By Omar Bah
UDP leader Ousainu Darboe has warned that the country’s judicial independence is under great threat.
“They said Yahya Jammeh brought mercenary judges. Well, we don’t have mercenary judges now but we have people in this country who are attempting to undermine court cases, especially high-profile cases. A day will come I will clear all these things,” Darboe told Brikama-based Home Digital Radio’s popular programme Mengbe Kering.
He alleged that there was “a court ruling where an injunction was made for a certain airline not to fly out of the country but Civil Aviation later wrote a letter to the court to say that they have not seen any law that will stop the airline from leaving the country. That is interference with the judiciary because the judge who gave the order knows whether the law exists or not. This is why this government should not stay here at all”, he said.
Darboe said he hopes the IEC will conduct a free and fair presidential election in December.
“I don’t think the IEC will want to take the risk of being the cause of unrest in this country,” he said.
Darboe also observed that IEC was a bit negligent in the manner they disposed of the old voter cards.
The UDP leader further said the rejected draft constitution will be his party’s first and major transformative agenda if elected in December.
“We will reintroduce the draft to the National Assembly and convince lawmakers to support it, after which we will take it for a referendum. That will be one of our major transformative agenda,” he said.
Darboe expressed dismay over the government’s handling of the Janneh Commission recommendation.
“The government has shown lack of seriousness towards the recommendation. They have shown clear indications that they have no interest in implementing the recommendations but a UDP government will remedy all these things,” he said.
He said the government has not also done any reform in the civil service, vowing that a UDP government will introduce a scorecard to give ministers three months to prove themselves.
“A special attention will be given to the ministries of education, health and communications,” he said.
On corruption, Darboe admitted that it will be very difficult to wipe out corruption in government, saying “human beings are by nature corrupt but a UDP government will significantly minimise corruption in this country”.
He said the UDP will not allow the corrupt practices obtained during Jammeh’s time to persist.
“We removed Jammeh not just because of his attempt to entrench himself in power but because of his administration’s corrupt practices. We don’t hate Jammeh and we will never hate him as a person – we only hated his administration’s corrupt practices,” he said.
Darboe said he doesn’t expect that “those who are supporting the UDP are doing so because they want to be given positions when the party is in government”.
“I think the support is based on principles but we will not also deny those who are qualified and can do the job from acquiring positions,” he noted.