By Omar Bah
The opposition United Democratic Party leader has advised the UDP’s young politicians, especially those who want to succeed him, to be patient, focus on building the party’s support and wait for their rightful time.
With little over three years until the next presidential election, the UDP’s choice of candidate remains undecided, amid rumours that KM mayor Talib Bensouda and others could express their desire. Some critics of the party are even suggesting that it could split when Darboe eventually retires.
But addressing a group calling themselves UDP Road to 2026 and Darboe The Gambia’s Mandela at his Fajara residence over the weekend, Ousainu Darboe said while it is understandable that a party like the UDP will undoubtedly have many suitors, those who want to succeed him should demonstrate maximum maturity and allow the party to decide when the time comes.
“I advise the young people of the party to follow each other and support the party to grow, just like Mandela’s ANC party in South Africa. I want Momodou Sabally, Landing Sanneh, Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe, Yankuba Darboe, Talib Bensouda, and Lamin Sanneh to be the next Cyril Ramaphosa, Thabo Mbeki, and Jacob Zouma of the ANC and South Africa. I do not want to hear or see people accusing or pointing fingers at each other,” Darboe said. He said all these former and current South African presidents stood beside Nelson Mandela, supported him all the way, and waited for their time.
“I anticipate the same thing from my young people—I don’t want to hear anything apart from the UDP agenda. I want them to succeed me and then succeed each other along the way without any issues, as happens in the ANC. If you show your commitment to the party and not yourself, the party will recognise your efforts and choose you to lead it,” he said.
He said the party supporters should not be worried about reports or rumours that people are pushing and pulling to succeed him because every ambitious young person in the party would want to lead it.
“I just want to advise that those who want to succeed me should be patient and wait for their time,” he said.
Commenting on the UDP Road to 2026, Darboe said the idea of the group is apt and would keep the party supporters on guard for the 2026 presidential election. He commended the Darboe-Gandhia Mandela Association for recognising his effort. He dedicated the honor to fallen UDP heroes such as Lamin Dibba, Nogoi Njie, and others who have passed through ‘horrible’ things while fighting against dictatorship.