Gambia – The 2016 United Democratic Congress closed at the weekend, with party leader Ousainou Darboe telling delegates that a firm foundation for change in Gambia has been laid. The three-day congress, which was held in Basse in the Upper River Region of Gambia, ended on a high note as delegates congratulated the new leadership. The congress started on Friday, April 1, with hundreds of delegates in attendance. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe was unanimous elected as the party’s secretary general and flag bearer for Gambia’s general election coming up in December.
When giving his opening remarks, Darboe told delegates that “a lot has happened to our party and to the country since our last congress in Soma.” According to him also, “the situation of our country is deplorable. This is due to the misguided policies of the Jammeh administration that continues to wreak havoc on the population.”
Darboe explained that prices of commodities have gone up and this has not been accompanied by a commensurate rise in salaries and other income. “As a result, the level of poverty has risen to the chagrin desolation of the average Gambian. The 2016 budget has seen unjustified increase in government expenditure, particularly in defence and office of the President whilst the social services such as health, education and agriculture benefited from meagre increases,” he said.
Darboe noted further that the inability of the Jammeh administration to make satisfactory arrangements for the equitable and timely purchase of the groundnut produce, the lack of other production avenues for farmers, the non-existence of employment opportunities for youths, the gradual collapse of our private sector, the non-existence of viable small and medium scale enterprises, have all impoverished the country and make life extremely difficult for the average person.
“Admittedly, we have learnt to live with the vicissitudes of politics but when outlandish developments are experienced within the body politic of the nation, there is absolute cause for alarm,” Darboe said, adding: “The canker-worms that are crawling from within the body politic of this nation risk embroiling us all in a quagmire of constitutional and political crisis of proportions hitherto unknown. The incessant conflicts with Senegal, leading to the devastating border closure is not only disturbing but disastrous for our already tattered economy.”
Written By Our Correspondent