Now that the inevitable, anticipated and long overdue dismissal of the Vice President Hon. Ousainou Darboe has finally taken place, the question now is, what next for UDP? and what is the way forward? Depending on how one translates it, the UDP is in the opposition and being the largest political party in the country it has all possibilities to make a comeback and win the next general elections. To do that UDP needs to assess its strategies as the political landscape has changed and the political spectrum little unkown. Politics is about numbers and that number today is in favour of the UDP. UDP should not be content, arrogant and naive because of its sheer size. Here are some areas to look at:
An agreesive recruitment campaign for people to get id-cards as well as opening the doors of the UDP for new members is what is needed. If UDP is to win the next general elections with over 51 percent of the votes, which the party without doubt is capable of doing then it has to reach out to the youths and build a formadable grass root movement. The Gambia’s current population consist of 65 percent youth, which clearly indicates that for any political party to succeed in any election it has to win the minds hearts of the youth population. UDP’s message of transforming the Gambia to a modern state and elevate the Gambian masses from perpetual poverty to a middle class should be echoed nationwide. People should make to believe in the message from UDP that their future destiny lies within the vision of UDP. A development framework and a feasible national development plan that is truthful, acceptable and not associated with any personal ambition is what a UDP led government should present. UDP must vigorously campaign and reach out to every home, town, village and communities to present what the party has in place for the development of the Gambia and ordinary people.
The people of the Gambia wants to live a life just as any other person in the developed world. Our people have dreams too and ambitions for themselves and their families. In a UDP led government focus will be given to youth employment, argriculture, economy, health care, education, and information technology as the world is more and more connected golobally. Gambia should not be left behind in the digital economy as we are today. Our schools should be equiped with modern learning facilities to meet the challenges that are to come in the future. For Gambia to go to the next level we need first class schools, first class education and first class students. Only good education, motivated teachers and motivated students can take us farther. Not empty words or promises. UDP will erect a Welfare Society where no one will be discrimnated or left behind because of who you are or whom you know. Equality under the law and under the system that will treat all of us equally.
Our disable and mentally ill fellow country men and women must be given the attention, care and rights they deserve just as any other citizen. For far too long society had neglected, marginalized the disable and they have been stigmatized and sidelined. Never a discussion or debate has been launched in favour of our disable fellow country. We have always seen them as a problem instead of and integrated part of our society. The rights of the dsiable is also entrenched in our constitution as well as in the United Nations human rights charter. ALL MEN ARE BORN EQUAL. We should not excuse ourselves by claiming that we are a poor country, hence we cannot take care of our disable and give them the human rights they deserve. We should start by accepting them constitutionally as equals citizens and then the rest will follow. My hope is that along the way in a UDP led government sometime we will give attention and care to our disable fellow country men and women a life worth living.
Our core present and future business areas and best future industries should be in the hands of Gambians, whiles other nationalities will be kindly welcome to invest in our economy. We have to have control over our own econmy unlike today when major businesses like Telecom and others are in the hands of foreign entrepreneus. A UDP government must encourage private entrepreneuship as government cannot be the sole employer as it is today.
Where government is the only source of employment the economy will not improve but stagnate and corruption will strive. A UDP led government will fight corruption of all kinds and put into place an Anti Corruption Agency which will function idependently. The Anti Corruption Agency will monitor government activities and all government employees to prevent corruption and determind when and if corruption has been committed. It will then report its findings to the state attoney who then should decide if there is any charges of corruption.
The three branches of government the Executive, the legislature and the Judiciary will be independent and the separation of powers will be respected and adhered to by a UDP led government.
UDP as a revolutionary party, or people’s party will respect the tenets of democracy and treat all its citizens equally under the same law. Women will play a significant role in any future led UDP government as the party is already aware of the vital role our women are having in our socities. UDP value women empowerment and will encourage young women to be active in nation building.
Security, crime control and the rule of law will be areas of priority for a UDP led government. An effective police institution with neccessary resources, a productive and efficient pupblic service sector that will deliver to the nation. Once upon a time Gambia’s public service was an envy in the whole West Africa. Effectiveness, efficiency and result oriented administration was the answer to Gambia’s previous success in public service administration. A dedicated, dutiful and discipline work force with ethics and morality was the bulk of the public service sector. Some how, some where these vital labour attributes were lost in mid 1970s and in the 1980s. Since then the Gambia was on able or unwilling to restore sanity and dignity in the public service sector and in the minds of most of her citizens.
With a UDP led government the public service sector can be fixed to its past glory days because we know ”WE CAN DO IT”.
Finally, to achieve all these, the UDP as the largest political party in the country needs to put its house in order. The answer to that is unity amongs the members and within the party. We have to rally behind the party and behind our leaders. When we come to do just that, that’s when our enemies will fear us and respect us.
Long live the Gambia and long live the UDP.
Thank you all.