I want to congratulate the entire leadership of the United Democratic Party and its supporters for a resounding landslide victory. This victory is the beginning of a new era of political freedom, democracy and constitutional rule that our country has been yearning for 22 years. The UDP’s victories in every major town and small village had proven to sycophants and cynics that the party is an all inclusive and diverse political party committed to fight for the common interest of Gambian people. As a pragmatic and resilient party, the UDP has always answered to the calls of oppressed nation throughout the Jammeh dictatorship which had been characterised by political oppression and total impunity. Evidently, the party stood its ground, despite its members enduring all forms of torture, kidnapping, disappearance, illegal incarceration and murder.
The UDP was formed two years after semi-illiterate soldiers led by then lieutenant Yahya Jammeh overthrew the democratically elected government of Sir Dawda Jawara. During those difficult days, patriotic citizens with visionary leadership and democratic values conceived an idea to form an all inclusive party which will promote participatory democracy, justice and constitutional rule. The leadership of party at the time recognized that the journey to achieve its vision was going to be uneasy, long and hard hard battle beset with setbacks. But with inspired determination these setbacks would not jeopardise the collective will to realize the vision. This is what ordinary Gambians have understood about the UDP which is why they entrust its representatives with the responsibility to represent them, knowing fully their collective interest would be protected. The people of the Gambia have voted for hope and peace and defeated fear and deception. They have shown to the former dictator and his sycophants that determinant and resilient Gambians have taken back their country. This victory will fundamentally transform the political and economic development of our country in a positive direction. Politically, every citizen now realises that participatory democracy is victorious over brutal dictatorship. With this victory, people can freely express themselves openly and determine their own destiny without any intimidation. This victory belongs to unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives to set free the oppressed people by calling for electoral reforms which guarantee free and fair elections. As we celebrate, we must take a moment to recognise their selfless sacrifices.
Now that all inclusive United Democratic Party is in charge, every legislator must work with our new president based on constitution rule to move our country forward. Constitutional reforms and economic development projects must be taken as soon as possible to improve political and socioeconomic status of citizens. To achieve the agenda of the coalition government, the position of speakership must come the party with majority seats. This will make it easier to push forward constitutional, political and economic reforms agenda of the coalition government without delay. In many advanced democracies, the majority party always decides the leadership positions of the House of Representatives so that they can work together collectively based on constitution and common interest of the people to make positive differences. I hope President Barrow, the entire coalition and the UDP leaderships will move in that direction so that the aspirations and will of the people can be achieved during the transition period. Congratulations to all elected members of National Assembly.