Lawyer Darboe didn’t have to go to prison…!

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By Musa Bah

Let me say from the outset that I’m neither a member nor a supporter of the United Democratic Party (UDP).

Equally, I do not belong to any particular political party. Rather, I seek to view national issues from that very angle, national.

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The politics of personality and cultism is threatening to destroy the fabric of this nation and unless we seek to collectively tackle it head on, it may deteriorate to an unmanageable extent.

At the political rally organized by the Barrow Fan Club (in itself a misnomer), speakers spewed hate and highly hypocritical jibes against genuine Gambian citizens.

One particular individual by the name Lamin Jatta said that it is they (meaning Lawyer Darboe and himself – but more Lawyer Darboe) that destroyed the country and that they needed to be sent back to prison.

To say that this statement is unfortunate is an understatement.

One can’t fathom the magnitude of this ill conceived assertion.

Lawyer Darboe didn’t have to go to prison; in fact, he didn’t have to be here at all.

Everyone in this country knows for a fact that Ousainou Darboe is a top class lawyer – an undisputable fact.

Everyone also knows that he could have, had he chosen to, obtained a lucrative job anywhere in the world like many did.

But he chose to stay put.

That took courage, resilience but most of all, patriotism.

It was a concern in this country that the dictatorship had gone far enough; that enough people had been killed or maimed, that enough people had been unlawfully sacked from their jobs or imprisoned.

This was why Lawyer Darboe along with thousands of other patriotic Gambians chose to stay the course and confront the evil head on.

It was in this struggle that even if people had a difference, a simple ‘eyes on the prize’ brought them back together.

It was at such a time and at such horrible circumstances that Mr Solo Sandeng (of blessed memory) braved the storm and walked in the streets to seek electoral reforms.

The evil did not disappoint as they arrested and tortured him and those with him to an extent that his death was rumoured.

At such a time, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, knowing full well what could happen to him, went out in search for his Comrade Solo Sandeng.

He was arrested and put through a mock trial and jailed. This shows several things about Lawyer Darboe.

One is that he is a selfless leader who does not abandon his people in times of need.

He was – always is – there for them.

Another thing the incident showed was that Lawyer Darboe is not desperate to become president as many want to make us believe.

True, he is a politician and thus one can assume that he wants to be, but not desperate to be a president.

The reason is simple. Darboe, being the lawyer he is, must have known that if he happened to be imprisoned, it will bar him from running for that office; yet, he did it anyway.

So, he is not swayed by wanting to be president but rather by wanting to see a Gambia that is democratic and respect the Rule of Law.

At that difficult time of our history, all the political parties came together to form a coalition to oust Yahya Jammeh.

They, in their enthusiasm, agreed that whoever was chosen as the standardbearer would have to resign from his party and not run for office in the next presidential elections.

They all agreed to this.

They also agreed that such an individual will serve for three years, level the playing field and then organize a free and fair election.

It is a surprise that among the parties that engineered this agreement, was one National Reconciliation Party (NRP) the leader of which, Hamat Bah, has now metamorphosed into a member of the Barrow Fan Club – or better still, Barrow Praise Singers Club (BPSC).

What a mess!
One thing folks need to remember is that mocking the imprisonment of Lawyer Darboe is not only mocking one man; rather, it is making fun of all genuine Gambians who stood against injustice.

It is prudent for those in power today and those in their pockets to remember that tomorrow will come just as today has come.

So, I say to all of them: what will it be if no, when tomorrow comes?

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