President Adama Barrow has sent a strong message to the United Democratic Party (UDP) membership and its leadership about his unshaken resolve and determination to represent the party in the upcoming 2021 Presidential elections. Mr. Barrow, who was addressing the party’s leadership over the weekend, has ruled out the possibility of him stepping aside from the Presidency—not to mention to give way or allow any UDP member or leader to lead the party anytime soon. He advised the party’s membership to forget about replacing him saying that “we can only have one President at a time, and the UDP, has a President in the person of Adama Barrow.” Barrow warned that any attempt to replace him, would amount to betrayal of the highest order, as he ruled out the option of the UDP party, electing a leader in the upcoming Congress scheduled for December.
Mr. Barrow’s bombshell statement, followed reports that he has started inducing UDP Chairmen, Chairwomen, and MPS ahead of the December Congress. Some of the party’s local representatives were given D5,000 dalasis each, while the MPS were given D10,000 dalasis each.
Mr. Barrow defended his action saying that there is nothing wrong for him to compensate the hardworking UDP local leaders, whom he described as the most dedicated members of the party over the years. He said the party’s local reps have been working for free all these years and giving them a remuneration will only demonstrate how he appreciated their services to the UDP Party.
In a condescending statement punctuated with applauses from his base, Barrow remarked that he has done everything within his means since he ascended to the Presidency about two years ago, to ensure that the UDP membership and its leadership were fairly represented in his government. He cited the appointment of Ousainou Darboe as the Vice President, Mariam Denton Jack as Speaker of the National Assembly, and the other key UDP appointments he made in the government.
“The UDP as a party lacks nothing in this government. You have a President, Vice President, Speaker of the National Assembly, and key positions in the government. What else do you want? You do not need another President. You already had one,” Barrow remarked in the Mandinka local dialect.
“Sitting Presidents do not go to for Convention. Even in the United States of America, which is the bastion of democracy, a sitting President do not go for Convention. The other opposition parties can seek to oppose me in the coming elections, but I do not think it is appropriate for the UDP to seek to replace its own President. What we should preoccupied ourselves is to ensure that we have a UDP government that will last for the next 15 years. You already had a President and I am your President. I am also the President for the supporters of the opposition and all Gambians,” Barrow added.
The political theater and drama are happening while the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and his colleagues are away from the country, attending a conference in Norway. He has been accompanied by Trade Minister Amadou Sanneh. Sanneh is a high-ranking member of the UDP.
Darboe was seemingly lured into attending a conference organized by some group of Gambians in Oslo, while Barrow and his team delivered their political bombshell in his absence. Darboe is yet to make a formal reaction to President Barrow’s declaration.
Though, his supporters have since taken to social media, decrying Barrow’s latest move to self-perpetuate himself in power. There is division within the UDP party, which claimed to have formed the majority in Barrow’s government.
Sounding confident, and categorical in his desire to remain in power for the long term, President Barrow, also urged the UDP supporters to remain united and support his Presidency. He also admonished the UDP base to ignore divisive characters bent on peddling misleading information to confuse and divide the party’s membership. He said such folks are up to no good.
Mr. Barrow also recalled the challenges the UDP party faced while Baba Kajali Jobe was alive. He said some of the party’s MPS had to lose their seats in Jarra and in some areas in Kiang—thanks to Jobe’s style of politicking.
For Barrow, he thinks that the UDP membership and its leadership, should be appreciative of what he has done for the party since he was voted into office and not to behave otherwise. He made it categorically clear to those at the meeting that he can only accept a Presidential challenger from the opposition and not within the UDP.
UDP Member of Parliament Sanna Jawara over the weekend criticized President Barrow for allegedly bribing some UDP MPS ahead of the December Congress. He accused The Gambian leader of lowering the barometer of Gambia’s new Found Democracy.
Meanwhile, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has written to all registered political parties in the country, asking them to organize Congress before December. Parties leaders have confirmed to the Freedom Newspaper about the existence of such communication from the IEC.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai