UDP leader and Minister of Foreign Affairs has hit-back at his critics who called him power hungry and accused him of using political tricks to position himself to become president.
Ousainou Darboe, 69, was in prison when opposition leaders and their supporters chastised the country’s first female presidential candidate, Dr. Isatou Touray for making it clear that the transitional government should serve a one-term five-year mandate.
He said those that are power hungry are the very people hell bent on seeing President Adama Barrow resign in three years so they could seek the presidency when Mr. Barrow’s mandate given to him by the Gambian people is for five years.
For Darboe and many of his supporters, the Constitution is supreme and takes precedence. You cannot but agree with them. However, how did we get here in the first place?
Opposition leaders at the Kairaba talks insisted on the coalition government only serving three years and having elections held.
According to Dr. Touray’s campaign team, elections were expensive and that holding the coalition government to a three-year mandate will contravene the constitution and could lead to political crisis.
Darboe, though in prison was still calling shots and had some influence. He has supported the position of the Touray campaign on the matter.
His political godson’s win at the opposition primaries led to a political upset that handed Yahya Jammeh a shocking defeat in the elections. However, Darboe’s critics agree, he is the de facto leader with absolute control over President Barrow.
We may all agree that Darboe has ambitions to become president but I bet you, he is no longer in a hurry or a position where he cares much about leading the country any longer.
The UDP and Dr. Touray insisting that the transition government should serve five years would have seen talks fell apart and we would have continued to have Jammeh as president.
In fact, as a great political strategy, UDP remained mute and rather wishy-washy about taking a strong position on the matter. They knew they would win the primary.
Opposition leaders connived and pushed Dr. Touray to curb. It was a sigh of relief for them. Touray was not given a chance to even participate in the primaries.
It is time to say it as it is. Halifa Sallah and the PDOIS thought Darboe’s absence would have given them an easy win. So signing that MOU was never a priority. To their disappointment, some of their own delegates did not even vote for him.
Dr. Touray came under attack by especially UDP and PDOIS supporters for initially declining to join the coalition over the way she was unfairly treated.
After some deep conversations, she agreed to be part of the coalition. It has emerged today that the agreement that the coalition leaders had was never signed and the very fear that Touray’s campaign team had over the three-year mandate has reared its ugly head.
I would love to see President Adama Barrow respect the gentleman agreement but the money to be used for elections can be put to addressing other urgent needs of the country, especially healthcare.
Gambia’s opposition deadlock that has prevented the forming of a united front in last three elections before last years have been very petty and unnecessary. The primaries that Barrow won simply proved that the party with the largest membership should simply lead the coalition.
Anyway, politics is a game of chess and Darboe got the checkmate this time. The others should try again and make sure their next move does not kill their king.