By Omar Bah
The secretary general of the United Democratic Party yesterday made a national broadcast to mark the 24th anniversary of the founding of the party.
Ousainu Darboe said: “As we commemorate 24 years of the party’s existence, I pay homage to the men and women spread across the length and breadth of our beloved Gambia and to our compatriots across all continents of the world.
“I am especially pleased with the shared number and diversity of very talented and experienced professionals who have joined our ranks. These are among the best in our country and their membership and support for UDP gives me great hope of the future of our party and the country to which we are all committed.”
Surrounded by senior party members, the former vice president paid special homage and gratitude to UDP heroes who either died naturally or were killed in the struggle for their selfless commitment to deliver the country from the clutches of dictatorship.
“Their enduring legacy of ideas above and beyond their personal needs remain in our hearts and that of a grateful nation,” he said.
Turning to factors that led to the change in 2016, the former foreign minister said: “Those who wish to peddle counterfactual history that the victory of democracy over tranny in 2016 was a three-month transaction led by an unknown lion killer, fool no one with their delusion but themselves.”
“Our collective freedom was delivered in 2016 by those who never gave up on the premise of democracy as an instrument for change. Those who will stay till 2 in the morning to receive a UDP delegation in their villages and citizens in the diaspora working across party lines and with unaffiliated independence to support a united front to remove a tranny,” he noted.
He called on Gambians to refrain from the politics of bitterness, insults and polarisation.
“At the leadership and strategic level, the government has failed miserably to plan and execute an effective and comprehensive approach to fight against this deadly virus. It wasted time and resources on bureaucratic half measures that have taken much needed resources from hospitals, patients, equipment and frontline workers,” he said.
Darboe said the recently announced decision of designating the Serekunda General Hospital as an exclusive Covid-19 treatment center risked jeopardising access to healthcare for large number of patients that rely on the facility for the treatment of non Covid-19 illnesses at a time when the country’s already overstretched health facilities.
“The net results will be denial of easy access to medical care for treatment of other illnesses. A better alternative would be to release to the Ministry of Health the big air condition tent that Yahya Jammeh purchased from public funds and position it at a suitable location properly equipped to serve as a treatment center for Covid-19 patients. It can accommodate a large number of patients,” he added.
This, he added, will allow the country’s limited health facilities to use a cross-section for patients battling non Covid-19 serious illnesses as the identified corona cases are referred to the designated treatment centers.