By Omar Bah
The NPP national organising secretary has rebutted UDP’s claims that the ruling party was involved in bribing electorate to vote for Adama Barrow.
Following two unsuccessful attempts to present evidence of its allegations of election malpractice in court, the UDP began sharing its petition file with the public. In a press conference held last week, UDP leader Ousainu Darboe accused several NPP executive members of indulging in voter inducement by distributing cash, cooking pots, milling machines among other materials.
One of those singled out is Fabou Sanneh, a UDP stalwart turned NPP bulldog. Among other things, Darboe accused Sanneh of donating a milling machine to Jula Kunda village in Kiang West during the campaign as a solicitation of votes for Barrow.
Fabou Sanneh admitted to The Standard that indeed he donated a milling machine to Jula Kunda but denied it was meant to induce the villagers to vote for the NPP.
“That is not true because I have been supporting people dating back 30 years. I have been engaged in humanitarian issues all my life and even when I was with the UDP, I used to give support to the community even during campaigns and the UDP never complained about that,” Sanneh told The Standard.
He said President Barrow was not even aware of the donation because he procured the milling machine by himself after the villagers requested for his support. “If the UDP allegations were anything to go by, the NPP would have won in Kiang West,” he said.
Sanneh said the issue of donating money and materials during campaign periods would be “almost impossible” to eradicate in Gambian politics because Darboe himself, Momodou Sabally and Amadou Scattred Janneh were seen giving out cooking pots and other materials during the campaign.
He said “Gambians voted for President Barrow and UDP should respect the will of the people”. Sanneh said he was anticipating that the UDP would have produced “tangible reasons” on why they rejected the election results.
“It was disappointing to hear them talking about cooking pots and boreholes donated to poor Gambian communities. That was shameful. I was shocked because this is a party that I know inside out.
“I think the UDP should revisit its inner circle and try to deal with the several groups created by the party supporters just to insult people from all tribes and backgrounds. They are the problem and the earlier they sort them out the better for them,” Sanneh advised.
On why he left the UDP, Mr Sanneh said: “I was forced to leave the UDP after the change in 2016 because some of us who have fought very hard for the party under Jammeh to ensure the change, were sidelined and Darboe went ahead and formed his own group “Hellal” think tank consisting of so-called “high class” people who will never risk anything under the sun”.
He said the UDP need a reset from the Darboe-era as the current leadership has “lost its mental ability to lead” the party.