By Omar Bah

In a rare conversation on what led to him and his colleagues’ sacking from government, Ousainu Darboe has disclosed that the UDP’s refusal to endorse President Adama Barrow as presidential candidate for a second time caused the fallout.

Darboe was dismissed in March 2019 alongside two other UDP ministers; Amadou Sanneh and Lamin Dibba, effectively ending the party’s membership of the coalition government.


 At the time, President Barrow, who served as the party’s flag bearer but resigned to contest as an independent candidate backed by a coalition, said he had to take that painful decision in the interest of the country.

But in an exclusive interview with the popular social media platform For The People By The People show on Sunday, Darboe explained: “We really deserved our appointments as ministers and we lost our appointments not because we were against the government of The Gambia. We were loyal to our government and we continue to be loyal to the government up to now. But when Barrow wanted to achieve his ambition by hijacking the UDP to endorse him as flag bearer again, we said no, we will not have that. We were working audaciously for the government and people of The Gambia but Barrow felt that we should give him our personal support in his ambition, otherwise we will have to get out of cabinet.”

The UDP leader continued: “I think Barrow has been ungrateful because that is not the way you treat a party that has given you so much. What he wanted the UDP to do, we could have done it for him if he had not resigned from the party. How can you claim to want to lead the UDP when you are no longer a UDP member? I think the first thing he should have done was to get back his membership of the UDP and then appeal to the party at a congress for him to be elected as Secretary General. But instead of doing that, he took the path of trying to destabilise the party by starting to give our chairmen D10, 000 monthly allowance. Why should we allow someone to come just overnight to undermine a party that we fought so hard to maintain for 22 years?”

But when asked whether UDP is any better than Barrow in expelling their NAMs, Darboe said the two situations are incomparable.

“We went into government because the government was elected on a coalition platform of which we were a partner. We were part of that coalition; we were not in fact an insignificant partner in that coalition. Now contrary to what happened to these MPs, they were elected on a UDP platform but when Barrow wanted to hijack the UDP, they started conspiring with him to undermine UDP. We felt that we cannot keep such people in the party. We cannot have divided loyalty,” he said.

Reacting to a question on the former Solicitor General, Cherno Marena’s redeployment, Darboe said: “Redeployments are common in a government but whenever there are redeployments, there should be justifications for it. Under the circumstances surrounding Cherno Marena, a UDP government would have redeployed him to the Judiciary as Supreme Court or Appeals Court judge.”

“I want to ask President Adama Barrow to reconsider his decision to redeploy him to the Foreign Service and redeploy him to the Judiciary where he is well fitted – he is a trained lawyer and he has been doing a fantastic job as Solicitor General,” Darboe said.

He added: “In a UDP government, we want to ensure that there will be no tampering with the judiciary and the public service in general. We will make sure that no individual will lose his/her position or be deployed to another branch of the service because of the political views that person has as long as that person doesn’t go on the platform hamming as a politician and if that happens, we will invoke the relevant service rules and ask the particular officer to explain why he should not be dealt with for contravening the rules that govern his services.”

Reacting to claims that Barrow has in the past been pumping money into the UDP, Darboe argued: “The only time I remember Barrow undertook an expense for the party which exceeded D5000 was when he paid for himself an air ticket in 2013 to visit the United States together with Shyngle Nyassi to carry out some fund-raising activities within New York area.”