By SuntouBolonba Touray
Many people wonder why the venerable Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the United Democractic Party doesn’t respond to cheap personal attacks? The simple answer is that Lawyer Darboe is not one of those who want cheap popularity. He is not the type that will say or do anything reckless just to get the attention of the crowd. Count him out of the people who are in the habit of doing whatever they feel will please a certain section of the population however unprofessional such remarks are. Their goal is to be applauded.
No matter the level of rising steam, Lawyer Darboe maintains his high demeanour, caliber of level-headedness and maturity. He is not an extrovert who approaches serious issues with pettiness or high sounding voice. He is like any cultured man that does not try to please anyone with irresponsible comments. The former United States President Barack Obama knows the value of maintaining your cool even in times of rough times. Obama was attacked personally by many racist Americans, but he does not respond to them all the time. Bravery lies in keeping your cool even when your enemies insult you.
But common sense dictates that no attack comes out of the blues. Attacks are mostly driven by jealousy and hatred. Senseless personal attacks on Mr. Darboe are peddled by the jealous politicians who feel threatened by the Upper Hand politician’s clout built out of 22 years of selfless sacrifice of his soul and resources. These uncultured people will even manufacture lies or make irresponsible public statements to boost their ratings. The Gambia’s Mandela is concerned about the plight of poor and needy Gambians. That is the zeal that motivates him to venture into politics at a time when the gun and barrel ruled the country. In the long and arduous fight, Darboe lost it all: close relatives, friends, political heroes and resources. Even his lawyer’s wig was threatened. But the two things that Darboe didn’t lose were faith and courage.
Hate it or love it, no amount of mudslinging will paint a gloomy picture of a man who had a consistent track record of standing for the weak and poor. Was he not the one who defended coup suspects of the 1981 putsch? Among the defendants was Yahya Jammeh’s uncle.
Let haters run with their hatred, but what they don’t know is that Gambians today are well informed and sober to be deceived by ‘streetwise’ political talk or chatter.
There is a stage in life when one needs to adjust to new realities. OJ was a Minister in the First Republic, fought battle in the Second Republic and became Minister in the Third Republic. All he needs to do is to thank and praise Allah for realising his dreams. Loose and unguarded rantings should take a backseat in his speeches, especially when the country is healing the wounds of tyranny. He may be compelled by a certain elements of his fan base, but he needs to restrain himself. Politics is a game of changing climate. He is a political father who needs to remain calm at all times.
OJ knows Darboe will not get personal with him because he cares about issues and not cheap personal remarks.
Let our leaders know the world is watching over them. They will soon be judged by their records. These include their public statements.
Let justice guide our actions towards the common good. I pray that nothing absolutely — not even divisive tribal politics — break the Gambia, home to people of diverse language, culture and religion.
True talk my brother, nothing to add.
Max, you are among the worst group of people who launch personal attacks against those who hold different views from you or those you support.
So this “true talk”, is just as much for you, as it is for people like you.
Ours is a society that’s difficult to comprehend. In April last year, he was hailed a hero for sacrificing his soul for the liberation of oppressed Gambians. When the going gets tough, we all want him to use his political capital but during good times we compete to lynch him. I was in tears when I listened to some hateful messages thrown at Lawyer Darboe for choosing tactical alliance for the parliamentary elections. We can do better than what we have done to Uncle Darboe. Until we stop whipping our victims we will not go anywhere. May Allah purify our hearts so we can see the light.
My good sister, the haters are PDOIS militants and their partners in APRC. These are desperate political parties who have taken desperate measures because of jealousy. When Darboe and his entire executive put their lives on the line to save our country, PDOIS leadership called it spontaneous mistake while the disciples called it a distraction and threat to peace . OJ pretended to lead the people to protest but his daughter insisted that OJ must stay at home . Today it is these people who are making noise because they are working hard to gain influence in order to increase their political support base . This is why they claimed that coalition must put up independent candidates. Halifa Sallah is so desperate to hang onto spokesman position even though we have communication minister and Director of press at statehouse. Tactical alliance is the best strategy and it even favors Halifa because he cannot win serekunda without UDP support. PDOIS has no single victim in the 22 years of military dictatorship as far as their supporters were concerned because they played safe politics. The leadership acted as unofficial advisers to the dictator, Halifa Sallah always write his unsolicited advice to jammeh and admonished his progeny what to do at the time . President Barrow should appoint him as a president of The university of The Gambia but I am concerned that students may not like him there because he cannot do PowerPoint presentations or prezi to summarize his views .
Respect to you brother Suntou, but I agree and at the same time, disagree with you here. I am also bemused by your wise words, because of late, you have become as guilty of personal attacks against political opponents, as well as misrepresentation of their views, as any of the culprits you may have in mind. I hope you realise this and take note of it, because it is undoing all the great work you did during the struggle.
I agree that there is no place for personal attacks in our politics or politics in general and I will add that it is a sign of weakness, poor leadership, poor judgement and a demonstration of intolerance because it stems from the inability or unpreparedness to accept that other citizens have the right to political choices for which they deserve to be respected, no matter how much we disagree with them.
I am certain, that on reflection, even OJ may realise that his tirade against Lawyer Darboe was unwise, unnecessary and certainly, does no favours to his reputation as a senior politician and coalition member. He should have expressed his frustrations with Lawyer Darboe in a much more civilised and acceptable way than he did. That would have focused people’s attention on the concerns he expressed, which are very genuune by the way, rather than the attacks on Lawyer Darboe and insinuations about his political intentions. Nonetheless, I don’t think anyone can dispute the degree of respect between the two. Only that this time, OJ’s frustrations got the better of him which is indeed regrettable.
My disagreement is not whether Lawyer Darboe should exercise his right of response and engage in politics of personal attacks, but whether he should remain mute, or whether it is even right for him to remain mute, in the face of serious allegations about the responsibility of the UDP for the disintegration of the coalition so dramatically. The UDP cannot just ignore these serious allegations by deflecting public attention towards their roles in previous coalition attempts, which are said to have been initiated by them. Commendable as their role may be in the initiation and continuation of those early opposition talks, the fact is that such information has very little, if any, relevance to the crisis we face today, because nothing of significance came out of those laudable efforts.
The crisis we face today, which may derail the coalition’s political reform project, is the total collapse of the much propagated and widely supported “Tactical Alliance” strategy, proposed by UDP,NRP and GMC and voted for by the coalition team, as the preferred option against the “Independent” strategy. The information from Halifa Sallah, which did not name any individual or party, was that the collapse was due to the fact, during the four days of talks to agree on the modalities of the tactical alliance, one party demanded to put candidates up for election as follows:
1. They identified 36 constituencies where they will put up their candidates and this is not up for negotiation.
2. They identified 7 constituencies where they want to put up their candidates, but they are open for negotiations.
3. They identified 10 constituencies where they have no interest to put up candidates for consideration.
OJ did not corroborate this information from Halifa but from his revelations that Lawyer Darboe is the cause of the coalition alliance, we can now assume that the party that made these outrageous demands was the UDP. It is incumbent upon the UDP to come out and give their version of what transpired during those talks, or at least, debunk these allegations if untrue or justify their outrageous demands and why.
I listened to a recent audio on Kaironews by brother Suntou Touray, where he attacked the PDOIS Leadership as lacking belief in God and misrepresented their political philosophy as Marxist Leninism, prompting Coach Pa Samba Jow, to respond via a YouTube video. Now, brother Suntou knows very well that Socialism, like Liberalism, which the UDP subscribes to, has many different applications, in different parts of the world. It constitutes misrepresentation of PDOIS’ politics to equate them with failed Communist or Socialist states, whilst ignoring the fact that almost all of Africa is run by Liberalists like the UDP, with failed and debilitating loan and foreign aid dependent economies. Let’s show a bit of humility here please.