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Friday, September 25, 2020

Solo Sandeng accuses OJ of undermining UDP

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Mr Sadeng was reacting to statements by Mr Jallow that the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe should step down.

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In a statement issued yesterday to The Standard, Mr Sandeng wrote: “I read with utter dismay OJ’S personal attack on Ousainu Darboe’s leadership of UDP, a party that Mr Jallow is not a member of.  It seems to me that OJ had it all wrong by accusing Darboe of hijacking the leadership of the UDP by refusing to step down as the leader of the party. I would like to put the records straight for Mr Jallow and others who may harbour the same sentiments about Ousainu Darboe’s leadership of the party.  I want him to know that the UDP was not formed by Darboe and therefore cannot and did not at any time attempt to make himself the leader of the party. UDP was formed by genuine citizens of this country people who did not want to watch The Gambia being destroyed by people who have no leadership qualities and the best interest of the country.  These patriotic Gambians then set out to [select] a Gambian who is best suited to lead the country out of the terrible situation we were in at the hands of the then junta.

“On OJ’s assertion that it is the UDP that made Ousainu what he is, I would like OJ to know that Ousainu Darboe had already made a name for himself well before the coming in to power of the military regime and the advent of the UDP. It was since 1981 abortive coup d’état, after which the PPP regime arrested scores of innocent Gambians, detained them in Depot along [with] the then main opposition National Convention Party leader, Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, and his supporters.  They were accused of conspiring with rebels to overthrow the PPP government and subsequently charged with treason.  Lawyer Darboe successfully defended Dibba pro bono.  This case and many other put Lawyer Darboe’s name on the map of The Gambia.  So, Darboe had made a name for himself since the time of the first republic thanks to the high-handedness of the regime OJ was a prominent member of.

Homing in on Mr Jallow, the UDP youth leader further wrote: “Again when your constitutionally elected PPP regime was illegally toppled by Yahya Jammeh and his … military junta in July 1994 and all your assets were not only seized but you were asked to pay all your parliamentary loans or else your properties would be confiscated by the state and sold to pay those loans, it was Ousainou Darboe who stood for you and others to defend you against any illegal and unlawful seizure of your properties.  When you were also unconstitutionally and unfairly banned from taking part in politics by Decree 89, it was Ousainu Darboe who lobbied and put it on his campaign agenda for that ban to be lifted on you, without anyone asking to do so.  The members of UDP are in much better position to tell who benefited from whom and not someone like OJ who is floundering all over the place looking for political relevance.  I would also want Mr Jallow to know that it is the national executive of the UDP that determines the congress of the UDP and not Ousainou Darboe.  UDP is a democratic party that is not micromanaged by one individual.  So, to say that Ousainou should convene a party congress to step down and give way for a younger person to emerge as leader is not OJ’s business in the first place, because he has his scattered PPP, which he should be busy fixing instead but [instead he is trying] to instigate UDP to rise against Ousainou Darboe.  Therefore, the statements he made are not only misleading but also unfortunate. It is meant to undermine Ousainou Darboe for reasons best known to him.  This will only sow the seeds of distrust within the opposition camp which will further undermine the unity that OJ himself keeps talking about like every concerned Gambian.  I can only wonder if OJ is truly sincere about this call for unity. I think what OJ should be fighting is lack of the presidential term limit that was in the draft of the 1997 Constitution and was removed by the APRC parliamentarians without consulting Gambians about it.  OJ should join the honest and democratic minded Gambians to fight the age cap on presidential candidates which is unique to only Gambia.

“How can opposition parties come together to form a genuine coalition if people like OJ, for one reason or another, are harbouring grudge for their fellow opposition leaders and are bent on manoeuvering behind the scenes to undermine UDP and its leader. Some in the opposition do not see the ruling APRC as their problem but see UDP as their main rival.  OJ should know that his fall from political glory was due to the coup d’état by Yahya Jammeh and not Ousainou Darboe’s leadership of the UDP. When we formed National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD), it was this kind of selfishness that OJ and others refused to accept the largest party to lead the coalition which is the norm and custom of political coalitions the world over.  OJ was one of the individuals who should be blamed for the failure of NADD.  He tried to sneak around and hoodwink people into making him the leader of NADD, which he knows under true democratic proceedings he will not succeed. We have been monitoring the games OJ has been playing over the years in undermining the UDP by calling its members and convincing them to abandon the UDP and join his PPP. On the other hand, we have not seen where OJ calls APRC members to draw them to the opposition.  How can one have faith in OJ’s sincerity in his dealings with UDP if this is his modus operandi?”

Meanwhile, The Standard has been trying to talk to Mr Jallow since friction with the UDP began, without much success.

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