Sunday, June 23, 2024

OPINION: United Democratic Party (UDP) needs to reform

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OPINION

By: Musa Bassadi Jawara

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This was a turbulent week in Gambian politics. The president in the provinces ranting and vociferously denigrating political opponents on one hand, the UDP issuing statements denouncing President Barrow and vowing to take action on the other. It’s a circus-like atmosphere while the country is mired in abject poverty.

It’s my optics that President Barrow’s remarks were not illegal, as unstatesmanlike as they may be, they were still within the realms of free speech per 1997 Constitution. In the interest of fairness and consistency, I wrote about ad hominem attacks the President directed at the UDP leader, for the records. And not only that I wrote repeatedly in the past several weeks for the president to intervene in the State versus Yankuba Darboe (BAC Chairman) court case and withdraw it. In my opinion, the UDP executive left much to be desired to engage the President for dialogue and the ECOWAS judiciary system for common grounds in the matter.

It was very early on in the Barrow administration when things were off course and very few bothered to sound the alarm … the usual nonchalant Gambian way. It’s now after the fact and the only way forward for peaceful coexistence is through dialogue and respect for law and order. The citizenry must adhere to the former and the President must stick to the principles of the rule of law to the letter without infinitesimal deviation.

I opposed the UDP for the hollowness and vapidity of campaign strategy and tactics in utilizing the huge political capital they possessed. When one criticizes in the interest of national development, it must be judicious and anchored in fairness.

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According to the late Waa Juwara, Gambian opposition
are part-timers, once elections are over, they are no more. UDP is by far the largest opposition party in the country, they inherited the cocktails of the former ruling party, PPP. Late President Jawara once confided in me that UDP is a composite party and, President Barrow knows how to punch the feelings and emotions of his old party militants into anger and frustration.

There is no foresight: domestic and foreign in the UDP camp. As much as they think President Barrow lacks the prerequisite knowledge to be President, but thus far, he outmaneuvered them in every major political encounter since he assumed the mantle of the presidency in 2017. I was interviewed by the late Pa Ndery Mbaye of Freedom Radio, before the 2021 presidential elections. I was chastised by what I saw then was the plausible & inevitable outcome of the elections, UDP was going to suffer ignominious defeat at the polls. I had irrefutable evidence at hand and, now its history and water under the bridge. The questions UDP as a serious political organization need to answer after December 2021 are legion.

The current leadership of the UDP is incapable of defeating President Barrow at the polls, and they must adjust to the geopolitical realities on the ground. If the UDP party structure remains unchanged and bears the same names or candidates since its formation and debut at the polls in 1996, President Barrow’s victory next time around is all but assured!

Thank you for reading.

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