Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard at his home, the opposition leader stated: “The UDP has always advocated for a united front. It is not an idea that is new to us. In fact, immediately after the rally meeting in May last year I took it upon myself to write to all political parties inviting them to a meeting so that we can at least put in place the nucleus of a united front which we hoped, and still hope could grow towards preparing us for 2016 and 2017 election cycles. It was on account of that initiative that we were able to have a joint press conference organised by UDP, PPP and GMC. Subsequent to that we had two rallies; one at Tallinding Buffer Zone and another one at Brikama.
“I do not want to be presumptuous to say that the UDP made it but we initiated it. We found that there was willingness on the part of other parties. We were all thinking alike and on the same wavelength. We will continue with our drive for a united front. It is too early to speculate on the conditions of such a united front, after all, conditions will come up after meetings between parties. I believe the NRP and PDOIS did not believe in the format of the coalition that we proposed. It is unfortunate that their own alliance was short-lived and ended after the presidential elections and they went their separate ways. We had proposed then that the legitimate and sensible way to come together is to have the leading party as the flagbearer – of course you know which was the leading party, UDP – and when we succeed in winning the presidential elections and come to National Assembly elections we can look at the strength of parties in various constituencies and allow them to select candidates.”
Pressed why the negotiations for a united front fumbled and floundered in the eleventh hour, Mr Darboe, a veteran lawyer said: “If the other parties were in our position and we suggested otherwise, they would have dismissed us as people who were very irrational. I know if PDOIS had the numbers we have, they would not have accepted that somebody else should lead them. I guess they wanted to have experimentations. They tried it with NADD but it failed; it was a debacle. We proposed a format that is acceptable which can be done in the first round without waiting for the second round. We are working on the ground even though certain people are trying to create obstacles for us but that is not halting our efforts.”
By Sainey Darboe]]>