By Omar Bah
President Barrow has debunked UDP leader Ousainu Darboe’s claims that he (Darboe) lobbied for the Basse roads and bridges project from China.
At a meeting in Basse last week, Darboe said the roads and bridges were built because of his initiatives and efforts.
But addressing a meeting on Saturday at Sukuta, President Barrow said Darboe’s claims demonstrate that “age is catching up with him” and that he should gracefully retire and leave politics to youths.
Barrow explained: “Darboe went to Basse and started making unfounded claims. He doesn’t even know how the Basse roads project came about. For 20 years, he was in the opposition. Was he appointed a minister? He has never been a councilor or VDC chairman in this country. At the time, why didn’t he go to China and tell them The Gambia wants roads. I came and appointed him foreign minister, and now he is claiming that he was the one who brought the roads to Basse. When I was inaugurating the roads he should have gone and inaugurat them himself,” he chastised.
The president said he has all the records showing that he was the one who secured the Basse roads project from China.
“This was a presidential project. It was not a minister’s project. I was invited for a state visit to China. It was during that visit that the Chinese president offered the roads project to me. There are pictures and records to confirm what I am saying. We signed the contract, which followed the construction of the roads. My father [Darboe] is old now, he can hardly remember things,” Barrow added.
The president also condemned Mr Darboe’s recent comments directed at Sarahules (read story below).
He said: “I want to tell the Sarahules that if it was only Ousainu Darboe, I will not be president because when he was in prison he wrote a letter to Dembo Bojang and his family informing them that he doesn’t want them to elect me as candidate. He asked them to follow the independent candidate [Dr Isatou Touray].”
Barrow advised Darboe “to stop being tribalist” and allow people to make their own choices. “The Sarahules have made their decision to support me and nobody can stop that,” Barrow said.
He said the APRC leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta had told him in 2017 that the UDP would betray him.
“I was very shocked and angry but he also told me he could support me but he will never support the UDP. I have seen all what he told me today,” he added.