Supporters of the United Democratic Party (UDP) have huge task at hand. We must not allow others to paint us black. There is misinformation making the rounds that Ousainou Darboe is the stumbling bloc to forming a coalition in the forthcoming parliamentary election. We must stand our ground and let the whole Gambia know that the story is unfounded, groundless and baseless. It is only designed to tarnish the good image of the Gambia’s Nelson Mandela, the man who sacrificed himself for our freedom. The UDP’s agenda has always been to unite our diverse people. Love the party or hate it, the UDP has been at the forefront of the fight against the Jammeh dictatorship since day one. We have paid a heavy price for standing on the way of a callous dictator. Our members have been murdered in cold blood, jailed and exiled in droves while the sword of damocle hangs over those at home. But we neither retreat nor surrender. Our love for our country is unquestionable.
We are the only party whose leader has lost all to Jammeh’s dirty politics. Even his sources of income have curtailed. During the heydays of the political fight, majority of our members were kicked out of the government service. And instead of cross carpeting to the dictator’s camp, our members fed each other with courage and comradeship. On a monthly basis, our private sector employee members met with their unemployed comrades at the bureau and share salaries. What is more touching than that? Most of our foot soldiers such as the late Momodou Lamin Shyngle Nyassi have not worked throughout the Second Republic government. These people preferred to die in dignity than to submit to the APRC’s rotten principles. Even inhumane tortures would not coerce them to switch sides because their blood is too good to mix with a party of heartless people.
Despite being faced with huge security challenges, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe throughout preached us to exercise maximum restraint. As a constitutional lawyer with a wealth of knowledge and experience, Lawyer Darboe wanted prevalence of the highest atmosphere of political peace. He had the potential to set the country on fire but he comported himself within the confines of the law. That is typical Ousainou Darboe, a man who would not even kill a fly.
The UDP has not issued any official statement about the outcome of the negotiations; the party has not made its negotiation position public either. So the question becomes: who created the disingenous fabrication filling the air that Ousainou Darboe is the one refusing to unite with others? It is ungoday and unfair to taint the good image of a man who has just been removed from the shackles of dictatorship. Lawyer Darboe will remain our Iconic Hero whose legacy cannot be wiped away by haters whose single goal is to put the UDP on the defensive. We will not sit by and allow anyone or party to wash our hard earned credit. We toil for it.
Evidently, some people are using the coalition government to raise their profile, but their larger goal is to undermine and scheme the UDP into submission. The enemies, hiding behind the cloak of hatred and jealousy, want to derail the party leader’s initiated agenda to unify the Gambia. Allah will be the judge between Ousainou Darboe and the haters and their agenda setting media.
For those who don’t know, the UDP was built on a sound structure and operated in principles. How can it be a one man party? Being the party leader does not guarantee Ousainou Darboe to dictate at will. Ours is a party of compromise as evidenced in the way and manner crucial decisions are being made. Where there is disagreement, the issue is put to vote. What is more democratic than that?
Baba Drammeh, former UDP National Youth Secretary General under Shyngle Nyassi.