In an interview with The Standard at his offices yesterday, the veteran opposition leader said: “Why would OJ have a go at me? It depends on how anyone sees it. Some would see it as an attack on me and others would see it as an advice. I cherish an environment where there is free expression of views on matters of public interest. I think leaders of political parties have a right to criticise other political parties on matters that are common to them. But I do not think the right of free speech is a licence for any opposition leader to tell another opposition or ruling party how to run their party. Mr Jallow has done wrong. I do not take it as an advice; I take it as unsolicited advice. If he had read the constitution of the UDP he would not have failed to realise that our presidential candidate is not selected by the congress but by the selection committee. In fact, candidates for all elective positions are selected by the selection committee. When he said we should go to congress to select a new leader I think that was done with lack of knowledge of the primary document of the UDP.
“The PPP is supposed to be a national party with a national platform but its leader is in the struggle first and foremost for Serekunda East not The Gambia. That is parochial. No national leader thinks of a constituency but the entire country. That is the basis of PPP’s very existence. It is a party that is parochial and is not nationalistic in its thinking. What he said about me is a statement that is going to haunt the PPP for a long time because people will ask him why he puts Serekunda East before The Gambia? The long and short of it is that the way PPP is run is not the business of the UDP”.
Mr Darboe added: “I have always said I am not bigger than UDP. It is the UDP that has made Ousainou Darboe leader and not the other way round. If he had been listening to and reading my interviews on this issue then he is not quite right with Gambian people. If he did not understand what I was saying then it will call into question why the leader of a party as prominent as PPP cannot really understand such simple statements. If he did understand them then he is really not being fair to me, UDP and Gambian people.
“He said we should not be following our political and economic interests. But I do not live on UDP. It is rather the other way round. The UDP has been eating into my pocket. So it is not in my economic interest that is making me hold on to the position I am holding until the congress elects another leader. And for political interests that cannot apply to me because I have not lost political glory in this country which I might want to regain. I have never been a minister or National Assembly member so I have not lost any political glory that I would want to regain. What I have lost is my dignity and the dignity of my children to live in a free society and I think that is in common with most people.”]]>