Darboe says Barrow’s dictatorial tendency must be abated

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By Omar Bah

Opposition United Democratic Party leader has warned that President Adama Barrow is gradually ascending to a dictator, saying if not stopped he will return the country to its dark days.

Addressing a press conference in reaction to the arrest and continued detention of his party official Momodou Sabally, Ousainu Darboe said the Gambian leader’s gradual ascendance to dictatorship has been aided and abetted by the police and the judiciary.

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“This is something that we must not accept. We urge the Human Rights Commission and all NGOs that are concerned with human rights to join the UDP to abate Barrow’s decadency to dictatorship or else this country will be sorry for itself,” he told journalists on Saturday at the UDP bureau in Manjai.

The former vice president said the greatest threat to peace and stability of the country is “injustice”.

“Where you have injustice, it always provides a recipe for instability. If you start to misuse your powers and laws to suppress people and perpetuate injustice, if people cannot find justice in the courts it will lead to something. So, Mr Barrow and IGP Sanyang, let us conduct the affairs of this nation in a way that would promote peace and act in ways that will ensure this country is stable. We don’t want any Gambian to live in another country as a refugee,” Darboe advised. 

Turning to Sabally’s arrest, Darboe said the state lied in their claims that Mr Sabally had mentioned “we will take the government from Adama Barrow”, insisting that what Sabally actually said is that “we will take the country from Barrow and every other politician can say that”. “So, Sabally was speaking in the context that the UDP is going to take over all areas of the country to make things uncomfortable for Barrow,” Darboe said.

“But this is a scheme, a plot that has been contrived several months ago – you recalled they have said in their NPP forums that they must silence Momodou Sabally, Ebrima Dibba and MC Cham so that they can go ahead with their politics. That evil scheme that they contrived is what now has been hatched and unfortunately the Judiciary has been used in this unholy act,” he said.

The UDP leader, himself a lawyer, said the judge, the state used to detain Sabally got the law wrong. “She knows it because she is not an ignorant person. But she did it deliberately to satisfy Adama Barrow and his cohorts. We have seen how the TRRC report castigated the judiciary for being used by the regime to suppress Gambians. We have again seen the judiciary being used by the Barrow administration to suppress political opponents. We have also seen in the TRRC report how the security forces were really harassing political opponents and we have seen how that is repeated again. Now, one asks yourself what was the ‘Never Again’ mantra for? What was the need to conduct the TRRC in the first place, if the very government that commissioned such an investigation can now turn around and be doing exactly what the former regime was doing? You do not have any hope for this country. We want to assure all of you that what is happening is just an abuse of the judicial process.”

Darboe alleged that the judiciary and the police are conniving with Adama Barrow because they know that the local government elections are coming and they are losing ground.

“I am ashamed that some of our judges are starting to behave the way they were behaving in Yahya Jammeh’s time. This is a way to intimidate people but we will never be intimidated. We will make sure the councils that we have we retain them and make sure that the councils that you are aspiring to gain you do not reach them and that we will definitely take this country. We are prepared to take the country, he added.