By Omar Bah
The United Democratic Party has finally made its stance on the much talked about 3 years agreement of the Coalition 2016. Under the agreement, President Barrow should serve only three years and quit and must not contest the election coming immediately after.
However, few months after the coalition government came into office, Ousainu Darboe the leader of the main partner UDP, declared that Mr Barrow should not be forced to respect the 3-year mandate because it is two years short of the constitutional mandate of 5 and that he would challenge anyone who wants to force it on the president.
Mr Darboe had maintained that view but his party had said that was an individual viewpoint and the stance of the party would come later.
It came yesterday night when at a press conference the UDP stated that President Barrow should respect the agreement and leave office at the end of this year when it will expire.
According to party officials, this position was reached after three executive meetings on the matter.
“If 3 years was not part of the agreement, there would have been no coalition. The UDP urges all the parties to the coalition agreement and particularly the principal beneficiary of the coalition agreement, President Adama Barrow to be faithful to the agreement and his promises to the electorate that if he is elected president, he will serve a term of 3-years, step down, supervise elections and hand over the office of the president to whoever is elected,” UDP leader Ousainu Darboe said at the news conference in Manjai.
The UDP leader further said: “One good character of a leader is adhering and respecting promises you made. That is one character of a good leader. So, for me any leader that doesn’t respect promises he made is deceitful and certainly I don’t think Gambians want leaders that are deceitful”.
He said President Barrow’s claim that his promise to serve a 3-year term was just a campaign rhetoric clearly signals that he cannot be trusted.
“So, if he refuses to step down after 3-years that will show that he is not a man of honour and he doesn’t deserve a second term,” Darboe charged.
He said Barrow’s promise to the electorate formed the basis why they voted for him.
‘3 years Jotna’
However, the UDP leader said his party is not supporting the “3 years Jotna” movement, a group which said they will protest against President Barrow’s decision not to obey the agreement.
“We are not calling on any member of the UDP to protest. We are asking President Barrow to be faithful to the agreement that led to his election. We are asking him to fulfil the promises that he had made to the Gambian electorate. We are not asking anybody to protest and we don’t believe we should ask anybody to go out and protest,” Darboe said.
“The undertone of the 3-years jotna has some ramifications and certainly the UDP is not coming up to support them. As at now we are not ready to protest. Our position is let his (Barrow’s) conscience guide his actions because his promise to the electorate is even more important than the agreement because it even gives the agreement a very robust character,” he added.
He said the UDP is still open to a national dialogue on the issue, adding that there cannot be any meaningful development without peace.