Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the newly appointed Vice President of The Gambia, is like any typical rural Mandinka who cannot blow his own trumpet. He is taught to comport himself within the confines of modesty. Had Ousainou Darboe known how to blow his own trumpet, the younger generation he had throughout fought to defend their future would have celebrated him. Lawyer Darboe is by any account one of the history makers of our country.
Born in Niani Dobo in Central River Region, Mr. Darboe attended St. Augustine’s High School and later Gambia High School where he sat to the A Level. He was hosted by Pierre Njie, founder of the United Party. The former Prime Minister was a personal friend of Darboe’s father politician.
Darboe moved to Nigeria for further studies. He made history for being the first rural Gambian, first Mandinka and African to bag his law degree in Africa and called to the Bar. At the time, only British law graduates were called to the Bar in the Commonwealth Africa. These restrictions were later scrapped in The Gambia and Nigeria. Mr. Darboe also studied law in Canada where he earned Master’s Degree, specialising in constitutional draughtsmanship.
Lawyer Darboe worked as State Prosecutor and later the Solicitor General. His taste to acquire knowledge had sent him to do MML in law, becoming a constitutional draughtsman.
Darboe threw in his towel at the Justice Ministry, refusing to tweak the law. This paved way for him to become the first rural Mandinka private lawyer. Darboe wasn’t tempted by the offer of an Attorney General either. He remained true to his belief that rural Gambians too should have someone to defend them. Darboe’s private legal career was a great success; he had won a great number of high profile cases in both the first and second Republics. But his legal career reached the tipping point after the 1981 Kukoi-led abortive coup. Darboe’s vigorous defense of the coup accomplices earned him a household name. Among the people Darboe set free included Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, leader of National Convention Party, Momodou Darboe, Chief Executive Officer of Vision Development Association and Momodou Dump Sarho.
The man who wrote petitions for the opposition NCP was still the designated lawyer for the country’s major corporations, including Central Bank, GAMTEL, GPA and GPTC. The illegal takeover of power by misguided “Soldiers with a Difference” would later weaken Mr. Darboe financially. And his refusal to succumb to the ideals of an undemocratic regime was enough reason to terminate his services with government and major corporations. The Jammeh regime also scared the hell out of Darboe’s clients by creating a base adjacent to his Banjul law firm. Soon all the Lebanese clients, except one, fled Bansang Chambers. Nothing kills the spirit of a lawyer-turned-politician whose only goal was to liberate his shackled citizens from the claws of a Mad Dog. Lawyer Darboe believes so much in law that he has never addressed a political rally without preaching the need to be law abiding. His enemies had several times tried to cajole him into leading mass protest but Darboe’s reply had always been “I will protest whenever the need arises.”
Mr. Darboe was true to his words on April 16, 2016 upon confirming the murder of Ebrima Solo Sandeng in state custody. This was the day when the world knew Ousainou Darboe was more than ready to take the bullet for oppressed Gambians to gain their freedom.
To know more about The Gambia’s Nelson Mandela, Kairo Radio today rebroadcast Suntou Touray’s earlier mharathm interview with Vice President Ousainou Numukunda Darboe. This Kibaaro Radio interview of 2013 was rare in the sense that it had revealed so many unknowns about Mr. Darboe.
Thank you Uncle Ousainou Darboe for sacrificing everything for your country and her people. We will not wait until our heroes die and sing their praises.