By Zakaria Kemo Konteh
Few days ago, we were united in outrage, shock and disappointment when UDP gave a mega phone and national platform to a disgraced Lawyer and an alleged human rights violator under former Yahya Jammeh’s terror regime, Lamin AMS Jobarteh, at their Sarujah rally. The outburst of condemnation was swift, blistering and deafening. It was understandably genuine and sincere born out of concerns for and sensitivity of victims of alleged perpetrators like Lawyer Jobarteh. Guided by conscience, principles and values, we drew a Moral Red Line and asked UDP to do the right thing.
UDP Party Leader and Secretary General, Hon Lawyer Darboe, yesterday issued a statement and,in it, took full and unconditional responsibility for the lapse of judgment on his part, expressed apology to victims and Gambians and reassured the public of his and UDP’s unwavering position on accountability and justice. He described human rights violations as not only against the laws of the land but against the very foundation and mantra of the United Democratic Party.
In taking these steps, Hon Darboe has uniquely demonstrated personal humility, responsible leadership and admirable courage – a set of traits that has eluded many politicians of our time. We commend Lawyer Darboe and UDP for recognizing both the weight and sincerity of our criticisms and not dismiss them as partisan banter and hatred as often the case from various political quarters. In so doing, United Democratic Party Set a moral precedence that move the bar higher for other politicians who hide behind confusion, deception, high sounding words, ultra-partisanship, delusional feeling of infallibility and flawlessness to avoid taking responsibility for their commissions, omissions and errors of judgment.
Moving on, I expect all of us to show the same or similar level of unity and energy in going after President Barrow for ruining the remaining fabrics of our society. The President and his team are making coordinated and relentless frontal assault on our social cohesion by being agents, promoters and cheer leaders of tribalism and division. Statements bullhorned and entertained at Barrow’s tax -payer funded rallies are not only a weak, hollow, cheap and desperate political low-blows but are a reminder of lurking dangers we face as a country post December elections. President Barrow cannot campaign for his second term on the platform of division, insults and fear and expect to preside over a united , secure and prosperous nation after securing the term. As citizens of conscience and values, it is our responsibility to confront these dark elements and stop them by denying them the votes and honor of serving in our high offices. Anything short of that will have irreparably catastrophic consequences for the future of our country.