By Omar Wally
Ousainu Darboe, the secretary general of the UDP has dismissed claims that he had a strained relationship with President Adama Barrow.
In an interview with The Standard at his Kotu residence over the weekend, Darboe who is also the country’s Foreign minister, said he will never have a strained relationship with Barrow.
“My relationship with President Barrow at both the official and the personal level is cordial. Maybe people want to see that… but they will never see that.”
He underscored that Barrow is the president of The Gambia, and UDP as a member of the coalition, will stand by him. “Even if all others are against Barrow, we will not be against Barrow. After all, Barrow was chosen from among the UDP, so for UDP, Barrow is our Barrow. When I say this, some people get annoyed, but he is our Barrow. We will never abandon our Barrow come rain, come sunshine.
“What our detractors want to see happen is what they are peddling. They really want to see a rift between President Barrow and UDP and as Mandinkas say, their [the detractors] eyes will burst before they see that.”
Asked whether he still stands by his earlier stance that Barrow must serve a five-year term, Darboe replied: “It’s not what I want; it is what the law says. When you [Omar Wally] went to vote, did you elect for three or five years? You voted for the period stipulated by the Constitution.
“I don’t know why people are so eager for elections. In 2016, it was the presidential election, in 2017 the parliamentary and in 2018 the local government elections. So they want presidential election again in 2020? I don’t know why we should be so eager for elections,” he reasoned.
Mr Darboe however, declined to comment on whether he will run for office in a future plebiscite. “From 1996 to date, I have never predicted the future. I have never said I will be a candidate for the party. I have always told interviewers that being the leader of the UDP is not the same as being the presidential candidate of the UDP.
“You could be leader of the party without being the presidential candidate, and I do not know who will be chosen as [UDP’s] presidential candidate [in subsequent elections].
Read the full text of the transcripts of Mr Darboe’s interview on the Bantaba column of the Friday edition of The Standard.