Lamin Cham, the outgoing United Democratic Party National Youth President, has said that he is not aware of any sitting President, who has vacated his office after finishing his first term mandate. Cham, who is seeking for re-election in today’s UDP Congress, was speaking in an interview with the online Kerr Fatou Brunch Program.
“ I am not aware of any sitting President, who has vacated his office after serving his first term in office, with the exception of the late President Nelson Mandela. He is the only person, who has served for one term and he steps down. He is the only person that I can remember in my entire life, for having served for one term and he vacated the Presidency,” Cham remarked.
“Naturally, everyone, would expect a sitting President to seek for a second term after finishing his first term mandate. That’s natural, because there is no president that I have seen who would only serve for one term and say I am stepping down. Nelson Mandela is the only person, who has done that to the best of my knowledge,” he added.
Mr. Cham said the decision for Adama Barrow to run for a second term, is entirely that of Mr. Barrow’s own prerogative. “That decision is left to him. If he decides to run for a second term; that’s fine. I cannot decide for anybody,” he said.
Mr. Cham is a Personal Assistant to President Adama Barrow. His prospects of being re-elected as UDP’s National Youth President, continues to hang on the balance. The party is amending its constitution. The proposed amendment will bar public servants from becoming members of the UDP Executive.
The new changes will be adopted at Sunday’s Congress. It is not clear if the proposed membership requirement changes will come into effect retroactively. It is also not clear if it will affect the current serving members of Barrow’s government.
If it does, then Ousainou Darboe, Lamin Ndambou Dibba, Dembo By Force and others, will not qualify to serve in the new Executive, unless they planned to resign from Barrow government come Monday.
Lamin Cham is among the most despised Barrow surrogates at the State House. He has been blamed for the current division within the UDP party.
But Cham has denied any division within the UDP, while talking to journalist Lamin Cham. He said folks with hidden agenda are the ones trafficking divisive messages against the UDP.
“So many things have been said about me. The people bashing me are outsiders. They have their own agenda. UDP is one. The President has said it in other platforms. There is no division. People are entitled to their opinions,” Cham remarked.
“We should remain united. I am advocating for one UDP family. Darboe is our father. He is our leader,” he said.
Mr. Cham also talked about his past election as UDP National President. He said he was somehow forced by the party’s membership to fill the position during the past UDP Congress. He said two weeks after he was elected into office, Solo Sandeng and co, got arrested by the NIA. Days later, he said, his party leader Ousainou Darboe and co were also arrested for organizing a peaceful demonstration.
Cham said he even had to resign from his job to attend to the demanding UDP court cases and party errands. It reached a point that he was warned to leave the country by an NIA officer, or risked being killed. Cham never heeded to the NIA officer’s call for him to leave the country.
This followed, a fitting response he made during a UDP rally against Jammeh’s tirades against the Mandinka ethnic group.
“The house I was living in Bundung, was next to the NIA station. I was told that if I don’t vacate the house, I risked being abducted and killed, but I refused to be intimidated. I stayed in that house and continued to go about my business,” he said.