The United Democratic Party (UDP) Caravan tour is now in Niani, with the convoy currently in Bakadagi visiting elders as tradition demands. This will be followed by a meeting in the area. In all the visited places, the party has been belabouring on the need to bail the Gambia from bad governance, gross violations of citizens’ rights, among others.
But in Niani, the party’s central message hinges on the sorry state of agriculture, especially at a time when the government has woefully failed to help farmers with farming inputs, let alone help them market their produce.
Speaker after speaker, including the party leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, talked about the deplorable human rights condition and fear that continue to grip everyone living in the country. They also harped on misuse of power and waste of public funds.
The speakers advised Gambians “to stop working at President Yahya Jammeh’s farms. People should work for themselves, no one should be a slave to a President.”
Yesterday, the UDP tour caravan spent the night at Salikene in Central Badibou. The party leader spoke at a well-attended rally. Mr Darboe called upon farmers to know where their priority lies. He said “the farming community is dwendling year by year, rainy season by rainy season. “If this continues, the country will continue to depend on imported food. The prices of which are always sky high rocketed due to the heavy tax levied on them. The health of our children, mothers and grandmothers will jeopardise since some of the imported goods are not healthy,” Mr. Darboe said.
Mr Darboe further reiterated that farmers should stop what he call “slaving for the president.” He asked why any sensible person would leave his farm and traveled long distances only to volunteer at the President’s farm. This is wrong and must be stopped. Work at your farm, tend to your crops and stop working for the president.”
Lawyer Darboe decried the Jammeh government’s inability to buy groundnuts on time. He said credit buying has demoralised, demeaned and discouraged Gambian farmers. “Without a achange of government, things will remain the way they are, and will get even worse,” he said, expressing his party’s sympathy with farmers. “The UDP cultivate a youth farm every year and they know first hand how hard it is to buy the necessary seeds and fertilisers. We will work hard in securing avenues that will create an enabling environment for agriculture. The agriculture department will be manned by highly capable officers that will be set targets and goal to achieve. We will help farmers develop simple technology to develop their own fertilisers utilised in many countries. We will work hard in securing venues that will create an enabling environment for agriculture.”
Mr. Darboe said a UDP government will work with world groundnuts buyers to provide market for Gambian farmers. “We will open up the Gambian groundnut and cotton markets, the most profitable bid for the farmers will accepted to buy the produce. However, we will also create avenues of processing the peanuts into oil and soap and any other things that can be gain out of peanuts and cotton.”
A well-known supporter of the ruling APRC was among a number of people in Badibu Salikene cross carpeted to the UDP. Momodou Lamin Darboe said he was compelled by the interference of the executive in the religious affairs of communities to the extent of dictating to people when to observe Eid prayers.
Other speakers at Salikene, Kintehkunda, Njabakunda, Sabach Sanjally includes, Fatoumata Tambajang, Dembo Bojang, Kemeseng Jammeh and others.
The tour is receiving renew support in smaller villages, with people making lines on the street requesting a visit.
The Caravan is currently in Niani where they held a meeting in Bakadagi, Kayai, Karantaba and others. The convoy is expected to reach Janjabureh and cross over to spend the night in Tambasansang in Upper River Region.
The UDP youth Secretary, Ebrima Solo Sandeng was dispatched to ferry people who requested to be part of the welcoming team in Basse. Several people from Basse will be meeting the caravan at the Janjanbureh crossing point to lead the convoy to Basse.
Tomorrow, they are expected to hold rallies in Kantora, Wulli, Sandu.
The leaders within the UDP are said to be delighted with the reception they are getting. Lawyer Darboe urged the need to ‘bury fear in Gambian politics”. He called on youths to stop risking their lives at sea. “Youths are fleeing in large numbers away from rural areas, youths are dying at sea, all because the government lacks the ability to create jobs, opportunities and hope for the future generation of the Gambia.”
Bravo bravo to you all. Power to the people….