Written by Pa Nderry M’Bai
Gambia’s main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has cautioned the opposition APRC to be careful and avoid becoming a victim of President Barrow’s betrayal schemes saying that “Barrow is not a partner to be trusted.” The UDP said “it strongly supports the principles of freedom of association, including the rights of political parties to forge alliances as they see fit, however, we believe that the NPP-APRC Alliance is borne out of expediency at the expense of the Gambian people’s aspirations for justice and reconciliation.”
The UDP had a fallout with Barrow in 2018. This followed a power struggle that they had with their former coalition partner Barrow, a person Darboe often calls “Barrow is our Barrow.” Darboe and three UDP cabinet ministers were sacked, dozens of UDP diplomats who were hired under the recommendations of Mr. Darboe were recalled.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the UDP had this message for the APRC party:
“We caution the APRC supporters and sympathizers that this is just a gimmick by President Barrow and his cohorts to seduce them to vote for him. He has no power or intention to deliver on his promises. He is not a partner to be trusted. Any person or institution that takes President Barrow’s promise or pledge does so at his/her peril,” said the UDP.
“Ordinary citizens and victims alike have been understandably flabbergasted by the decision of President Barrow to forge an alliance before the legitimate process of the TRRC has been completed,” the statement added.
The UDP has accused Barrow of betraying the victims of dictator Yahya Jammeh’s rule. The party isn’t convince that under Barrow’s rule, Jammeh’s victims would receive justice.
“This Alliance demonstrates that President Barrow has no moral qualms, no understanding or appreciation of the raison d’etre of the democratic forces coming together to end the dictatorship of former President Jammeh. He lacks empathy for the many victims of Yahya Jammeh’s repressive rule and the sacrifices made to usher in a transition to democratic dispensation,” the UDP claimed.
Just like the Constitutional review process and the Janneh Commission, the statement went on, President Barrow, has proved that he has no respect for either constitutional or legal processes established by the Gambian people for justice, peace and reconciliation to prevail in this country.
“If the utterances of a key stakeholder in the Alliance is anything to go by, then in blatant abuse of his powers as president of this country, the President has put himself above the will of the Gambian people by undermining the TRRC and again showing that he has neither interest nor respect for the outcome of the TRRC,” the party posited.
Now that an APRC/NPP alliance has been formed, the UDP contends that the upcoming TRRC report might suffer the fate of other commissions whose reports were thrown in the trash bin.
“President Barrow’s lack of political will to implement recommendations proffered by the Janneh Commission, the Faraba Commission, and the Constitutional Review Commission as well as the concerted efforts to derail the adoption of a new, progressive constitution and to undermine the TRRC process clearly shows that he is not fit for office,” said the UDP.
“The United Democratic Party has, since its inception in 1996, upheld the principles of democracy, justice, and inclusivity in all its activities and outlook. It has consistently made a distinction between supporters of the APRC and the regime that perpetrated unspeakable human rights violations and economic crimes in The Gambia. This distinction should catalyze National Reconciliation and Unification,” the statement concludes.