The United Democratic Party (UDP) Congress kicks off today in The Gambia. The Congress will run throughout the weekend. Voting is expected to be done on Sunday. One hundred and sixty (1,060) delegates are eligible to vote. There will be twenty (20) delegates from each constituency who will be voting come on Sunday.
There are thirty-three elective positions during Sunday’s voting. Ousainou Darboe, the outgoing Secretary General and Leader of the UDP, has put up his candidature for today’s Congress. So far, no one has announced his or her interest of opposing Darboe. Darboe is likely going to go unopposed.
Mr. Darboe, a renowned Gambian lawyer, remains as the UDP leader since its inception. The party was founded in 1996.
Mariam B Secka, AKA Aji Yam Secka, who happens to be the outgoing UDP Deputy Secretary General and Deputy Party Leader, is also vying for the same position. Like Ousainou Darboe, Ms. Secka too, is likely to going to run unopposed.
There are few new faces vying for UDP Executive positions in this year’s Congress. Ablie Suku Singhateh, a former APRC Member of Parliament and Tombong Saidy, a former GRTS Managing Director, have both expressed interest in assuming leadership positions at the UDP. Suku Singhateh wants to be elected National Organizing Secretary for the UDP, while Tombong Saidy, wants to serve as the party’s Admin Secretary for External Affairs.
President Adama Barrow will be away from the country while the Congress is underway. He is attending a conference in Egypt.
Mr. Barrow is a former member of the UDP Executive. He resigned from the party to lead seven opposition parties, including an independent candidate to challenge dictator Yahya Jammeh in the 2016 elections. He emerged as the winner of that election.
It is not clear if Mr. Barrow was invited to attend the UDP Congress, but reports have it that Barrow is on the verge of registering a political party. He is likely going to part company with his political Godfather Ousainou Darboe, sources said.
Mr. Darboe is Gambia’s Vice President and Women’s Affairs Minister. He previously occupied the portfolio of Foreign Affairs Minister before he was appointed Vice President by Adama Barrow.