Gambia’s most outspoken firebrand politician and Transitional government Agriculture Minister Omar Amadou Jallow, has branded the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), as the country’s main divisive and polarizing force hell bent on undermining the historic political change, which sent dictator Yahya Jammeh packing, saying the UDP and its leadership are only concerned about their party’s interest and not the overwhelming interest of the very people, who championed the political change.  OJ even accuses the UDP of being an enemy of change adding that the ongoing efforts orchestrated by Mr. Darboe and his party to sway from the coalition’s set political goal and agenda clearly manifests the party’s sheer power political greed. He said the UDP is a divisive isolationist party, which is  not interested in the well being of Gambians. Mr. Jallow, was speaking yesterday at a political rally held in Latrikunda Yerringana. Mr. Jallow publicly called out Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the UDP, and the UDP party structure, branding them as bunch of interest power driven political hacks, who puts party interest ahead of national interest.

OJ went as far as accusing the UDP of trying to undermine the presidency of president Adama Barrow, adding that without a coalition dominated house, Barrow’s presidency would be on the line. He accuses the UDP of trying to delegitimize Barrow’s presidency at the expense of party interest. Barrow, he said, has resigned from the UDP to contest as an independent candidate. Therefore, he opines that it amounts to betrayal of trust, confidence, treachery, political sheer greed, if the UDP should sponsor party members as MPS. 

OJ, as he is fondly called, never minces his position on the ongoing opposition stalemate to adopt a unified stance in selecting National Assembly Members ahead of the April polls. The UDP, NRP, and the GMC said they preferred a party sponsored candidates based on tactical alliance—which is diametrically opposed to camp OJ, Halifa, and co’s position on the impasse. Mr. Jallow and his colleagues are in support of a coalition sponsored independent candidates. OJ said that was what the coalition agreed upon while Ousainou Darboe was in jail. Hence, which led to Barrow’s resignation from the UDP. As it stands, Barrow is an independent president representing the coalition government and not the UDP, he said. Therefore, OJ argues that it doesn’t make any sense for Darboe and co to be blatantly disruptive with their party sponsored candidates agenda. 

OJ referenced Senegal, under the leadership of president Macky Sallah, as a bastion of democratic rule, in which the opposition were able to come together to unseat former president Abdoulie Wade. He said the opposition alliance which defeated Wade is still ruling Senegal. But in the Gambia, he said, Darboe and the UDP, want to wreck the ship of state by promoting their own political agenda at the expense of the masses. 

Renewing his bashing of the UDP, while being cheered by his supporters at a well-attended political rally, OJ, said the UDP should be grateful to the coalition arguing that without the sacrifice and tireless efforts of Gambians, Ousainou Darboe would have still been perishing at the donjon of the mosquitoes infested mile two prisons.  

“When Ousainou Darboe, was in prison, his party officials witnessed our discussions and meetings. Dembo Bye Force, Alahige Darboe, and co used to attend our meetings. We all agreed for a three year transition government if elected. Now that we are elected, the UDP is playing games. The UDP is not acting right. What the UDP is doing is not right. The UDP should be thankful to God and the alliance. Without the coalition, Ousainou Darboe, would have been in jail up till now. That’s the naked truth. UDP is hell bent on undermining the peace and stability of this country without their divisive politics. UDP is not acting in the best interest of the Gambian public. The public interest supersedes party interest,” OJ said.

Mr. Jallow recalled the amount of persecution he suffered under Jammeh’s rule. He said he is ready to die for the Gambia adding that the UDP’s quest to muddy the well fought political struggle to liberate our country from dictatorship at the expense of an individual or the UDP interest, should not be accepted. He called on Gambians to vote massively for the coalition candidates and not divisive parties such as the UDP.

“I am here for the Gambia. I have been born here; raised here, and I will die here. Without The Gambia, there wouldn’t be PPP, there wouldn’t be UDP, NCP, PDOIS, and GPDP. Then why are forgetting about the public interest to pursue trivial party interest?  The Gambia is bigger than all these parties combined. Where is the late Pierre Njie? Back in the days, if he conducts a meeting at this bantaba, no one cooks lunch that day. I was young then. Where is Jahumpa? Where is Sheriff Dibba? Where is JC Faye? They are all gone. Where is Gambia? The Gambia is still here,” OJ remarked in the wollof dialect, as his party supporters applauded him.

“Let us be careful. We should be mindful of our actions and put the interest of the nation ahead of party or personal interest. I want to seize this opportunity to reach out to the Gambian women. You mothered us. You do not want to born kids and see them to suffer. We have suffered enough under Jammeh’s twenty two years repressive rule. Such a misrule will never happen in this country again,” he added.

OJ, who is the leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) told his supporters that there is an infighting in the coalition government. He accuses the UDP of trying to disrupt the coalition’s political agenda by pursuing UDP’s party interest.

“We are yet to get to anywhere, and there is an infighting among us. It is evident all over the place. Something is not right. We should demonstrate to you the electorate that we are responsible people. We will not allow anyone to propagate self-perpetual rule here again,” he posited.

According to OJ, the opposition’s looming disintegration would only embolden parties such as the GMC and the APRC. He warns his colleagues to forget about party or individualistic interest and work towards the collective interest of Gambians.

“If the Coalition is engulfed into an infighting, Mama Kandeh will be emboldened. The APRC would be emboldened if we are engage in infighting. That’s a shame to us the coalition leaders. People trusted us; that is why people have voted us into office. We cannot shatter the hopes and aspirations of the Gambian people because of a single party or an individual interest. Power belongs to the people. I am pleading with you: Whoever comes to you, trying to promote party interest ahead of the National Assembly elections, tell him or her that we are in support of a coalition candidate and not party led candidate. Please tell them we will vote for a coalition candidate and not candidates sponsored by political parties.  Once that’s done, we will accomplish whatever plans we envisaged for this country,” said OJ.

OJ also deplored any form of selective justice perpetrated by the current government. He said justice should not only be done, but seen to be done.

“If Yahya Jammeh was back in this country today, and he doesn’t have somewhere to live, I will pick him from the airport and house him at my home. I am not ashame to say this. I am not afraid to say what I am saying. I will receive Jammeh and house him at my home,” he said.

“Talking about holding people accountable, people who partake in slaughtering a Tobaski ram; those who held the ram’s leg, throat, and the butcher are all killers. Yahya Jammeh was aided by our loved ones and relatives to perpetrate the atrocities that he was waging against our people. We all know that.  Hummm.. Yahya Jammeh is not my relative, and it is okay to punish Jammeh, and spare your relative, who has been found culpable of aiding and abetting Jammeh over the years? That’s not right. If we are going to pardon people; we should pardon everyone or else we should punish everyone. And if we are to punish everyone; our homes would be teared apart. Does it worth it? Then let us forgive… We should not forget about what happened in the past. If we do; we risk facing a replica of what occurred during Jammeh’s rule. That’s why the west kept reminding its people about Adolf Hitler.  Gambia is a small country. We are all interrelated. We should be each others brothers’ keepers. We should even reach out to the APRC and have them on our side. If God can forgive after wronging him; why can’t we forgive each other,” OJ concluded.

Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai


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