Written by Pa Nderry M’Bai

A Gambian political observer has warned that the defeat of Ousainou Darboe, the leader of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), in the forthcoming Presidential elections would mark as Darboe’s political obituary and an end to the UDP party. “Honestly this is it for Darboe.  A defeat in the post December that will be his political obituary because that will be the end of a long ride, that will be the end of a long ride to cap his Presidential aspirations. I think that is it.  I think that is it. So, I think they would leave nothing in time in December as far as Darboe is concerned, I think, and knowing that this is the end of a long road, it is “gonna” be the end of a long road if he is defeated. I am not saying that that is what is “gonna” happen, but if he is defeated, that’s “gonna” be the end of it,” Musa Bassadi Jawara, a Gambian political observer told Freedom radio Gambia’s Sunday Leral show in an exclusive interview.


Mr. Jawara, who is a renowned economist by profession, and also the nephew of the late post Gambian President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, further noted that Darboe’s political future entirely rests in the outcome of the December 4th Presidential elections. He also says Darboe’s defeat would lead to the tearing apart of the UDP; hence he notes that the December polls is a litmus test for Darboe and the UDP.

“Once Darboe is defeated, that is “gonna” be the case, then UDP is not “gonna” stand as  we know it today because you have several fractions in that party, several Presidential, people with multitude of persons, personalities, who are aspiring to be President. I think Darboe is the only glue to that party right now, once that is out of it, once he is out of there, I think that is the end of UDP, as we know it,” Jawara told me in a phone interview on Saturday, on the line to Guinea Conakry.

Our Editor then put it to him: Political obituary for Darboe, that is a very powerful statement. So, you are saying that  supposed Darboe is defeated, that is the end game for Darboe politically in The Gambia?

In response Jawara doubled down on his earlier statement: “Of course, I think not only the end of it, but realistically what do you expect by a 70 plus old guy to do after for another five years, do you think he is “gonna” run? Is not possible.  I think that will be the end of UDP as we know it if that is the case, that’s why I think the other group, that is Barrow’s and Barrow’s group know it, they know it.  They know it, they know that this is it. If they can defeat Darboe in December, the next five years, that would be a gate walk, the next five years would be cable for them. But if they can defeat him now, that will be the end of, not only the end of Darboe only, but would be the end of UDP, it must be transformed into fractionating columns, it has to break into fractionating columns, that would be a political oblivion, and that would be the end of Darboe, as we know it. Yeah, I will say that you can quote me on that.”

“Just wanted to add that Darboe had a unique chance back in 2017 when he had absolute influence over President Barrow to help solve some of the pressing issues affecting the country …. such as deplorable healthcare facilities and prime among them maternity wards I emphasized in an opinion piece yesterday . Darboe and his UDP cohorts ignored all this for the sake of politics and the main reason being he wanted to be president and nothing else matters ! The country is now paying the price and Barrow cannot be blamed singularly for this,” he added.

Mr. Jawara isn’t convinced by the UDP five point manifesto campaign agenda. He described it as unrealistic. He says the party hasn’t clearly explained where it would get funds to finance such a program. He noted that The Gambia is a heavily indebted country, and it would be a miracle for the UDP to fulfill such a promise if elected.

Jawara cited the failure of the National Development Plan (NDP) , which he says was the baby of the UDP. Therefore, Jawara says it is a joke for the same party to try to hoodwink Gambians by coming up with such an unrealistic development agenda.

Jawara is of the view that the reelection of Barrow into office is better for the country, than having a UDP led government.

“If Barrow can change his ways, adhere to certain disciplines, economic and putting some decency in some policy issues, I think he might even be in a better position to steer the country in the next five years than any other party because he is already there, he is already in position and he already in relations with governments like Senegal and the sub-region. But to have  new guys coming in, it means you have to, what do you expect, you “gonna” have a completely change over, that is going to take time, it is “gonna” take time before you would institute economic policies and those policies are going to resonate results, forget it, it is “gonna” take, it is “gonna” take time,” Jawara noted.

Jawara says a UDP government is likely going to be chaotic and wouldn’t bring in any meaningful change and development. He says UDP’s past record in governance clearly shows that the party doesn’t have anything reliable to offer.

Jawara has also commented on Essa Faal’s Presidential bid, the post July 22nd coup that had sent his late uncle Sir Dawara Kairaba Jawara into exile. For more on the story, please tune in to our prime time Leral show.

Join The Conversation