OJ Misfired At Lawyer Darboe


Sort PPP Out Instead Of Meddling

Into UDP’s Internal Business

Dear Sir,

I would like to make a rejoinder to a story you published in your newspaper captioned “Darboe should step aside now -says OJ Jallow”.

I read with an utter dismay OJ’S personal attack on Ousainu Darboe’s leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP), a party which Mr. Jallow is not a member of.  It seems to me that OJ has got it all wrong by accusing Darboe of hijacking the leadership of the United Democratic Party by refusing to step down as the leader of the Party.  First and the foremost, I would like to put the records straight for Mr. Jallow and others who may harbour the same sentiments about Ousainu Darboe’s leadership  of the Party.  I want him to know that the United Democratic Party was not formed by Lawyer Darboe and therefore cannot and did not at any time attempt to make himself the leader of the Party.

United Democratic Party was formed by genuine citizens of this country – people who did not want to watch their country being destroyed by people who have no leadership qualities and the best interest of the country.  These patriotic Gambians then set out to look for a Gambian who is best suited to lead the country out of the terrible situation we were in at the hands of the then junta. They found in Lawyer Ousainou Darboe as someone who is sincere, capable, honest, sympathetic, educated and respectful to all. This is how Darboe was selected as the leader of the new Party.

On OJ’s assertion that it is the UDP that made Ousainou what he is, I would like OJ to know that Ousainou Darboe had already made a name for himself well before the coming into power of the military regime and the advent of the United Democratic Party. It was since 1981 abortive coup d’état, after which your PPP regime arrested scores of innocent Gambians detained them in depot along with the then main opposition National Convention party leader, Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, and his supporters.  They were accused of conspiring with rebels to over throw the PPP government and subsequently charged with treason.  Lawyer Darboe successfully defended Hon. Sheriff Mustapha Dibba pro bono.  This case and many others put Lawyer Darboe’s name on the map of The Gambia.  So, Darboe had made a name for himself since the time of the first republic thanks to the high-handedness of the regime OJ was a prominent member of.

Again when your constitutionally elected PPP regime was illegally toppled by Yaya Jammeh and his power hungry military junta in July 1994 and all your assets were not only seized but you were asked to pay all your parliamentary loans or else your properties would be confiscated by the state and sold to pay those loans, it was Ousainou Darboe who stood for many PPP members and others to defend them against illegal and unlawful seizure of their properties.

When you were also unconstitutionally and unfairly banned from taking part in politics by degree 89, it was Ousainou Darboe who lobbied and put it on his campaign agenda for that ban to be lifted on you and others, without anyone asking him to so. It is these and scores of other Gambians that Ousainou Darboe defended in this country without asking for pay most of the time that made him what he is today.

The members of UDP are in much better position to tell who benefited from whom and not someone like OJ who is floundering all over the place looking for political relevance.  I would also want Mr. Jallow to know that it is the National Executive of the United Democratic Party that determines the congress of the United Democratic Party and not Ousainou Darboe.  UDP is a democratic party that is not micromanaged by one individual.  So to say that Ousainou should convene a party congress to step down and give way for a younger person to emerge as leader is not OJ’s business in the first place, because he has his scattered PPP which he should be busy fixing instead but not trying to instigate UDP to rise against Ousainou Darboe.  So these statements he made are not only misleading but unfortunate. It is meant undermine Ousainou Darboe for reasons best known to him, OJ.  This will only sow the seeds of distrust within the opposition camp which will further undermine the unity that OJ himself keeps talking about like every concerned Gambian.  I can only wonder if OJ is truly sincere about this call for unity.

I think what OJ should be fighting is lack of the presidential term limit that was in the draft of the 1997 constitution and was removed by the APRC parliamentarians without consulting Gambians about it.  OJ should join the honest and democratic minded Gambians to fight age cap on presidential candidates which not a global norm.  This provision goes against democratic principles.  There is a Wolof proverb that goes like this: “nyaka leka chi ndabli waruta takh nga copa chi souf” which means even if you don’t have the chance to eat in a basin that should not force you to pour sand it to prevent other people to eat it.  Gambians need to get this attitude from their thinking if we are to put the interest of the nation as our first priority.

I have high regard and respect for OJ and he knows that.  I know even though he is two years older than Mr. Darboe, it is today that he OJ have sound mind to lead his country and could do better than president Jammeh, in terms of upholding the rule of law and order and steering the wheel of the government in the right direction. How can opposition parties come together to form a genuine coalition if people like OJ, for one reason or another, are harboring grudges against their fellow opposition leaders and are bent on maneuvering behind the scenes to undermine UDP and its Leader.

Some in the opposition do not see the ruling party, APRC, as their problem but see UDP as their main rival.  OJ should know that his fall from political glory was due to the coup d’état by Yahya Jammeh and not Ousainou Darboe’s leadership of the UDP. When we formed National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD), it was this kind of selfishness that OJ and others refused to accept the largest party to lead the coalition which is the norm and custom of political coalitions the world over.  OJ was one of the individuals for the failure of NADD.  He tried to sneak around and hoodwink people into making him the leader of NADD which he knows under true democratic proceedings he will not succeed. But that’s OJ for you.  He is always going around and telling everyone what they want to hear without regard for veracity.

We have been monitoring the games OJ has been playing over the years in undermining the United Democratic  Party by calling its members and convincing them to abandon the UDP and join his PPP. On the other hand, we have not seen where OJ calls APRC members to draw them to the opposition.  How can one have faith in OJ’s sincerity in his dealings with UDP if this is his modus operandi?

Let’s wait and see the proposed PPP tour of the country if it ever happens and OJ is notorious of promising and failing on a grand scale.  He will mostly try to encroach on the supporters of the UDP and not APRC supporters to come and join his party.  OJ knows that a lot of those supporting the APRC today are former PPP supporters.  Would it not be prudent for him to get those people back first?  We have been avoiding talking about these things because we thought there is still room for a better way forward for opposition unity but it is now time for us to speak our minds on how OJ is trying to undermine the UDP.  I would advice OJ to concentrate on building his beleaguered PPP if that possible or he can find a suitable party to join in the opposition as many of his former colleagues have advised and done.  Let OJ have a serious introspection and decide where to put his energy and talents for the good of Gambia first and foremost.  If he sincerely follows the right path, it would be good for both OJ and The Gambia.


Ebrima (SOLO) Sandeng

Secretary General Youth Wing of the United Democratic Party (UDP)



  1. If my mind serves me right, the UDP did announce that they will have a replacement for Mr Darboe as leader come the next election but for reasons best known to them, they will keep it secret for now.

    Honestly the gambia don t need OJ at all. Let the UDP be steadfast and have the interest of the nation at heart and when change eventually comes and it will come, the UDP ( and all other political parties) can and will play a positive part in rebuilding our nation and lets not forget that OJ was part of the criminal gang whose insincerity lead to the birth of the current regime



  3. Mustapha Konteh

    Please you guys should stop publishlisy such a divisive article like the one above. This article is a clear manifestation that Yahya is winning. It’s sad to see this kind of article. Mature people could disagree, yet they stay away from tearing each other apart. Talking about OJ’s loans and some other stuffs in this article does not worth publishsing. Let’s all speak in one voice.

  4. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Oj is bitter that he never had a chance to Pursue his presidential ambition and he see Darboe as the obstacle. Now he is show the seeds of discord and disunity in the opposition.

    Darboe is well blessed. Just look at the support pouring for him and the over 100,000 people who always vote for him in every election.

    Darboe Jula Sankaranka Boro Boro Ming na ning Kartong Ming na.

  5. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Mr Konteh, OJ asked for it all and now he is getting it all.

    There are people who are saying that it is OJ’s right to freedom of speech to say what he said about Darboe. I say it is also the right to freedom of speech of UDP support to say what they are currently saying about OJ.

    By the way, there is UDP rally today in Gambia and OJ is not invited.


  6. Pipe Smoker

    Mustapha, I think it is better we talk to disgruntle people like OJ first, so that they we can avoid this kind of things. OJ,Halifa and co have been having a go at UDP for no justifiable reason, expecting that, the UDP will continue ignoring them. That is an end game, it will not happen. Let OJ watch his mouth and know that, bullshit talk from them will not be accepted. If they cannot focus and see President Jammeh as the criminal, the UDP will not be there punch bag.

  7. Unity For Real

    Well said Solo, this is why, we are proud of you. OJ have been a green snake in a green grass, thinking that, his sneaky plots are hidden. Who does this Ndongo Serrkunda think he is? There are many of them like this, even in Diaspora. They keep thinking their stupid plots will lead to anything, bloody hell, Yahya Jammeh is squatting on all our heads, not just UDP.

  8. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Darboe la moolu, alee sabaree. If not OJ will sojourn overseas before you conclude your rally tonight. You have already done Darboe and his family proud.

    We know why his wife was bullied out of her job as the Principal of Hotel School while Halifa’s wife not only keep her job in the civil service but also promoted to the rank of permanent secretary. We all know that a wife of a real opposition in The Gambia today don’t have a chance to work or continue working in the public service. That’s why Amadou Sanneh’s wife too was unceremoniously booted out of Gambia Civil Aviation Authority while the wife of a fake opposition is promoted to the rank of permanent secretary by the same regime. That says it all.


  9. Nfansu Colley

    This struggle is a complete failure. Ndeysan some of the diasporans who are home sick will not see Gambia for a long time. These are the people i feel for.

  10. A number of observations. ..

    (1)…The issue is not about Halifa Sallah….And so any attempts to manipulate the debate towards Halifa is unethical and futile…

    (2)…Halifa has been in opposition well before both Jammeh and Darboe…The insinuations are, therefore, utterly baseless..

    (3)…Halifa is not a government official and has no influence over who gets fired or promoted. ..He has himself been a victim of high handedness of the regime…Those who have grievances with the system need to be man enough to fight their “fights”, rather than seek comforts in “scapegoating. ..” That’s cowardly…

    (4)…A great deal of immaturity has been demonstrated by the officials of both camps (OJ, Darboe & Sandeng)…A clear testimony that they may be experienced politicians but are novices in the art of politics…

    (a)…As for OJ, not only is the timing of his criticism wrong, his comments on issues that are internal UDP matters, is at best, unwise and at most, damn right foolish…Moreover, the relationship between him and Darboe (we are told), is so cordial that he could have expressed his “concerns” to Mr Darboe in private, without the need to go public…

    (b)…As for the UDP duo,not only do they have a right of response, it is also their duty, as officials, to do so, but in an appropriate manner, which they have not done in this instance. … (given the political climate and circumstances)..

    As a party whose aim is to rally all behind them, their response should have been guarded and limited to (the) debunking and clarification of issues raised, citing party policies to drive their points “home”…(Darboe has done that but launched his own.”attack” against the PPP..That was unwise and uncalled for)..They could have ended in a re conciliatory tone to avoid the impression that there is a “war” within the opposition camp, the least desirable scenario at this point in time…

    Party supporters (on line) are a completely different “kettle of fish” but also need to exercise caution in this debate…Politics is a funny old game…The one you “shun” most today, may be the one that you “need” most tomorrow. …

  11. Lafia Touray la Manju

    We all know that in today’s Gambia under the Vindictive Yahya Jammeh, it is not possible for the wife of a real opposition leader to be appointed to the sensitive and crucial post of permanent secretary. You have to be a collaborator to be an exception.

    The point is Halifa is been rewarded for stoking division within the opposition. He is not a real opposition but a regime collaborator. What’s why his wife landed a top job in the civil service while the wives and close relatives of the real opposition figures are been booted out of their jobs for political reasons.

    Darboe’s wife was bullied out of her job, his brother in law was sacked from Gamtel, his Nephew sacked from Prison Services etc.

    Amadou Sanneh’s wife was also sacked and Ebrima Pesseh Njie’s sister was also sacked from the public service.

    These all suffer this fate because they are the real opposition to Jammeh



    PS: Look folks, OJ does not have the requisite leadership skills to lead the PPP let alone offer Ousainou advice on his political career.
    He, OJ, is the one to step aside and give way to younger, energetic and more dynamic political leaders. OJ must also remember that he only got elected because the PPP was looking for answers to the question of WHY ONLY OLD, WRINKLY FACE IN THE PPP. THANKS TO SIR DAWDA AND THE PPP CENTRAL COMMITTEE!
    The truth is that they all, without exception, (and this includes Ousainou) do not look to nurture young leaders in good faith until a protest call for new ideas and leaders NUDGES THEM TO DO SO. Even then, they will begrudgingly do so.
    Gambian leaders thrive on the dependency syndrome. Sure the UPD fed of off Ousainou but he (Ousainou) also rode on and profited from the IMAGE BANDWAGON. Maybe and just maybe,this is the way Ousainou always wanted it.
    Frankly, the real and true leaders have not stepped forth yet!!
    And here lies the Gambian conundrum!!
    WE see your true colors folks from under, we see your true colors and without exception, you will LAND ONE BY ONE! NGA SIIMAYAA DUWAA!!

  13. Lafia Touray la Manju

    Ousainou Darboe is the real opposition to Yahya jammeh. That’s why his wife was bullied out of her job and his close relatives sacked from their jobs. That can only happen to a real opposition figure or person in today’s Gambia.


  14. 1. Ahead of 2016 let UDP consider this statement of fact QUOTED:

    “OJ” told TODAY in a recent interview that there was no realistic likelihood of any electoral reforms as the country heads for presidential polls, and that Lawyer Darboe, who is now constitutional barred from contesting the presidency, would therefore not be able to lead his party in those polls.”

    2. So why wishful thinking and hopeful on Lawyer Ousainou Darboe as “the real opposition to Yahya Jammeh”; who contested or witnessed four election Presidential election cycles?

  15. Well it was really reckless on OJ’s side to attack udp instead of concentrating on the real issues. See, there are some questions which are not appropriate to answer. There are sensitive questions which he could have avoided or tell them that this is an issue to be sorted out by the udp. Sure udp has very energetic young ones who will be good candidates to rule the party, but that was not OJ’s problem. There are so many important things to talk about than firing at the udp.

  16. Culled from People’s Progressive Party Facebook Timeline;

    “PPP Press Statement
    Re: Lawyer Ousainou Darboe Interview on Standard Newspaper

    In response to a Standard Newspaper Interview with Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of UDP, printed today, September 23, the PPP wishes to assure all that, this misunderstanding will be cleared soon. We wish to assure our supporters and all the good people of Gambia alike, that the UDP and PPP are family and comrades in the struggle to remove Dictatorship and bad governance in the Gambia in 2016. Human misunderstandings will occur but we are in the same boat, so we will always find ways to resolve issues as we move forward towards the elections. No two other people have sacrificed so much, in blood, sweat, tears and wealth, than Lawyer Dabo and OJ, in standing for justice, the rule of of law, and human dignity for the past 20 years in the Gambia, under Dictator Jammeh. As we approach 2016 elections, we have to be mindful of Dictator Jammeh’s agent provovateurs, in every step of the way, as they will try to sow seeds of discord, or create chaos. The PPP can assure you that we will work diligently with any party, in a grand coalition, for the benefit of the greater good. The PPP has a high regard for Lawyer Darboe, the UDP and it’s supporters. We are inextricably linked, ideologically, in terms of where we want to the Gambia, and by destiny We have supported the UDP publicly in the past, and we will continue to do so in the future. Finally, we want to assure everyone to stay calm,.. there is harmony in the opposition, don’t believe the hype!…Let’s keep our eyes on the ball, the target – the Kanilai Dictator, Yaya Jammeh. Please like the PPP on FaceBook, donate tomus, join, or volunteer. Stay tuned for more information We appreciate your time. Thank you”

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