Following his recent appointment and after taking the prescribed oath of office as the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia, on behalf of the Central Committee and the entire membership, and sympathisers of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and on my own behalf as the Party National President, I feel highly honoured to most humbly and sincerely congratulate H.E A.N.M Ousainou Darboe the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia and the Leader and Secretary General of UDP for the new post and to profusely thank H.E Adama Barrow President of The Republic of The Gambia for the trust and confidence he has bestowed on our party leader.
United Democratic Party since 1996 under his wise and able leadership, remains a vibrant and dedicated political party committed to the principles of democracy and rule of law in the strive to attain the new Gambia that we all cherish. UDP played an important role in the struggle to end the tyranny and dictatorship that characterised the former regime. The Fass standoff in 2015 and the 16th April 2016 peaceful demonstration by the UDP leaderships, clearly signalled the party’s total determination to end the two decades of oppression and suppression in the country come December 2016 Presidential Elections.
For the purpose of clarity, prior to his arrest and imprisonment, the Secretary General and Leader of UDP took a leading role in reactivating the Gambia Oppositions for Electoral Reforms (GOFER) and served as chairman. The group that later formed a coalition of seven opposition parties plus an Independent Presidential Aspirant and defeated the former ruling party in the 1st December 2016 poll whilst he (Darboe) was in prison. The rest of the UDP Executive members who stayed behind on April 16, acted as instructed by the leader to continue the struggle in the event anything happened to them. UDP as a party stood firm in solidarity with Darboe and co during the trial until their conviction and sentence before taking the political front to ensure the change of government and their release.
After consultation with my humble self, Hon. Halifa Sallah the Secretary General and Leader of PDOIS, convened a Conference of Presidential Candidates at Kairaba Beach Hotel to map out the strategies to select a single opposition candidate which involved only presidential candidates or their representatives. At its second meeting, a conference of GOFER was proposed and agreed to and also for the opposition parties that were non-GOFER members to be included as well. Two civil society organisations and two Independent National Assembly Members who were also in the struggle to unite the opposition parties were also invited to be part of the conference upon their requests. Henceforth, the third meeting comprised GOFER and the team of the Independent Aspirant Dr. Isatou Touray plus two civil society groups (The Concerned Citizens led by Madame Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang and the Inter-Party Committee for Opposition Unification led by Kebba Singhateh) and Hon. Buba Aye Sanneh and Hon. Muhammed Magassey. I was unanimously chosen as the Chairman in the absence of Ousainou Darboe. At our subsequent meeting I proposed that Madame Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang assist me as Co-Chair which was accepted. As the parties could not come to terms on a single candidate but decided to go for convention, I proposed that Madame Tambajang preside over the convention and the meetings there after as Chairperson. However, I remain as Co-Chair.
To conclude, I thank each and every political party, group or individuals for their efforts in effecting the change and the services they have rendered to the government of President Adama Barrow in one way or the other. I wish H.E Vice President Darboe good health, long life and success in his new office. I pray for H.E President Barrow long life, good health and for Almighty Allah to grant him wisdom and guidance to govern this country.
Hon. Dembo Bojang
National President UDP