you think they are anti-Mandinka,go to court and seek for their banning from Gambian politics....That's what a responsible citizen would do,than make so much senseless noises and endless futile accusations...
-3 #37 2013-01-06 21:45
If you can say that jammeh gets far more votes than others because he is the incumbent, something you did not hetherto mentioned as a determinant voting factor, then that means even if tribe matters, it is of very little significance as a voting factor as jammeh is from the minority . That also means that udp's edge over pdois is not explained by tribal or communial loyalties as you want us to believe but pdois's gross and utter deficiencies especially in the area of communication and mobilisation and this is a party that has been active for almost 3 decades now?

It was Halifa who tried to bully others on the coalition issue by refusing to accept conventional norms and insisting that everything be based on his terms. His hatred for mandinkas also meant that he rather see jammeh continue as president than rallying behind Darboe in a formidable.
-2 #36 2013-01-06 21:27
I have spelled out all the factors you earlier on stated as determinant voting factors and married by analysis with them. So yes, I understand english and am on the point.

The kiang and badibbu communities presence in serrekund you alluded to did not prevent halifa from winning their in 2007. If you tell me its because they are mandinkas then you are also saying darboe is more mandinka than sidia as sidia too always fall behind darboe in SK.

Darboe constantly gets far more votes in SK than Sidia and Halifa and he is not from the badibbus or kaing community. He even had more votes there than sheriff Dibba in 2001 and sheriff is a native badibunka.

Both OJ,jibou jagne and AA Njie are natives of serrekunda and the presence of exotic communities in SK had never been a hurdle in their politics. They win notwithstanding but these people are gentlemen who don't show disdain against mandinkas unlike Halifa who is widely for his anti-mandinka diatribes.

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