The leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has blown the whistle on President Adama Barrow, urging him to step down after the three years transition process ends.
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe made this remark during a news conference held at their party headquarter in Manjaikunda on Wednesday. Amid increased polarisation of the political space, the former Vice-President has reechoed a decision taken by the UDP’s National Executive, which is the party’s highest decision making body. The party wants President Barrow to honour his promise of serving only three years in office.
“The UDP urges all the parties, including President Adama Barrow, to be faithful to the Coalition agreement,” Mr. Darboe voiced out.
The Gambia, the smallest country on mainland Africa, is transitioning from dictatorship to democracy. As the country continues to creep along the path to democracy, mounting challenges are still hanging over its future. The country has a lot of unsolved issues arising from its 22 years of dictatorship which is why President Barrow thinks he needs to complete his constitutionally mandated five year term in office.
But Lawyer Darboe, who described President Barrow as the principal beneficiary of the Coalition 2016, says he hould be faithful to the Coalition agreement. Darboe wants Barrow to “fulfill his promise to the electorate that if he is elected President, he will serve a term of three years, step down, supervise elections and hand over the Office of the Presidency to whoever is the winner.” He adds that the elections promises made by the Coalition flag bearer did influence Gambians in the way they voted.
The UDP leader seizes the opportunity to clear air over possible demonstration his militants may stage in response to President Barrow’s decision to not honour his promise. Darboe sidestepped a question about the collective #3YearsJotna, making it crystal clear that UDP is not tied to their call to protest. “If there has to be protest, we have to consider all the conditions, and this party will meet to consider whether we should go for protest or not,” he emphasized.
Leaving the ultimate decision in the hands of President Barrow, Darboe said “let his conscience guide his actions.”
National Dialogue: The Way Forward?
Lawyer Darboe added his voice to the calls for National Dialogue in the country, debunking pessimists beliefs that it is too late to convene a National Dialogue.
“After all, we can organise a National Dialogue within three weeks,” he said. “For me, there is no lost opportunity.”
Darboe okayed the proposal to hold a National Dialogue that would chart the way forward. But he was quick to add: “It has to be initiated.”
“People will go to that National Dialogue with well defined position – genuine or not genuine. Probably, out of the expression of those different opinions, something beneficial will come out of it for the good of the country.”