Darboe: “Barrow Is Our Prodigal Son”

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Darboe: “Barrow Is Our Prodigal Son” 

Editor Mbai,

I watched Lawyer Darboe’s interview regarding the demise of the Draft Constitution and the “Prodigal Son” comment stood out for me. Prodigal can mean “reckless”, wasteful” and “extravagant”, but I think Lawyer Darboe meant it in the warm biblical sense of a “lost” son who in the end returns to the loving arms of his father. The “lost” son is special. The fact that Lawyer Darboe had in 2017 used the term “Our Moses” to describe Barrow supports my view that deep down there still exists a warmth between the father and son – inspite of the battle for the Presidency that had separated them and still continues to separate them (probably with vengeance in the 2021 election year).

On the subject of Lawyer Darboe’s interview, the Draft Constitution, he promised that a UDP Government in 2022 will ensure that the Draft is sent to the electorate in a Referendum. (Lawyer Darboe is sure that UDP will win the 2021 election, just as I vividly remember that he was absolutely sure that the UDP would win the 2001, 2006 and 2011 election!).

Lawyer Darboe said that “only incapacity, ill-health, death or de-selection by the UDP” would prevent him from contesting the 2021 election. The assembled reporters did not raise the fact that the Supreme Court had refused to quash Lawyer Darboe’s Jammeh-Era conviction (which on moral grounds are no different from Nelson Mandela’s convictions and should have been quashed). From a legal point, the non-quashing of Lawyer Darboe’s conviction by the Supreme Court (and the Tax-Avoidance matter which I think the Supreme Court also refused to quash) means that the Independent Electoral Commission will bar Lawyer Darboe from contesting the 2021 elections. If the Draft Constitution had been passed it would have allowed Lawyer Darboe to contest the 2021 elections (so he does have a personal interest there, although it is one which aligns with a national-healing moral interest ala Mandela as above).

A reporter asked Lawyer Darboe about vacating the UDP leadership for a younger person and Lawyer Darboe said: “The younger people will have a chance to contest for party leadership in December”. That is a bit disingenuous because no younger member of the UDP will challenge Lawyer Darboe! But it does make sense for Lawyer Darboe to think about giving way to some of his highly regarded younger leaders, such as the Kanifing Mayor, that MP Sanna Jawara and that nominated/un-nominated Lawyer Jaiteh lady … just incase the IEC bars him from contesting come 2021. If he leaves the emergence of a new UDP candidate too late there may not be enough time for the electorate to get to know the new leader.

Lawyer Darboe did take ownership of the Draft Constitution – he said it was one of the ideas that he took to “development Partners” in 2017 and the EU decided to support it. But, he argued, it is now Barrow’s baby and NPP members and Barrow supporters had no clue what they were doing when “jubilating” over the demise of Barrow’s own Draft Constitution.

Still on the Draft Constitution and the term-limit, why would we believe ANY leader who says that they will limit their time in power? Afterall, President Barrow promised to serve for three years – and now objects to the Draft Constitution limiting him to 10 years! Why would we not expect President darboe or President Halifa Sallah not to remain in the Presidency “for life” as most African Presidents do? (Afterall, Darboe has been President of the UDP for 25 years and Halifa Sallah has been President of PDOIS for 35 years!).

Finally, the interview seems to have been held in Lawyer Darboe’s home with people milling around everywhere. This had a warm family home feeling with people jostling around “Grandpa”, but it detracted from what should have been a solemn and sombre occasion. I enjoyed it though.

Dida Jallow-Halake,

Nottin Hill, London.

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