By Mafugi Ceesay
For the first time since he returned from the Abuja constitution talks, UDP leader Ousainu Darboe has rubbished claims that his party is the only obstacle to the realisation of a new constitution.
Darboe and his party were accused of insisting at the talks that they will reject the draft constitution “if a single word is removed from it”. It is reported that all the other parties agreed to compromise the retroactive clause of the presidential two term-limit.
In his first comments on the talks Sunday, Darboe who was addressing a large gathering at the UDP Manjai office, asked critics to be honest and tell the nation who blocked the draft constitution from passing in the National Assembly, denying the country of a new beginning.
“UDP supported the entire document from the first to the last word of the draft constitution and if any word should be removed from it, they must give us good reason for doing so before we accept its removal,” Darboe said.
The UDP leader said the Gambian people wanted the draft constitution but President Barrow and his people masterminded its defeat in the National Assembly. “So we are prepared whichever way they want, either the 1997 or 2020 constitution.”
Darboe further said the Gambian citizens have realised that they have a leader in Adama Barrow who cannot be trusted and who keeps changing his words like a chameleon. “A president needs to be truthful and gains the trust of his people, because if you cannot speak the truth, you are not fit to lead any country. If you want to rule this country, you must respect its citizens and they accord you the same respect,” Darboe said. “I am also calling on you to reject a leader that brings in wealth seekers.”
He noted that the UDP has been fighting for a constitution that will promote good governance, inclusiveness, among others since 1996, but one could not get that until 2016 when Jammeh became history. “Once that was achieved Gambians from all walks of life put aside their personal interests to have a constitution that will promote national interest.
But guess what, all the UDP NAMs supported it, whilst a few self-centered others rejected the will of the citizens,” he said.
Darboe also used the occasion to ask the large crowd to embark on house-to-house campaigns during the lockdown and ensure that when the time comes, they find themselves a voter’s card.