By Omar Bah
The leader of the United Democratic Party, Ousainu Darboe has said that although he is not “desperate” to be president, he would be glad to lead The Gambia even at the age of 73, if the opportunity comes.
Addressing supporters at a political rally in Bakoteh Saturday, Darboe, who also doubles as the country’s vice president said if the late ANC leader Nelson Mandela caould walk out of jail and become the President of South Africa at the age of 72, he sees no reason why he cannot become president at 73.
“President Buhari of Nigeria is more than 73 years of age. For me, age gives birth to wisdom. So if they say I am old, I agree. They must accept that on that fateful day of 16 April 2016, it was Alhagie Momodou Sanneh, Kemeseng Jammeh, Lamin Dibba, Femi Peters who were among the old men who went out to the streets to protest. Where were the young men? That day nobody said we were old men. But now that everything is on a silver plate, they want us to step aside. We will not accept that,” Darboe told the rally.
Whiles praising the UDP supporters in the diaspora for their tremendous support during Jammeh’s 22 years rule, Darboe accused a section of them of causing the current division within the party.
“The diaspora is the main cause of the problems that we are facing here. Some people who came from the diaspora and wanted to be something and they think that the only way they can succeed is to create a wedge within the UDP, but they will fail, because they don’t have the competence or the support; they are nobody; they have nothing. We know them,” he warned.
He said some of them are falsely saying that Darboe is not contented.
“I am not contented of what? They are sitting out there saying that I am old. I agree. I thank God for preserving my life. I am praying to God to further prolong my life. We will never allow our names to be in the wrong side of history. I am not saying this out of anger; I just believe we should just speak the truth to one another,” Darboe said.
The UDP leader further said people often stand on political forums to brag and take credit for the country’s political change. “But I can swear no one can claim credit for Gambia’s political change, other than the late Solo Sandeng. He is the prime cause of the change. It was his spirit that pushed us to go to the street. Without that, nobody was going to win that election, whosoever you might be. We should all pay tribute to Solo Sandeng for his sacrifice. We cannot engage in self-glorification and forget Sandeng,” he added.
The UDP leader said the current government is a Coalition government, “and even though they claimed I was not there at the time of its formation but my party was part of it. There was no Coalition between individuals. It was between political parties and the UDP is part of those parties that formed the Coalition”.
UDP WCR saga
Darboe also called on the Inspector General of Police not to waste his time and state resources to investigate the UDP Brikama political bureau vandalization case.
“I heard that the Inspector General of Police is investigating the matter. But I want to tell you that there is nothing to investigate. Those people hanging out there are there because they think that they have a strong backing. But the UDP believe in the rule of law,” he said.
Mr Darboe called on Lamin Jatta and his colleagues of the former committee to stop pretending to be UDP supporters, when they are not, adding, “they were voted out of office. People no longer have faith in them. These are useless and worthless people. They cannot even break an egg if they step on it. They are saying that they do not recognize people who have been legally elected by the UDP and that is the height of disrespect,” Darboe concluded.