The Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) today enters the crucial leg of a country-wide tour with what has become a mega entry in the Greater Banjul Area. The tour, the first since the jailing of the party’s leadership and nomination of its presidential candidate Adama Barrow, has provided opportunity for Gambians to acquire information on the UDP’s policy, programmes and strategies. The party also held rallies in major towns and villages, with officials telling the electorate why it is long overdue to vote out President Yahya Jammeh from office on December 1st.
Mr. Barrow had repeatedly told electorate that “the jailing of the party leader Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and other innocent party members has given us the zeal and spirits to complete the work they have began.” Barrow, a native of Mankamang Kuna in the Upper River Region, said he is among “the political children of Ousainou Darboe, a selfless man who sacrifices everything for the liberation of a besieged nation. Ousainou Darboe is blessed with both biological and political children.”
The party had received tumultuous welcome throughout the country. One party official said the goals of the tour, which among others, was “to spread our message of politics of development, friendship and social cohesion.” With determination on its side, the UDP delegation boarded canoes to access the abandoned communities in Sandou and Wuli.
The tour reached the tipping point on Monday with a mega entry in the Greater Banjul Area. Flanked by hundreds of thousands of people, it took several hours before the delegation arrived at Lawyer Darboe’s Pipeline home. Due to the slow pace of traffic that was cleared for the UDP, the party cancelled its scheduled rally at Pipeline. For the first time in the party’s 20-year history the police did the unthinkable thing of providing security for the UDP. This development came after the police chiefs called Adama Barrow, offering to provide security as his party’s columns of vehicles enter the Kombos.
The tour has succeeded in energising the UDP supporters as well as earned the party several new members, most of who felt bad about the “unlawful killings of the party’s electoral reform activists (Solo Sandeng and Solo Krumang) and the jailing of innocent UDP members while the killers remain free men.