EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: United Democratic Party (UDP) leader and Secretary General, Ousainou Darboe’s eleventh-hour withdrawal of his support for President Adama Barrow to remain in power until 2021 is now the top discuss in Gambia’s political agenda.
Earlier this year, Mr Darboe openly expressed his support for Mr Barrow to stay in power until the 2021 presidential election, putting aside a three-year mandate agreement by the coalition 2016 that brought Mr Barrow to power, of which UDP was a party to.
But during a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Darboe changed his earlier support, believing that the 3-year mandate was a political promise which might have influenced Gambians to vote in the way they have voted in the 2016 election.
The Coalition 2016 spokesperson, Essa Dampha and United Democratic Party’s Kanifing Municipality regional youth coordinator, Nyawuru Komma, Friday had a tense debate over the matter during Eye Africa TV “Good Morning Africa show” where Mr Komma insisted that UDP’s key position is that Mr Barrow must respect the 3-year agreement of the coalition and step down, this December.
Before the December 2016 presidential election, seven political parties formed the coalition, with President Adama Barrow -who was then, the deputy treasurer of UDP- selected as the flag-bearer, leading to his resignation from the party. The parties agreed that if Barrow win the election, he will lead for a period of three years and call for fresh election, but this did not became binding on all the parties as some of them failed to sign it.
“Politics is dynamic and everyone has the right to express his or her opinion, and Mr Darboe cannot take a double stand,” Coalition 2016 spokesperson Essa Dampha said during the Friday morning debate.
Pressure is surging on President Barrow to step down and call for a fresh election as the 3-year coalition agreement ends this December. Since then, one of the pressure groups that call themselves ‘Operation 3 year Jotna’ have been campaigning for the 3 years mandate, asking that Mr Barrow must step aside in December.
Just as President Barrow, Mr Dampha also believes that the coalition memorandum of understanding was a ‘gentleman’ agreement that cannot stand when the coalition is available.
But in contrary to his view, Mr Komma believes that everyone has the civic right to say what he wants, arguing that Ousainou Darboe’s earlier assertion was that if anyone attempts to forcefully remove Mr Barrow from power after three years, he will sue that person to court. He said members of the 3 years jotna did not say they will forcefully remove the president.
“Gambians should stop hypocrisy and taking double standard,” Mr Komma said, but Saikou Saidyleigh, a contributor to the show, who is the UDP spokesperson in UK said Mr Darboe’s statement was a personal assertion.
He said Mr Darboe is entitled to his opinion which can differ from the party’s view. “And O J once said he supported the idea of the 3 years and now changed his decision to 5 years and the media is not focusing on him but only on Ousainou.”