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UDP representative at National Dialogue urges president to stop attacking Darboe

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By Omar Bah

The administrative secretary of the opposition United Democratic Party, Alhagie Darboe, told President Adama Barrow to stop making undesirable comments against Ousainu Darboe in state functions in the interest of peace.

The Brikama North NAM made the comment at the Monday inaugural session of the national dialogue between the country’s political party leaders and President Adama Barrow at State House.

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“I once sent a political message to my president, but I am not sure he heard that message, but I want to reiterate that message here. Please, Mr President, if you are a state official, take into consideration state issues, make sure they are addressed, and leave aside the political issues. I feel very troubled when I see my brother making very uncomfortable statements against my father and his father  but I feel very comfortable when I see my brother defending his policies instead of criticising his father. I believe the spirit of father and son should exist for peace to triumph,” he said.

He reminded the president that the role of the opposition is to criticise government’s policies, and it doesn’t matter if the government agrees with them or not.

“But you [the president] should not have any ill feelings against anyone because of those criticisms; instead, you should defend your policies and programmes and avoid seeing any opposition as your enemy but rather your opponents and as brothers and sisters,” he said.

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Turning to the substance of the meeting, Darboe commended the president for the initiative to have a national dialogue.

He stated: “This is a very important move taken by the president, and we commend him profoundly. I have no doubt that what we are looking forward to will be achieved… Faced with the current reality, both national and sub-regional, there is a need for this dialogue. It could not have come at a better time than now; at a time when we are all yearning for a Gambia that we can all live in proudly. This was the anticipation in 2016, and we are still yearning and hopeful that that dream will become a reality.

“To have a peaceful country where we will all coexist, key stakeholders such as politicians, religious leaders, and civil society should be represented in national dialogues of this nature so that we are able to build that consensus. We should not just limit ourselves to the dialogues in the Kombos.”

He said the young people of the country should be brought upon the ethos of our cultural, norms and values.

He urged the president to take seriously the matters arising from land issues, adding that the land commission should be made more effective to tackle the challenges related to land issues.

He advised the president to refocus his government’s energy on addressing issues of food insecurity and take the fight against corruption more seriously.

He also advised the president not to compromise with the country’s sovereignty.

Turning to the civil service, Mr Darboe said public servant should adhere to the civil service rules and have respect for the government.

In conclusion, he advised the organisers of the dialogue to ensure its outcomes are fully implemented in the interest of national cohesion.

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