Melville explains reasons for joining UDP

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By Lamin Cham

Lawyer Melville Roberts who yesterday publicly declared that he has joined the opposition United Democratic Party, has told The Standard that after a long period of hesitation and reflection he now decided to join the party.

“I have been approached many times before to formally join the UDP but I was not ready to do so. I worked very closely with the party leader as his DPS at the foreign ministry and not once did he sidelined me for not being a member of his party nor did he treat me any differently because I was not a Mandinka. In fact, I dare say I was amongst his most trusted aides being present in very important meetings, some of which had great security ramifications for our country,” Melville wrote from his base in the UK.


He further explained that the UDP is a party of the people, the downtrodden and those who have lost hope in a system that seeks to oppress and dampen their growth. “It is a party of hope and a party that has stood the test of time. I understand that it is usually thought to be more prudent to join the ruling party and enjoy the advantages and perks that comes with it but a man must have values and must believe in something. It’s not always that one aligns for material gains but there are those moments that a man must do that which brings peace and honour to his soul,” he said.

Asked to comment on the recent mayoral and chairmanship elections, Melville said what  is ironical and mind puzzling in the elections is that  even after a vigorous campaign by the NPP, and coming just  after winning a national presidential elections with an overwhelming majority, the NPP could not easily repeat the same feat..

‘Within a short span from the 2021 elections Gambians are feeling the excruciating pain of the decision to reelect President Barrow. It seems there is a sudden disconnect from the State House and the lives of average Gambians. I do not believe President Barrow is a bad man. What I am confident about is that he has been hijacked by a den of greedy and selfish individuals who care more about themselves than The Gambia,” Melville said.

He added that the mayoral race was a referendum on the president and his party and it served as a testament to the radical shift in traditional politics and ushers in a modern trend of politics of truth and actualisation.

“People want to see their elected officials identifying with them, sharing in their pain and celebrating in their moments of joy. The mayoral elections must be a wakeup call for President Barrow to recalibrate his steps and identify with the average Gambian. His administration is being sabotaged and this can only be attributed to weak leadership and governance”  he said.

On the on-going commission of enquiry into local government councils, Melville Roberts said: “Commissions of enquiries are part and parcel of our laws. They have been provided for in our constitution. However, the law is made for man and not man for the law. If any law is used as a means of suppression and witch-hunt, it will defeat its purpose and weaken the very core of its establishment. The commissions are ongoing yet the people have decided to re-elect their officials. What does this tell you? What is the purpose of the commission? Is it for public scrutiny, or is it to serve as a sabotage on the councils and its existing leaders. The mandate of the president and current government was given by the people and the people seem not to be interested in the findings of these commissions because they have decided yet again to extend the mandate of the heads of these councils. I would have urged that the president comes to the realisation that working with councils make his governance much more easier and to understand that unity is indeed strength. The foremost objective and aim of the president should and always be for a better and more progressive Gambia. This cannot be achieved just by the NPP. All hands must be on deck and the order of the day must and should always be, a better and more progressive Gambia where one and all is emancipated from the clutches of poverty and stagnation”.

In conclusion, Meville said: ”The UDP encourages diversity. It takes pride in young people and it also  does know how to tap within these human resources. I feel NPP is for those that can belong and those that can have connections and be able to have acquaintances within the corridors of power. That is not me. I am not a boot-licker and never will be. I identify with progress based on merits and delivery not on individuality or status”.