The Leader of Gambia’s United Democratic Party Ousainou Darboe has called on President Adama Barrow to step down from power at the end of his three years transition rule, which is due to expire in December of 2019. Darboe made the call on Wednesday during a press conference, in which he presented his party’s position on the Coalition government 2016 agreement. In the said agreement, Barrow had promised to run a three-year transitional government after which he was not supposed to take part in future elections.
The UDP Leader Ousainou Darboe began his address by citing the agreement that was reached to form an opposition merger prior to the 2016 Presidential elections.
“UDP urges all the parties to the 2016 coalition agreement particularly its principal beneficiary, President Adama Barrow to be faithful to the terms and conditions of the 2016 coalition agreement and to also fulfil his promise to The Gambian electorates that if elected he will serve for a term of three years only and step down to supervise free, fair and transparent presidential elections,” Darboe remarked.
President Adama Barrow came to power in December of 2016 after defeating President Yahya Jammeh. He was backed by six opposition parties.
Barrow has been accused of consolidating himself into power; with the formation of his Youth Movement and fans club. He had also parted company with his former UDP party colleagues, the party that backed him to contest as an independent Presidential candidate.
Three UDP officials, have been sacked from his cabinet including former Vice President Ousainou Darboe. Ambassadors associated with the UDP were also purged from his regime.
“Given the sequential nature of these commitments, there is substantial performance of the coalition 2016 agreement by the parties and there are no reasons to fail or refuse to perform the fourth and last condition that is the candidate of the coalition 2016 will resign after the end of his three years transition,” he added.
Darboe notes that if Barrow fails to step down from power come December, that would only expose Barrow’s lack of honesty, principles, and integrity. He added Barrow was voted into office based on his own campaign promises. He warns that if Barrow should walk back from his own promises to electorate, that would suggest that he doesn’t a second term in office.
Darboe says his party has no links or support for the three years “jotna” movement, which is threatening to organize a protest march in December. The group has vowed to compel President Barrow to step down from power.
“We are asking Barrow to fulfill his promises he made to the Gambian electorates. We’re not asking anybody to go out and protest. We UDP don’t believe we should ask anybody to go and protest,” said Darboe.
Saihou Mballow is a Deputy Youth Adviser for President Adama Barrow. Mballow thinks that Darboe’s statement is misguided.
“I am disappointed by Ousainou Darboe’s statement for the fact that Ousainou Darboe was the very one, who stood here in front of the whole world and said that whoever challenge the five year term; constitutional term of President Adama Barrow, he would take the person to court. And is the same Ousainou Darboe today, who has changed his coat and he is the one telling Gambians that President Barrow should serve for three years, which is unconstitutional,” Mballow told this medium.
Mballow says he is now convinced that Ousainou Darboe is part of the three years jotna movement. Mballow says President Barrow’s five years mandate would be defended by Gambians. He warns that any attempt to destabilize the country would not be accepted. He vowed that they are determined to die for the Gambia come what may.
He also says Darboe’s pronouncement to ask Barrow to step down was motivated by greed.
“ He was receiving a flat salary from the government; from President Adama Barrow; that salary is no longer there; Darboe is frustrated; now he thinks that the only way he can get back salary is to remove President Adama Barrow undemocratically; unlawfully and also disrespect the constitution of this country,” Mballow added.