By Omar Bah
The leader of the United Democratic Party has accused government of targeting perceived sympathisers of his party for removal from positions. He said these include chiefs, alkalolu, members of the security forces, and the civil service.
“I received reports that three natives of Jambur – all important persons in the NPP conspired to go to the Minister of Local Government to inform him that the chief of Gunjur, Lamin Darboe should be sacked because he is UDP.
They want the chieftaincy to be given to a Jambur native who is supporting the NPP so that the whole of Jambur can come to the NPP,” Ousainu Darboe told the UDP media.
This, he added, is because “they couldn’t manage to manipulate Chief Darboe. This is a very dirty thing that we have all fought against”, he complained.
Darboe alleged that even the new IGP Abdoulie Sanyang was vetted to establish whether he sympathises with UDP before he was finally appointed.
He further alleged that the former DG of GRTS, Abdou Touray was removed and moved to the information ministry because he was suspected of being a UDP supporter.
Darboe promised that a UDP government will “not target people perceived to be its opponents in government positions”.
The former vice president also expressed hope that President Barrow would implement the truth commission’s report once it is ready. He said if President Barrow fails to implement the TRRC recommendation, a UDP government will ensure that those who committed crimes have their day in court.
“But I see no reason why Gambians should think that the Barrow administration wouldn’t take the necessary steps to implement the TRRC recommendations. They don’t even need to wait for the TRRC recommendations because we have people who have already confessed to murder and is therefore logical that the TRRC is not expected to recommend for those people to go scot free. So, do we have to wait for that? I want to believe that when they present their recommendations even before December, President Adama Barrow will take action because he should take action. When the TRRC presents these recommendations in August, he would have up to January to take action if he is not voted out in December,” Darboe noted.
The UDP leader also lamented that some soldiers who confessed to carrying out killings on the orders of former president Yahya Jammeh are still serving members of the army.
“Murderers should not be donning those dresses. That is my view. They will hate hearing what I’m saying but that is the right thing to do,” he said.
Darboe added that “a UDP government will revisit the decision of the current government and take action where necessary”.
“I will certainly tell my Attorney General to file action to court against whoever has been ordered to pay anything and we will use the report of the Janneh Commission as evidence so that no court will say there were no court orders. But before anything, we will seek advice from our state lawyers and we will go by any advice they give us,” he said.
Dou Sanno reacts
Meanwhile presidential adviser and strong Barrow supporter, Dou Sanno has described Mr Darboe’s comments as ‘quite interesting.’
“If anything, it goes to tell us all that indeed Mr. Darboe fully knows and admits that there are people in the system who are not faithful to their work because they are politically against Barrow who heads the government. Darboe is trying to play a mind game with the system so that when those saboteurs, who are secretly working with him are discovered and removed, he would say I said this before,” Dou Sanno said. He further said he has never heard Barrow threaten to sack any chief or alkalo and accused Lawyer Darboe of again trying to influence the local authorities to deny eligible Gambians of voter cards in the coming registration by creating the impression that the government has targeted them.
Sanno said he is surprised that Mr. Darboe, who himself played a key role in the establishment of the transitional justice programmes such as the Janneh Commission and the TRRC, is today making skeptical comments about government’s handling of their affairs.
“Once he is no longer part of government, he started raising objections that he did not previously raise when he was in office,” Dou Sanno said. He said Mr. Darboe can only and should now wait and see how the president will treat the TRRC recommendations. He accused Darboe of selective criticism of the Janneh commission report implementation such as the case of Momodou Sabally, simply because Sabally has now become a UDP supporter.
“But I must say this, both me and President Barrow are always constrained to respond to Mr. Darboe because of the huge respect we continue to have for him. I only come out to clarify when he makes statements that we consider to be out of context or made for cheap political gains,” Dou Sanno said.