When a top media personality recently stated that the 2021 Presidential election was going to be a two-horse race between NPP and UDP, she ruffled many thin feathers. But the fact is that she simply stated the raw, solid and incontrovertible truth.
Therefore the December 4, 2021 election is essentially a contest between the incumbent-yet-neophyte National Peoples Party (NPP) and the resilient and battle-rested United Democratic Party (UDP).
Our constitutional combat has been fought and settled. The 2020 draft may not be clinically dead but its situation in coma seems irreversible in the immediate term. Having predicted a brexit-like situation for our constitution-building process, I watched the debate as a spectator and I do respect the views of both the protagonists and opponents of the draft. That is democracy, it does not always give us our perceived best outcomes; and that is why my good friend and erudite Kiangka, Foday Samanteh, says that democracy is messy.
However, what I detest and decry is the cowardly tricks used by the current executive to kill a draft that they themselves championed at the beginning; and then to now start some malicious mediation efforts purportedly aimed at reviving it. It is my view that President Barrow should have come out plain and state his opposition to, and planned abortion of, his own D116 million baby. We will surely need more than mere good luck to revive our ailing draft.
Therefore it is clear that we are going to be guided by the 1997 constitution as we head for the 2021 election; this is President Barrow’s preferred tool to rule us for now.
Like many other Gambians, I will do everything within my means to fight against any envisaged constitutional shenanigans by the current government geared toward using clauses of that 1997 constitution which were inserted by the previous administration purposely to deprive innocent people, who spent their whole lives trying to bring in change, of their rights to contest elections at the highest level.
And thus I warn President Barrow and his team to never dream of attempting to block the nomination of Lawyer Darboe as Presidential candidate in December. Any such attempt will surely end in failure but the collateral damage may be too costly for our nation in transition.
As for those who criticise the UDP’s choice of candidate based on age. My question is: why do you gloss over the age factor as you celebrate the election of 78–year-old Joe Biden in the country you all revere as the Mecca of modern democracy?
Among our critics is a group that does not belong to UDP; neither do they wish us well. Yet they have the audacity to question the wisdom of choosing Lawyer Ousainou Darboe as our Presidential candidate. Our potential detractors now come up with the fatuous argument that they would vote for UDP only if another candidate is chosen, saying “Darboe is the road block”. My response to them would be the Mandingka proverb “wandi konobai yeh e juwo busi” (why should someone else’s diarrhea bruise your anus!)
We know that the candidature of Lawyer Darboe is our best option as a party and we are not oblivious of the downside of such a choice as well. Yet are aware of the fact that the choice of a candidate for any party would come with some downsides. At UDP we are blessed with that realization but we are also emboldened to work hard to mitigate that slight challenge.
What we will never do as a party is to fall victim and be left bereft of the wisdom of the eagle. The eagle knows that the thrust of the opposing wind is a challenge yet the eagle will not shun that wind because it gives it the indispensable thrust against which it’s flight to the skies becomes possible. With that perseverance of the royal bird, we are not bothered about their perceived storms, because that is what we shall need to soar to the heavens.
Lawyer Darboe is the indisputable choice of the real people who mater for the UDP: the ones that will vote for our party. And any democratic process of selecting a Presidential candidate for the UDP will end up with only one outcome: Darboe. He is the most loved and most trusted person in that party right now. Any other person enjoying popularity in that party is just riding the winds of the benevolent wings of Lawyer Darboe.
Adama Barrow is sure to be the unchallenged Presidential candidate of the NPP, to be announced during their planned January 30, congress. The person he is going to face in the ballot arena shall be the UDP’s already declared candidate, His Excellency, the Honourable Alhagie Ousainou Darboe.
Therefore Gambians will be left to choose between a highly qualified intellectual giant and thoroughbred legal luminary, and a mediocre former rent collector with questionable high school credentials. The verdict, come December 5 (the morning after) will be a judgment about the sense of judgment of The Gambian people and which direction this country actually wants to take.
I test my case. God bless The Gambia.