By Yankuba Jallow

Hundreds of delegates on Friday December 7th 2018, gathered at a local Hotel in Kololi, for a three-day congress to vote in a new party leadership for the United Democratic Party (UDP), for the next two years. Ousainou ANM Darboe is the only candidate who had put his name forward, to be the party’s leader.

In his deliberation to delegates, the Secretary General of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Ousainou ANM Darboe, vows to put up with anyone who attempts to divide the party. “I am not desperate to be the president of The Gambia. But I will take any person of whatever description, of whatever station in life who attempts to divide the UDP, head on. I will fight you to prevent this. That is my mission,” Darboe said.

Darboe’s comments came in the midst of growing speculation of division, within the UDP. In an hour’s address to delegates on Friday December 7th 2018, Darboe told party supporters that he will not preside over the disintegration of the UDP.

“I have been elected to preside over the unification of the United Democratic Party, and to get more people to join the course of the Party. I will fight any attempt by any person to do so. There is no doubt about that,” said Darboe, who was seeking re-election as the party’s leader.

According to Darboe, the unity that the party enjoys today, started in 1996 when some key members of the party were arrested.

“I have told you, UDP is one voice. That is why since 1996, when Jammeh’s bad people took Yusupha Cham, Wassa Janneh, Dembo Ara, Syngle Nyassi, Sarjo Kunjang Sanneh, Du Taylor, them to the NIA, all sorts of bad things were meted out on them. That was the day UDP’s unity began.

Now we cannot be in our comfort zone and divide the UDP. I want people to know that the only UDP that exists is the UDP of 1996. There is no UDP in 2016. Because it is the UDP of 1996 that booted out the dictatorship, in concert with other political.

Ousainou Darboe’s voice shuddered on Friday, as he acknowledged the sacrifice made by some members of the party, during the twenty two year rule of former president Yahya Jammeh.

“We have endured pain and sorrow that is beyond measure, ranging from various acts of carnage, betrayal, frustration, detention and even murder, against party members. Hence this takes me to the events and experiences of the UDP from our 3rd April 2016 congress in Basse in URR, to the subsequent 14th April 2016 demonstrations that led to the horrendous tragedy with the supreme price paid by patriots such as Solo Sandeng, Solo Koroma, Lang Marong among the many others,” Darboe said.

Darboe further dilated that UDP is bent on ensuring that dictatorship never return to the Gambia.

“I am not forgetting the painful imprisonment that we were subjected to, through the twenty two years of dictatorship. People who suffered this horrendous act of imprisonment and still continue to suffer are Nogoi Njie, Fatou Camara, Fatou Jabang, Falang and a host of others until it took us all, to liberate this country from the clutches of dictatorship. The UDP is bent on ensuring that dictatorship in any form, does not return to this country.

“They (Solo Sandeng and others), lost their lives. They lost liberty, because they were in support of values; values that are enshrined in our anti-corruption laws; values of a decent society, and values of conducting politics with decency. This is what they fought for and this is what we must continue to fight. Those who are living with disabilities inflicted on them by the dictator, we must ensure that the pains they are going through, does not go in vain. Those who have transited beyond, have not gone beyond for nothing,” Darboe said.

Meanwhile in his deliberation earlier to delegates, the National President of the UDP Dembo Bojang alias ‘By Force’said that the UDP comprises of language groupings in the country.

According to Bojang, the elder members of the party are not happy with the comportment of a particular language grouping which is bent on insulting and character assassinating the leadership of the UDP. “You are making us the elder people depressed. You were not aware when we founded the UDP. You saw the party’s philosophy and joined. And now that we have good fortune, all we have is insult, abuse and trash talk from you,” he told delegates.

The persons endorsed by delegates to run the affairs of the party were: National President – Alhagie Dembo Boiang;  1st Vice President- Yamundow Jaye Yarboe;  2nd Vice President- Momodou Sanneh; Secretary General and Party Leader- Ousainou Darboe; Deputy Secretary General and Deputy Party Leader- Mariam B. Secka; Senior Administrative Secretary- Lamin Dibba; Deputy Senior Administrative Secretary- Alagie S. Darboe; National Organising Secretary-Ablie Suku Singhateh;   Deputy National Organising Secretary- Babucarr L. Jammeh;  Administrative Secretary, Legal and Human Rights-Almameh Fanding Taal;  Administrative Secretary, Finance & Economic Affairs- Lamin K.T. Jammeh; Deputy Administrative Secreatary, Finance &  Economic Affairs- Fatou Cham; Administrative Secretary External Affairs- Tombong Saidy; Deputy Administrative Secretary External Affairs- Hagi Banico Sissoho; Campaign Manager- Fakebba Colley; Deputy Campaign Manager- Karafa Sonko; Treasurer-Amadou Sanneh; Deputy Treasurer- Kemo Ceesay; Auditor- Landing Sanneh; Deputy Auditor-Alhagie Gibba; National Women’s Wing President-Aji Sukaina Kah; 1st Vice President, National Women’s Wing-Adama Jallow; 2nd Vice President, National Women’s Wing-Nogoi Njie; National Women’s Secretary General- Jonfolo Jabbie; National Youth President- Sulayman Saho; 1st Vice National Youth President-Karim Touray; 2nd Vice National Youth President-Papa Touray; National Youth Secretary General-Kemo Bojang; National President, Female Youth Wing-Fatou K. Jawara; 1st Vice President, Female Youth Wing-Jimbi Ceesay; 2nd Vice President, Female Youth Wing-Bineh Marong, and Secretary General, Female Youth Wing-Ya Kumba Jaiteh.

Among the people present at the congress were Omar Amadou Jallow, the leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), the leader of the Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), and the former vice president, Adja Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang.

Join The Conversation