By Lamin Cham
The former outspoken propaganda secretary of the United Democratic Party and leader of NDAM has said that the future of the country politically is very bright.
“The last election has introduced a landmark turning point in Gambia history. The elections have shown that never again can anyone impose his will on the Gambian people. Equally, no one can bring back dictatorship n the Gambia. Democracy is here forever. It has cleaned our politics and the Gambia’s future politically is very bright. That’s what is impressive about this change,” he said.
Addressing the growing rise in tribal sentiments among political commentators, Lamin Waa Juwara said there has never been and there is no tribal bitterness in the Gambia.
“Yes every political leader comes from an ethnic group but that does not make his or her party a one-tribe party. I think for example it will be grossly unfair to label the UDP a Mandinka party. I have worked in the party and our approach has never been on any tribal lines. You cannot also call PDOIS a Wollof party because its membership cuts across all ethnic groups. In fact tribal issues have never been an issue in the Gambia where everyone knows everyone else as just Gambians,” he said.
On his relations with UDP leader Darboe, Juwara said he has always remained in talking terms with Darboe even after the split from the party. “There is no reason for us not to be talking to each other. As far as I am concerned, he has made his contribution; he has struggled immensely to liberate this country and suffered a lot for that and therefore we should be able to commend each other for the role that we have played,” Juwara said.
He said his split with Darboe was due to circumstances that might not be appropriate to talk about now but it must be stressed that it was the UDP that expelled him and not the other way round.
“I say that to keep the record straight. But you know you cannot expel Lamin Juwara from politics and my party is here, now that there is no dictatorship,” he said.
About the APRC, Juwara said there is nothing wrong with political pluralism but at any given time one must respect and accept the mandate of the one elected by the people.
“I have been following the statements by Fabakary Tombong Jatta, the interim leader and my feeling is that he and his people must be thankful for the restoration of freedom of speech and use it for the good of the country,” he said.
On Foni, Mr Juwara advised that Foni is very much part of the Gambia and people from there can only be proud of The Gambia as their homeland. ”They must endeavor not be have problems with Gambians but take their God-given rights as citizens of the country and work for the progress and peace of the country,” Juwara told The Standard in an exclusive interview.