Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, also the Vice President of The Gambia, made the tough statement as he opened the UDP’s three-day Congress at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi. The Congress brought together hundreds of delegates from across the country.
Mr. Darboe, who has led the UDP since its founding in August 1996, said he was not desperate to be President of The Gambia. However, he would be ready to take anyone head on for attempting to divide the UDP. Since he was elected to preside over the unification of the party and woo more people on board, he would fight anyone bent on dividing the party.
Darboe dispelled the belief that his party had been hijacked by the 2016 UDP noisemakers.
“I want people to know that the only UDP we have here is the UDP of 1996. There is therefore no UDP 2016. There is only one UDP – that is UDP 1996. There is no UDP 2016,” Mr. Darboe clarified. He said it was because of UDP 1996 that forged alliance with political actors like Aja Fatoumatta Jallow, Honourable OJ, Majanko Samusa, Alh. Mai Fatty, Hamat Bah and others to send Dictator Jammeh packing in December 2016.
“Anyone who denies that Ousainou Darboe is not the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) he or she must be out of his mind. I have told people who came to see me, publicly that I am not desperate to be President. I am not saying that I will become President of The Gambia by and force; I have never said that. But whoever wants to divide the UDP into two camps, I will wage a war against the person,” Mr. Darboe declared, acknowledging that Adama Barrow is the country’s President.
“I have told you that UDP is a party of one people – “Kang Kiling” [a party that speaks one voice],” Darboe said, paying homage to those who suffered in the hands of the Jammeh regime since 1996. He said the party’s fortification started in 1996 when Back Yusupha Cham, Wassa Janneh, Dembo Ara, Shyngle Nyassi, Sarjo Kunjang Sanneh, Due Taylor and many others were taken to the NIA and tortured by Jammeh’s agents. Darboe also paid special tribute to the party’s fallen heroes: Ebrima Solo Sandeng, Solo Krumang, Lang Marong and others who either died in state custody or after having gone through torture in the Jammeh era.
The UDP leader condemned Jammeh’s security agents for mistreating his party supporters like Nogoi Njie, Fatou Camara and Fatoumatta Jawara.
Delegates are expected to elect officials on Day 2 of the Congress.