By Omar Bah
Addressing congress delegates Friday, the United democratic Party leader, Ousainu Darboe, who was re-elected unopposed as secretary general, said next year’s election will be a referendum on President Barrow’s ‘corrupt’ and ‘failed’ government that has squandered a golden opportunity to pivot the country.
“It will be a referendum on a government that is resorting to the discredit tactics of the regime it succeeded and test for a government that is seeking to divide the nation and use subterfuge and deception to fool just enough people to slide back and continue to amble along with their failed agenda and mediocre leadership,” Darboe told about 1000 delegates.
The former vice president insisted that the election would be about clear choices, both for the nation and the individual voter.
“This administration has scuttled the reform agenda supported by majority of Gambians and this clearly demonstrates its incompetence and must not allow them to cause additional damage. They take our limited resources to live large and feed the people with empty rhetoric,” Darboe charged.
Darboe, who was quoted in 2017 likening Barrow to Moses, now said the Gambian leader’s style of governance in 4 years has turned out to be worse than Yahya Jammeh’s 22 years.
“Over the past four years, we have seen attempts of resurrecting and reconstituting tyranny and discredited methods of the dictatorship regime, such as abuse of authority, corruption, waste of state of resources and sabotage of vital reforms agenda,” he said.
He said while hundreds of Gambians are going to bed hungry, agriculture and other vital sectors under-funded, President Barrow ‘scandalously’ allocated himself D150, 000 daily feeding despite receiving a salary of D250, 000.
Turning to the congress itself held at Paradise Hotel over the weekend culminating in a mass rally at the Buffer Zone last night, Darboe said: “At the end of this important gathering, the Gambian people will have a clear understanding of what we propose, how we intend to execute the agenda set forward and more importantly how it will mirror their priorities.”
“I am committed more than ever to ensure that Gambians live in a country where the only dictator will be the constitution of the land,” he said.
He also criticised the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying the Barrow administration’s response has been messy, inadequate, wasteful and completely ineffective.
He said the Barrow administration has continuously bragged about the new-found democracy Gambians are enjoying, but Darboe argued that Gambia’s newfound democracy was not handed on a silver platter by Jammeh or his successor President Adama Barrow.
“You the Gambian people gave yourself the democracy we are enjoying. It was not gifted to you by anyone,” he said.
The visibly emotional Darboe honoured the party’s fallen heroes; Lamin Ndambu Dibba, Solo Sandeng and all those who died fighting to liberate the country.
Speaking shortly after his re-election, Darboe said he is elated and humbled by the trust vested in him to continue as party leader.
“I therefore gracefully accept your unanimous nomination and election. I promise that I will continue to put United Democratic Party at the heart of everything I do,” he added.
The new UDP executive is as follows: Aji Yamundow Yabo – National President, Ba-Jamba Bojang – 1st National president, Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe – 2nd National president, Ousainou ANM Darboe- SG and Party Leader, Aji Yam Secka- Deputy Party Leader and secretary, Alhagi S Darboe- Senior Administrative Secretary, Oley Dibba-Wadda- Deputy administrative Secretary, Mayor Talib Ahmad Bensouda- National Organizing Secretary, Ebrima Dibba- Deputy National Organizing Secretary, Tombong Saidy- Secretary for External Affairs, Jean Paul- Deputy Secretary for External Affairs, Almamy Fanding Taal- Human and Legal Affairs Administrative Secretary, Borry Touray- Deputy Administrative Secretary for Human Rights and Legal Affairs, Lamin KT Jammeh- Administrative Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs, Fatou Cham- Deputy Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs, Amadou Sanneh- National Treasurer, Kemo Ceesay- Deputy National Treasurer, Landing Sanneh- Auditor, Fatou Cham- Deputy Auditor, Karafa Sonko- Campaign Manager, Bubacarr Loppy Jammeh- Deputy Campaign Manager, Sukai Kah- National President, Women Wing, Adama Jallow- 1st Deputy National President, Women Wing, Nogoi Njie- 2nd Deputy National President, Women Wing, Jonfolo Jabbi- Secretary General, Women Wing, Sulayman Saho- National Youth President, Karim Touray- 1st Deputy National Youth President, Haji Suwareh- 2nd National Youth President, Kemo Bojang- Secretary General National Youth Wing, Jimbi Ceesay- National Female Youth Wing President, Binnet Marong- 1st National Female Youth Secretary, Awa Tambedou- 2nd Deputy National Female Youth Secretary, Ya-Kumba Jaiteh- Secretary General Female Youth Wing, Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh- Administrative Secretary Media and Communications, Yankuba Darboe- Deputy Administrative Secretary Media and Communications, Suku Singhateh- Administrative Secretary for Social and Fundraising.