The UDP leader Ousainou Darboe has taken a swipe at those associating his party with the Mandinka tribe, calling them “ignorant comment” as he pushes to distance his party from tribal politics.
Darboe, some of whose supporters have been sending xenophobic messages had severally called on supporters to stay clear of tribal politics, advice that some are not heeding to.
It has put into the question the seriousness of Darboe’s party to address the messages with mostly very light statements distancing the party from the comments.
“The thought that UDP is a Mandinka party is groundless, malicious, and untrue. But I know that Gambians would never listen to these ignorant comments,” Darboe said.
“UDP is made up of people from many tribes. Even our leadership is. We have the majority in the National Assembly and they are from different constituencies and tribes.”
Darboe was speaking at a small rally in Bundung, in the Kanifing Municipality, where the MP Bakary Njie funded the construction of a wooden walk bridge that the UDP leader was inaugurating.
The veteran politician and lawyer again warned supporters not to engage in any provocation, reminding them that such may amount to breaking the law.
“Even when they curse my mother, please ignore and walk away. What we at UDP will be doing is just to work to keep this country moving forward,” he told the cheering crowd.
UDP MP Alhagie Darboe had strongly condemned one the party’s supporters for inciting genocide. Darboe, however, has not addressed directly such incitement from his party’s supporters.
The UDP is currently the Gambia’s biggest political party after two decades of being the biggest opposition to Yahya Jammeh’s regime.
The party has won an absolute majority in the Parliament in the April elections, making it the largest stakeholder in the country’s coalition government, in which Mr. Darboe is the Minister of Foreign Affairs.