UDP and the New Gambia: A tale of missed opportunities
By Sainey Darboe
It’s been a sustained parade of screw-ups by the leader of the United Democratic Party, Ousainou Darboe, whose long-cherished dream of becoming president of The Gambia seems to be in comfort care.
This is by no means an act of suicide by the veteran politician and veteran victim of two incumbents. By his own volition, Ousainou Darboe doesn’t come across to me as someone who suffers from suicidal ideations. But he is, by all objective metrics, committing suicide on national television.
The stinging dearth of polished policy mavens and sophisticated aides to steer him through the treacherous and complex terrain of politics in the modern era has long been a concern to consummate politicos.
His recent registration of an official page on Facebook was supposed to open a chapter on new beginnings. In fact, a new beginning it was. But not the one his loyalists had in mind: It’s the beginning of the end.
Instead of getting him prepared to make pronouncements in polished and informed fashion on raging matters of the day, he found himself allegedly making disastrous endorsements of the former president Yahya Jammeh, among other electorally perilous issues that have invited skewering in a discerning media environment.
I don’t know if it’s down to cluelessness or arrogance, the UDP social media disciples couched the maiden appearance of their leader in optimistic terms, even though it was an unmitigated disaster.
I’m tempted to chalk it up to what the former U.S President George W Bush once called “the soft bigotry of low expectations”: a form of benign prejudice that sets a low bar for people thought to be inferior.
The old man has been woefully failed by the self-proclaimed know-it-all, deeply narcissistic opportunists who continue to give him flattering reviews on his performance, even as his political stock seems to experience a steep fall despite projection of strength.
Then waltzed in Fatoumatta Jawara with her vitriolic savaging of Darboe during a meeting attended by president Adama Barrow .This was meant to be the best recruiting tool and PR bonanza for UDP. But instead of strategizing and coming up with a fitting response; they let their leader work himself into lather which induced a disastrous meltdown memorialized in video, and widely shared on social media.
Lawyer Darboe has seen enough sorrowful days. Such was the desperation for a lull in political strife he waxed nostalgic about the two-decade tyranny of Jammeh who, unlike president Barrow, didn’t allow people to insult him.
The UDP supreme geniuses could have carefully curated their leader’s intervention to derive political mileage out of it while preserving his reputation, but it was an embarrassing meltdown for Black Moses over the indignities flung at him by Fatoumatta Jawara,of all insignificant citizens.
The United Democratic Party apparatchik are not happy with the resulting media coverage and resorted to releasing a poorly written and error-strewn press release threatening retaliation. It’s a regrettable development from the biggest opposition party in our country. If the band of online militants think they can make a rocket ride to the presidency in 2021 on the back of arrogance and incompetence, they will be warming the opposition bench for a long time.
The math is getting away from the UDP. The arrogance and willful display of ignorance, as well as lack of political finesse will make capturing the presidency in 2021 a lay-up for President Adama Barrow whose rule has proven considerably calamitous on many levels.
Sainey Darboe is a US-based journalist and writes for Fatu Network. The views expressed in the article are personal.
Editors note: The author’s views do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. The UDP, in a statement today, has denied reports suggesting that its leader Ousainou Darboe, made a remark purporting that he (Darboe) had regretted Barrow’s replacement of dictator Yahya Jammeh. The party has also debunks claims that Darboe had endorsed Jammeh over Barrow during his speech. Thanks for your kind attention.