By Yankuba Jallow / Nelson Manneh
Amadou Sanneh, an ex-Minister of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment has told a UDP rally at Bundung, that President Adama Barrow has given himself a red card following his recent dismissal from cabinet.
UDP held a mega rally on Saturday in Bundung where hundreds of party supporters converged. This is their first rally after the recent cabinet reshuffle in which 3 of their Executive members were dismissed by President Adama Barrow from their cabinet portfolios.
Sanneh, the UDP’s National Treasurer alongside the UDP party leader and Secretary-General, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and the party’s senior administrative-secretary, Lamin N. Dibba were all removed from cabinet by President Barrow following his recent cabinet reshuffle. Ousainou Darboe was the Vice President of the country whereas Dibba was the Minister of Agriculture. Sanneh has been the UDP’s National Treasurer since 1996 to date and has held two portfolios in the Adama Barrow led-government. He was the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs and later appointed as the Minister of Trade and Employment.
Sanneh indicated that President Barrow has advanced the reasons for his dismissal. He gave a recount of his activities as a Minister including the meetings with foreign states and the Brussels’s Donor Conference, adding that he has executed his duties as expected.
About the Barrow Youth Movement, Sanneh said Gambians should ensure that they know the source of their funding. He stated that the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021 is for the development of the whole country. He indicated that the NDP should be the priority of the government.
“The Gambians should hold the movement to account in order to ascertain where they get their funding from because the movement has never presented any budget before the National Assembly,” Sanneh roared.
About the party, he said UDP is here for the Gambia and the source of funding of the party has always been the membership contribution. He said since the inception of the party in 1996, the members have been contributing to sustaining the party.
“President Barrow joined the party around 2006 or 2007. This means he joined the party after 10 years of its formation and he has met the party membership contributing financially. Even if he contributed a million dalasi during the National Assembly Elections, he has to keep mute about it because it has been a tradition of the party for members to contribute,” Sanneh said.
On his part, Alagie S. Darboe, the National Assembly Member for Brikama North said the formation of the Coalition was captured in the UDP’s 2016 Congress. He said it was part of the Coalition 2016’s agreement that parties would nominate ministers for cabinet positions. He indicated that President Barrow has dismissed 3 of their nominated ministers and the replacement of those ministers should be done by the party.
“President Adama Barrow is cheating the Coalition on broad daylight. You’re cheating us and we won’t forgive you,” Darboe said in reaction to the sacking of UDP ministers.
“Any replacement of the sacked ministers should come from UDP as the Coalition’s agreement stipulated,” Honourable Darboe said.
He said President Barrow should take note of the fact that UDP are the commanders of the National Assembly because they form the majority.
“President Barrow has put a question mark on good governance as indicated in the Coalition’s agreement,” Hon. Darboe said.
He called on President Barrow to resign and organize an election if he thinks he was not put into office by UDP. He challenged him to focus on the agenda of the transition.
“It is clear that President Barrow is focused on ‘his second-term agenda’. He is now talking about 15 years. We want him to know that any elections he organized from now on, he would lose to UDP,” Darboe said.
The rally was attended by executive members of the party, some UDP NAMs including the Majority Leader and the Deputy-Speaker of the NA, some UDP councilors, ex-nominated member of the NA Ya Kumba Jaiteh among others. The rally was attended by hundreds of UDP supporters in their usual yellow t-shirts.
The messages on the t-shirts include; ‘justice, peace and progress’, ‘nothing can divide UDP’, ‘UDP Democrats’, ‘UDP 100%’ among others.
UDP Deputy Leader Denies Division Within Party:
Aji Mariam Secka, the deputy party leader of the party said President Barrow should remember that he was nominated by UDP as their flag bearer during the Coalition’s Convention in 2016; that it was from there that Barrow became the Coalition’s flag bearer.
“So President Adama Barrow, please do away with those giving you these bad advice. We are telling you that you are on the wrong track. Replace our sacked Ministers with UDP members,” she said.
She argued that the public sentiment that there are divisions within the UDP is not true. She said UDP is united under one leader, who is Ousainou Darboe.
About the Coalition, she said the Coalition is one-sided now because the President has decided the fate of UDP ministers.
Honourable Bakary Njie, NA member for Bundungka Kunda Constituency said it is only UDP that can salvage the Gambia and give her people the Gambia they want, adding that this could be done by only Ousainou Darboe.
“There is no politician more qualified than Ousainou Darboe in the Gambia,” he adduced.
The National Youth President who doubles as the National Assembly member for Badibou Central, said a UDP government would focus on providing people with access to standard health care services; access to quality and affordable education; rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights, youth development; eradicating corruption; improving the agricultural sector by making it a very vibrant sector among other agendas.
Mayor Talib A. Bensouda said the youth form about 60 or more percent of the population and that unemployment and underemployment are the order of the day. He said a UDP government would address this dilemma.
Falang Sonko, the UDP Chairman for KM, said no one can divide the party and the party is focused on national development. Abdou Darboe, the UDP Chairman for WCR said the party remains the strongest in the country and that President Barrow would not dare them.