Mr Ousainou Darboe told The Standard: “The democratic space, instead of being expanded is constricted, restricted and shrinking. The security forces have been frustrating our efforts by arresting my party supporters and I believe this is done with the full encouragement of the ruling party.”

Although Darboe himself never shied away from pitting against President Jammeh, his UDP has on two occasions in the past boycotted the parliamentary and local government elections, in the 2001-2003 and 2011-2013 electoral cycles.

This time round, however, with under two years to the polls which will see President Jammeh seek his fourth five-year mandate, Darboe, who is disqualified from contesting due to the age cap, said UDP may for the first time stay away from the contest.


“We might as well call it quits,” he said. “There’ll be no use in contesting an election that will not be fair. You don’t go through the motion of electioneering when in fact they are a farce and mock elections.

“We need a comprehensive electoral reform and an institution that will have the moral courage to ensure that the electoral laws as reformed, will be implemented. You can reform electoral laws but if you have a rogue institution, the usefulness of reform will be questionable. And we need men of integrity to be in charge.”