By Omar Bah
The leader of the United Democratic Party, Ousainou Darboe has said although Gambians are very particular about the #NeverAgain campaign, there is likely going to be a repetition of what led to that very campaign.
The former vice president was speaking at the closing of a five-day workshop organized by West Minister Foundation to promote inclusiveness in Gambia’s governance for marginalized groups like women, youths and the differently able.
“If we put Gambia first and remove destabilizing forces, the #Never Again will be never again, but if we do not, there is likely going to be a repetition of what led to that #NeverAgain,” he said.
The UDP leader said contrary to widespread belief that all what we need are strong institutions “Institutions can only serve our aspirations if the people who lead those institutions are with impeccable characters. There is no institution that is strong…It is the people who lead the institutions that are strong. If you don’t have a person of probity, a person of character, a person of honesty and dedication at the head of our institutions, the institutions will just be like those who lead them. So it is not the institutions that should be strong it is the people who lead them that should be people of strong character,” Mr Darboe argued.
He continued: “We cannot implement these nice aspirations without really having a stable society and that stable society is borne out of unity. We must first and foremost appreciate that we are Gambians and then UDP and then Christians and then Muslims. All our efforts must be geared towards harmonizing our relationship. We must remove polarizing and destabilizing influences and forces to have a Gambia that will certainly be the Gambia for all”.
Mr Darboe also commended the West Minister Foundation country rep, Madi Jobateh as a true crusader of democracy, who should be emulated by all well-meaning Gambians.
Turning to the main topic of promoting inclusiveness in Gambia’s governance for marginalized groups, Darboe said once one turns eighteen years one’s participation in politics is assured by the country’s constitution.
“You should not wait for Mr Darboe to make a certain position available for you. People should take responsibility and arrogate to themselves what belongs to them and after all, nothing stops someone who is not mentally derailed from taking part in politics,” he added.
Darboe said the national debate should be centered on the need for people themselves to take the decision and come onboard and not to wait to be taken onboard.
“If you allow someone to take you onboard that person will only tell you to do things that will satisfy him and I believe once you decide to join a political party you should ensure that you are not there to satisfy the executive of the party, but your conscience,” he asserted.
He said the UDP has taken steps to ensure that women and young people are given the rightful positions in the party, saying in the next two years of the UDP’s transformation the party will have a youthful leadership.