The top brass of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has called on delegates to remain united as the country’s largest political organisation on Friday kicked off its 2018 Biannual Congress at Pencha Bi Hall, Paradise Suites Hotel, Kololi. The three-day event provides an opportunity for the party’s emblematic figures — Ousainou Darboe and Dembo Bojang — to add their voices to the call for unity to prevail within their ranks.
Ousainou Darboe took the opportunity to remind the gathering that the National Congress is taking place at a critical moment of The Gambia’s political history, saying it is the first time the UDP is holding such a meeting in the Greater Banjul Area.
Last October, the Chairman of Gambia’s electoral body ordered all political parties to hold Biannual Congress before December 31st or else face consequences. The UDP Congress is expected to elect a new executive and set off the party towards future electoral competitions.
While reiterating that UDP is one, Darboe said the party joined forces with other political organizations to form Coalition 2016 and successfully fought to end the two decade-long dictatorship by the Jammeh regime.
“We have to give top priority to ensure compliance with party discipline,” he emphasized. “In our choice of candidates, we should bear in mind the unity of our people.”
As the party has embraced modernity, Darboe expressed the need for the upcoming executive to strengthen UDP’s ability to innovate.
During the past months, the party leadership was not only busy with strengthening their organisational capacity, but also widening their support base across the country.
“Our engagement with people has to be further improved,” Darboe added, expressing his readiness to pick a fight with anyone bent on sowing seeds of discord in the party. His statement was greeted with waves of applause.
Flexing his muscles, he unequivocally stated that if Adama Barrow is The Gambia’s President, Ousainou Darboe remains the UDP leader.
Similar sentiments were re-echoed by UDP National President Alhagie Dembo Bojang who emphasized party unity going forward.
He urged delegates to remain united as it is important to erode whatever differences ever existed between them.
Bojang lauded the move taken by some political parties to send representatives at the official opening of the Congress.
As candidates for top party position filed their nomination papers yesterday, delegates will elect on Saturday the new executive that will preside over the destiny of the party for the next two years.
UDP spokesperson Almamy Fanding Taal announced Friday that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe is the sole candidate vying for the position of Secretary General and Party Leader. He is virtually assured re-election after he was confirmed that he is about to succeed himself.
The deliberations of the Congress will also be centred on the activity report presented by party leader Ousainou Darboe, and the financial report by Amadou Sanneh.
UDP MP for Brikama North Alhagie S. Darboe tabled proposed amendments of the party’s Constitution.