21.2 C
City of Banjul
Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Taal says UDP has not selected flagbearer for 2026

- Advertisement -
image 85

By Omar Bah

The spokesperson of the opposition United Democratic Party, Almami Taal, has said his party has not selected or designated anybody as flagbearer for 2026.

The mayor of KM, Talib Bensouda, is widely touted to be one of the strongest likely successors to the veteran opposition leader, Ousainu Darboe, when the latter leaves. The rumours have since generated huge controversy among party supporters.

- Advertisement -

When contacted for comments on the matter, Mr. Taal said: “We were elected by a congress in 2022, and our mandate will run up to 2026. Now the flagbearer of the UDP is not necessarily the party leader at the moment. In 2016, the party leader was falsely accused, beaten, and then sent to jail by a superior court of The Gambia, and that led to the party selecting a flagbearer—President Adama Barrow.”

He said the UDP, in its own constitution, has made provision for the selection of a flagbearer.

“Nobody should be confused on that.”

- Advertisement -

“For our party leadership, it is Ousainu Darboe today until Congress 2026. The issue of flagbearers comes up only during presidential election time, so I don’t know why people are confused about it. As far as party democracy is concerned, I don’t think any party can match it. It has been in the struggle to restore democracy in the Gambia for The past 28 years, and there has not been at one time that we have waivered,” he added.

Taal added that the party leadership and the flagbearer are two completely different things.

“We have demonstrated in 2016 that you can imprison the UDP leader, but still, we will produce a flagbearer because, within our constitutional arraignment, we have ways and means of electing flagbearers. I don’t see any anxiety in talking about these things,” he said.

He said Gambians should focus more on issues surrounding the country’s “internal security, deplorable health, and education sectors.”.

UDP tour

He said KM Mayor Talib Bensouda’s recent countrywide tour should not be misconstrued.

“It is the party that sanctioned the organising and campaign committees to go on a visit and greet tour of the recently concluded mayoral and councillor elections. It has not been concluded yet. After Ramadan, the tour will continue, and I would also like to inform you that Mayor Bensouda only joins the tour wherever they are on the weekend. I know the activities of the party are sometimes in the headlines, and understandably, people have every right to question them, but I am telling you that from an insider perspective, UDP is an organisation that has the discipline, flare, and intellectual gravitas to really manage the affairs of this country,” he said.

He argued that Mayor Bensouda’s activities are part and parcel of the activities of the campaign and organising committees.

Asked whether there is a feeling within the UDP that Ousainu Darboe may contest for president in 2026, Taal argued: “The party leader is a great son of the country, and he is a patriot, and we hope that this is a decision that he makes at his own time and in his own volition as to what he wants to do going on with the party. He is the elected leader of the party, and I think in a democratic state, when people are elected into office, it is for all of us to respect the will and the voice of the majority. Now, about feelings and sentiments or wishes and desires, I don’t think these are tangible for action for a political party. The only person who can make a decision about what he will do in 2026 is that person, and I think we should all respect that and stop insinuating and coming up with narratives that do not help anybody.

“What we need in this country is serious people to be part of public life. People that can be taken to account, people that can show us the principle of following their conviction, but that is not what is happening,” he said.

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img