Says UDP leader will be a ‘rebel’ if he announces own results
By Omar Bah
The governing National People’s Party’s first deputy national president has warned UDP leader Ousainu Darboe, that he will be considered a ‘rebel’ if he announces his own results in the upcoming local government election.
Minister Demba Sabally was addressing an NPP media conference called on Sunday to react to the opposition leader’s claims that if his party’s tallied results differ with that of the IEC, they will announce their own results.
Darboe also criticised government’s reported decision to establish a commission of inquiry into the dealings of local government councils, calling it a witch-hunt on UDP chairmen and mayors and warned the president that any attempt to seek an injunction against the UDP chairmen and mayors will be resisted.
But addressing journalists at the NPP head office Sunday Minister Sabally said the UDP leader’s comments are untenable and could threaten the peace and stability of the country.
“Ousainu Darboe, if you declare your own local government election results, we will declare you a rebel. The authority in this country to declare results is the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). No other man or woman including you, Ousainu Darboe can do so. I can assure you that the election results will be announced and recognised only by the IEC,” he said. Minister Sabally said Darboe’s comments were unfortunate, especially given his status in Gambian society.
“It is unimaginable to hear somebody who has risen to the level of vice president talking about announcing his own election results. But I am urging all peace-loving Gambians to come out and vote for the party of their choice and operate within the law because if you don’t, just like former Interior Minister Mai Fatty had once said,’it is either you obey the law or the law will consume you’. Nobody will be above the law in this country as long as Adama Barrow is the president,” he added.
Sabally alleged that there has been a lot of history associating Darboe with violence and inconsistency.
“Who is Ousainu Darboe? You cannot choose what to obey and what not to.You cannot pick and choose what to take and what not to take,” he said.
Commenting on Darboe’s warning to the president, Sabally said: “Ousainu Darboe, you cannot warn President Adama Barrow. I urge Darboe to withdraw his statement and make it clear to the Gambian people that they should operate peacefully and respect rule of law”.
NPP deputy spokesperson Seedy Njie said the UDP leader’s comments could be a ‘recipe for violence and chaos’.
“Lawyer Darboe is so desperate for power that is why he is trying to render this country ungovernable, so that there will be violence and chaos. He always wants to escalate tensions in the country. We found his comments very dangerous that’s why we are responding,” Njie said. He alleged that the UDP leader is preparing his supporters for violence.
When asked by The Standard about allegations that the government has been inconsistent in its response to corruption, Njie replied: “You can refer that question to the government because as a party we respond to party leaders.”
Meanwhile, in an official statement read by its communication secretary, Sulayman Camara, the NPP said: “We will stress here that this president has no time in his busy and highly dedicated schedule to deviate from his executive role of managing the presidential affairs of this country and delving into the role or domain of the judiciary or any other branch of the government at any time. Ousainu Darboe decried the on-going investigative process of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) into the financial activities of local government authorities, but this oversight role is part of the normal functions of the National Assembly, and Alhagie S Darboe, Administrative Secretary of UDP is the Chairman of this FPAC. So, in essence, the coming of the councils to the National Assembly to answer questions has nothing to do with President Barrow.
“The whole country saw in the news the missing millions in the UDP controlled councils. On the strength of the outcomes of these preliminary investigations, it is within the remits of the President of the Republic, to establish a commission of inquiry into such a situation.
In the Gambia under President Barrow, the democratic space is boundless and there is zero interference in the province of the judiciary. This has been demonstrated on numerous occasions and all of you representing your various media houses are witnesses to that.
“The UDP leader also said if the results of the coming election are not tabulated properly, according to him, they will announce their own results. This is quite unfortunate, by trying to undermine the integrity of the independent electoral commission. The UDP party is a spent force and is on a life support machine. This is manifested in the last presidential elections. NPP is a progressive people’s movement, a party of peace, hope and inclusiveness, where all opinions are respectfully counted and politics of insults are shunned. As Honourable Halifa Sallah once said, people who insult have nothing to offer,” he added.
The NPP also said President Adama Barrow will preserve the integrity, peace and harmony of this country, and will not allow anyone to take the laws of the country into their own hands whenever decisions do not go their way.
“Gambian democracy has come of age, and we have nurtured a mature and independent judiciary to which everyone can seek redress whenever they feel that their rights have been threatened. There is no witch-hunting in this country. This President has no time to witch-hunt any law-abiding citizen. He is fair and peaceful in all his dealings, and he will never be distracted in the course of his duty to the nation. He is astute, forthright and focused on his mission to deliver the Gambia that we all want. He will not be threatened or distracted in this, as Winston Churchill once said “if you want to throw a stone at every barking dog, you will never arrive at your destination,” the party’s statement concluded.