The largest opposition party in the West African nation of The Gambia has nominated Adama Barrow as its presidential hopeful to challenge President Yahya Jammeh in the country’s December polls.
Barrow, 51, is a businessman, real estate mogul and accountant. He was UDP Treasurer Amadou Sanneh’s assistant. Sanneh was jailed for 5 years for seditious charges after an affidavit supporting an asylum claim was linked to him. Before his jailing, Sanneh, the former accountant general of The Gambia was rumored to be the likely presidential nominee, making his prosecution a politically motivated one.
It is the first time in 20 years that the UDP has a new presidential nominee. Human Rights Attorney Ousainou Darboe has led the party since 1996. Darboe with his senior executive leadership were in July sentenced to three years in prison for taking part in a protest demanding the release of a senior opposition leader Solo Sandeng, who was reported dead in custody.
Sandeng was tortured by Gambian security forces under President Yahya Jammeh’s command. He was the Organizing Secretary of the UDP Party and led in April a rare protest at the Westfield Square demanding electoral reform.
At least two UDP officials have died in custody since April and the UN said there are reports of mistreatment of other opposition detainees who are also denied medical attention.