By Omar Bah
The United Democratic Party has launched its manifesto with strong emphasis on prosecuting perpetrators of crimes under former president Yahya Jammeh.
The party, which was registered on August 23rd 1996, marked its 25th anniversary on Friday and used the occasion to unveil its manifesto for the coming presidential election as well as remember its fallen heroes.
UDP leader Ousainu Darboe said the 25th anniversary marks “a significant milestone in the history of our great party”.
“The circumstances leading to the founding of the UDP made it imperative that we must measure up not only to the demands of a pluralistic political dispensation demanded by the 21st century but must also accept that the old politics and dogmas will now not do. 21st century Gambia needs a new kind of politics that creates the environment for a high energy democracy and a new theory of government that is value-adding and economically empowering,” he said.
However, answering questions on how a UDP government treats the TRRC recommendations, Darboe said: “We will make sure that any recommendation that comes out of the TRRC if we are in government and I think we will be in government, we will implement them. When the recommendations come out, I believe the government should be not legally but morally obliged to implement them. A UDP government will certainly enforce the TRRC recommendations to the letter.
“If we have legal obstacles in enforcing them, we will ask experts in other places to help us circumvent them. When I talk about legal obstacles, I mean issues of jurisdiction like places of trial and so forth. I want to echo here that I am in agreement with the former Attorney General that the culprits will be prosecuted,” Darboe said.
Lawyer Darboe added: “Whosoever is out of the country if you step your foot here and we are in government, we will certainly prosecute you and I said this and I cannot be bothered if anybody denies me a vote because these are principles that we believe in and we are not going to compromise them just because we want any particular people to support our election bid.”
The UDP’s manifesto highlights the five priority areas the party intends to focus on in its first 100 days in office. The five priorities agenda will focus on public sector reforms, tackling corruption and women empowerment.
The party intends to focus on youth empowerment through skills training, education, agriculture, and fight against corruption, energy and digital infrastructure. The party also launched its website.
‘Darboe will only debate with Barrow’
Commenting on the need for Gambia’s politicians to start debating on policies to give voters the opportunity to know the policies they have for the country, the UDP spokesperson Almamy Taal said: “Ousainu Darboe is the former foreign minister and the leading contender of the 2021 presidential election. The UDP is open to debates but the most important debate we want to have is with President Adama Barrow.”
“It is not very difficult to win debates. You just need to be able to have few punch lines and sound bites. We can do that even in our sleep but the UDP is calling for a whole transformation of the political discourse because sometimes the debate can become an exercise on who can speak English better than the other and I don’t think really any Gambian doubts the ability of the deputy doyen of the BAR to debate not only in The Gambia but anywhere in the world,” Taal said.