What Separates UDP And PDOIS

There is a fundamental, albeit a significant, difference between UDP [United Democratic Party] and PDOIS [People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism], and between Ousainou Darboe and Halifa Sallah. PDOIS is a doctrinaire party; the types that revolve around a single individual, not unlike a cult, and was in style in the 1970s and 1980s. The PDOIS type of parties theorize ideologies, which almost carry the weight of religion, and can easily change supporters into some type of fundamentalists, which so often leads to dangerous levels of political indoctrination. The party leader, in this case, Halifa Sallah, is usually elevated to the pedestal of a guru; a teacher, and his political opinions assume the weight of religious infallibility. UDP is structured differently, as an orthodox political party, without a set doctrine, but with a party philosophy that is flexibility and can easily adapt to changing circumstances. Between Halifa Sallah and Ousainou Darboe, there are gaping differences in the way both run their political parties.The UDP leader, Ousainou Darboe, maintains a party that allows infusion of new ideas and rebellions, which underscores his loyalty to the truly tried and tested political models so prevalent around the world. Mr Darboe doesn’t pretend to be the paragon of knowledge, is open to the ideas and views of party supporters and allows shared power. Halifa, on the other hand, is a different animal all together, and thinks he is the sole repository of knowledge, is intransigent in his belief system, too arrogant to tolerate dissent, too proud to admit that he really only knows so much, and that his ideas are not based on prevailing tried and tested political orthodoxy; but are merely his opinion. And that says a lot about a party on the fringes of Gambian politics, for so long. Perhaps, if PDOIS changes leadership at the very top, the party will course correct into contemporary political thought, rather than remain stuck in an era that has long ago faded from political consciousness.

Mathew Jallow

Culled from Facebook



  1. Great observation Mr Jallow. PDOIS leader can be characterized as having cult personality with fake intellectualism or mystification. For far too long, the party hasn’t made any progress because of dogmatic and outdated political strategy without any cultural connectivity to the aspirations of the Gambian people. The Party leader much like their diaspora counterparts lack understanding of Gambian people and politics. Any political leader who do not have any connection with the indigenous citizens will never be successful in The Gambia. Looking at PDOIS, Sedia Jatta has a strong connection with indigenous citizens in Wuli which is why he succeeded in all his election without any help from UDP unlike Mr Sallah whose political success defended entirely of UDP blessing of his candidature in any election. UDP is a pragmatic political party which fought the dictatorship without writing any letter of appeasement or what I considered at the time “unsolicited advice” to the Dictator. Those useless letters were meant to occupy the empty space in the office of the dictator since they do not have any bearing on his daily activities.

    • Max….

      Can you stop talking crap? What has “cultural connectivity with the people” got to with politics? This is exactly why I think Professor P.L.O. Lumumba was right when he suggested that we find a name for this thing we call “democracy”, because democracy, he posited, presupposes that the voter is well enlightened to know what he/she wants, and where that is absent, like in The Gambia, then you cannot call that “democracy.” He suggested a name, which by the look and sound of things, perfectly suits our system. It’s called “MOBOCRACY” (Rule of the Mobs, For the Mobs and By the Mobs- {My own additions}.

      That apart, I can only surmise Mr Mathew Jallow’s views above as laughable, prejudiced and biased against PDOIS, whilst indulging in pure fantasy, day dreaming and wishful thinking about UDP. I am curiois to know where this flexible and adaptable philosophy of the UDP can be found? I would like to see someone demonstrate here how ii is working now or had worked in the past.

      There is plenty to show PDOIS flexibility and adaptability (and these are unforced), but I will just demonstrate two examples:

      1. We all know that PDOIS proposed the primary method to select flag bearer, but eventually surrendered to the convention, which selected Mr Adama Barrow.

      2. We also know that PDOIS is the only existing party in our country that has alternated candidature for President, whist both individuals are alive, well and able to contest. Both Mr Jatta and Mr Sallah have served as PDOIS candidates for President.

      These facts, not only clearly demonstrate flexibility and adaptability, but also rubbish all claims of cultist stature for Mr Sallah within PDOIS.

      Furthermore, PDOIS has never faced a situation where their desired presidential candidate is barred by law, but there is no doubt in my mind that they would have found a replacement without any fuss, unlike the UDP, which became almost paralysed by the disqualification of their preferred candidate and had to resort to extra-ordinary methods to force the issue, without success, but at great cost to the party and the country.

      I will urge Mr Jallow to take off his blurred glasses and put on a more clearer pair in his search for a cultist figure within their party. Perhaps, that would make his task much easier to acvomplish.

      You know, people are free to float, as high up into cloud 9 as they wish, but fact and reality will always remain.

      • Bax said ” Can you stop talking crap? What has “cultural connectivity with the people” got to do o with politics”?
        I think the question you asked above is a dumb question. In every society or country, politics has cultural, social, economic, and religious dimensions which affect citizens lives. PDOIS failure to make any progress is simply because they lack understanding of cultural dimension of politics. Example when PDOIS started politics, they do not have any respect for basic cultural values of Gambian people because when they went to villages, they went straight to Bantaba or public square and started talking about their agenda as if there are no village heads. Majority of citizens showed that as lack of respect for their culture and therefore refused to attend their meetings. This indicates they do not have any understanding of our society.
        In any civilized country, cultural values are always considered in any policy or decision making. Another example is when you look at peace corps who are currently living in The Gambia, they usually live in the villages where they learn and recognise cultural values. These are westerners. It is the same reason why Unesco emphasis cultural values in their policies or advocacy. In the USA, if you are sick the health care providers will treat you not only based on western health belief models but also based on individual cultural beliefs. This is what is called individualized cultural competence care. The whole health system is based on cultural competence . Every sector of USA society put culture in forefront of their decision making. It is simply lack of intelligent political strategy that would encourage cultural connectivity to ordinary citizens. This was the biggest mistake the PDOIS made earlier on in their politics. It is same reason why I always emphasize that Mr Sallah is not an intelligent politician by any standard despite the fact he might have good intentions for the country.

        • Politics can impact the culture and economic lives of people, but “cultural connectivity” was used by you to explain how PDOIS’ lack of its understanding is affecting their electoral success, rather than how it is impacting the lives of the people.

          In other words, what you are saying is that PDOIS does not understand the culture of our politics and is unable to connect to the people to win their votes. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is false and nonsensical.

          PDOIS fully understands the practice of rampant political bribery disguised as culture and tradition in our country, and I think that one of the reasons for its formation was to combat this decadent practice in our politics, to create a system where a win at the polls will reflect the undiluted and true choice of the voters. You only have to read their materials or listen to their speeches to know this.

          I don’t know how you could say that people who were born in The Gambia, grew up in the country, lived their lives in various parts of the country and studied our politics before they conciously made the decision to establish a political party with a difference, do not know the “culture” of politics in the country!!!

          The undeniable fact is that PDOIS knows all these strategies that are being employed since the first republic, to win support and votes, and it has the capacity, know how and outreach to engage in it, but it chose never to indulge in such practices.

  2. Well written Matthew. Apt, succinct and clear. It will not be easy for anyone to contrast what you have stated above. Certainly not me. Probably Halifa and the likes will.

    Their political successes alone tell the difference. Uncle Ousainou is strategic, has foresight and values other people. Gambians can’t be happier about him.


  3. Max,
    I quickly shrugged off at your lopsided information as thus:” there are other benefits which I am not going into details because everyone including the expelled or stateless leader of APRC is aware of them”. Who are you fooling with such unfounded, haphazard and lopsided information?
    You clearly know that you have no information on Commonwealth benefits to its members much more the Gambia and you’re just trying to cook up unfounded stories.
    This is what the imperialist power has lobbied for. To get some of our neo-colonialist conformists like you, Max, to condone their heinous past. The Commonwealth is the offshoot of the British Empire. After years of very bad colonial rule and subjugation, the British didn’t leave the most minute benefit for their colonized territories when they were flushed out at the advent of political independence. To show off their horrendous performance in those countries, they forged an alliance of nations (The British Commonwealth, later re-birthed The Commonwealth) with our puppet independence leaders.
    Our leaders were made to believe that the emergence of that union would ameliorate their decadent social and economic situations left behind by the imperialists only to be fooled into paying heavy country financial quotas into an “association” they christened, the Commonwealth. A better part of that money is well depleted into maintaining the high costs of bureaucracy and white-paper jobs within the Commonwealth Secretariat. The Gambia is losing here.
    Securing British papers, enlisting into their military force are rudimentary, individualistic, simplistic and devoid of any collective national interest. Have those rudimentary individual benefits been maintained without strict British control for their national interest? NEVER. From all indications, the British NEVER give in to outside interests that do not tally with their national interest. In spite of coming from a Commonwealth member state!
    I thought you would have mentioned that Commonwealth funding hauled and built our trunk roads, brought in rural electrification and water sanitation, hospitals, schools and universities…….. But the mentioning of scholarships, enlisting in the British army, reading law, is ludicrous and shameful.
    What is a stateless person? Can you redefine it? President Jammeh, our hero will live his life under the will of Allah. Not as Max, wishfully thinks. How many days are left for President Jammeh, Max, the demi-god?

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