By Papa Kumba Loum
I really think that many people are blowing the recent exchanges between Omar Jallow of the PPP and Ousainou Darboe of the UDP out of proportion and in the process exposing their intolerance and possible hidden sycophancy for their party and part leaders. Having read the interview story as carried by the Standard Newspaper and Ousainou’s response to the story and OJ’s subsequent extensive interview on Freedom Radio yesterday in which he explained what was said during his interview with the Standard Newspaper of what he described as a very lengthy interview covering various issues affecting Gambia and Gambians in general, it is clear to me that Ousianou Darboe overacted to what was a general opinion expressed in a extensive interview about the political, and socio-economic state of the Gambia in which OJ inter alia stated that both himself and Lawyer Ousainou Darboe are now advanced in age and should both consider stepping down for younger people to take the helm of their respective political parties. The same OJ also dilated that under the current 1997 Gambian Constitution both himself and Ousainou are not eligible to stand because of the stipulated age limit in the Constitution.
Now if this is what was said by OJ, I think many supporters of UDP and Ousainou Darboe for that matter are overacting. Having said that, however, I would also like to read Ousainou Darboe’s version of events and why he said what he did and the manner in which he said it. I am however very disappointed by the reaction of some UDP and PPP supporters for the unnecessary bickering and pettiness demonstrated in their rejoinders to the “war of words” by the two party leaders. One will be mistaken to think that these kind of statements were coming from PDOIS supporters. My profound apologies to the PDOIS supporters whom I have taken a constant swipe at for their usual emotional, robust and expressive support of their party leaders and party when anyone expresses anything they perceive as anti-PDOIS. It now appears that many UDP and PPP supporters are not any better than the PDOIS ‘talibes’. Perhaps it is a general Gambian problem. “The Mansa/Leader can do nor say no wrong”.
My advice to all Gambians is that if we are going to build a prosperous country devoid of tribalism and religious bigotry, Gambians should be more tolerant of each other and concentrate on building institutions that are effective and transparent and that personnel employed and or elected to office must be accountable. Let us try and move away from cult and personality following. Regardless of whether the person is Ousainou Darboe, Halifa Sallah, Hamat Bah, OJ, Pa Nderry, Papa Kumba Loum we are all open to scrutiny. Please note that all human beings are susceptible to developing dictatorial and corrupt tendencies and we cannot leave it to chance, or the so called religious piety of the person and or the good will of those that are appointed or elected.
Let us also note that the minority tribes like the Jolas, Manjagos, Balantas,
Karondinkas, Sarahule, Akus, Serers etc including all the “other major and famous tribes” have the right to rule the Gambia including non-Muslims and even those who do not have a religion.
Gambia belongs to all of us whether or not you can point out the grave of your 10th Grandfather or only one. Wake up guys otherwise Naserudin, Babilimansa will be there for another 20 years.