Alagi Yorro Jallow
“For what is wedlock forced but hell,
An age of discord and continual strife
Whereas the contrary bringeth bliss
And is a pattern of celestial peace.”
-William Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI
Fatoumatta: My prayer is that regrets would not be the natural property of grey hairs. I pray that the ravening clouds hanging over the United Democratic Party (UDP) do not cause rainstorms, blow rooftops, and mock aspirations and expectations. What would United Democratic Party(UDP) members be crazy enough to challenge Ousainou Darboe on his ambition for President of the Gambia’s republic under UDP ticket?
Around five years ago, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was asked why he was not stepping down for a younger person. His answer: “How can I go out of a banana plantation I have planted that has started bearing fruits?”
Politicians who gaze forever at their muscles believe they must win all contests no matter how weak their biceps are. They are never too old or too fragile for politics, its money, and its women. They want to die holding the troubled wheel of the ship, the country, and its resources. Those who cannot directly contest for power look for viceroy cripples to put on the throne. I am interested in, and I cannot wait to see how Baa Ousainou Darboe will handle his retirement in 2021.
Ftoumatta: On December 4, 2020, I wrote before the United Democratic Party (UDP) Congress,an article published on December 4, 2020, titled “Democracy of Crowning: Congress of Coronation and the Last Man’ about personalistic leadership challenges of Ousainou Darboe and the UDP” and it reads:
“Opposition leader Ousainou Darboe shall be the sole aspirant at his Party’snational congress. No one dared come out to challenge the lion of Dobo, conqueror of Bansang and Fulladou. He alone is the messiah. There was no one; after him, there will be none before him. The noisemakers, who are they? Who are their parents? Who listened to them? The Gambia of today. Money, power, and politics, Godfatherism, and godsons votes; it does all things. Only the wealthy and the powerful, and tribal lords get to the throne”.
The article added: “By leadership, we mean the ability to shape what followers want to do, not the act of enforcing compliance using rewards and punishments. For the United Democratic Party (UDP) and Baa, Ousainou is simple, he is a Messiah, and “the Gambia’s Nelson Mandela”: “Ala Kulli Haal”- ‘Baa Ousainou Numukunda Darboe’ shall be the Party leader and shall be coronated as the standard-bearer of the United Democratic Party in the incoming United Democratic Party Congress.”
Party (UDP) continues:
“No man born of a woman will contest a party leader’s ticket and standard-bearer of the United Democratic Party (UDP) with Baa Ousainou Darboe. The UDP shall pick the Party’s political beast; moreover, no man, none can beat or contest against Baa Ousainou Numukunda Darboe. The die was cast long, long ago. ‘Darboe Jula Dorong’ And when you look around in war and all you see are broken heads and limbs of otherwise powerful foes, and you will think yourself the ultimate champion in all contests of life”.
“The United Democratic Party (UDP) leadership and party militants felt exactly like that too. They sat so comfortably in government waiting as the country’s main opposition party because Baa Ousainou told them they would reign for unbroken a UDP-led government, “Inshallah,” in the 2021 Presidential election. After all, they boasted about it, their support base, and inherent grassroots politics”.The article lamented:
Fatoumatta: If I were Baa Ousainou Darboe, I would be worried about how to retire from an honorably political career and what history would say before and after the December 4 Presidential election. I would pray more fervently that I would be a senior citizen like Nelson Mandela hand over to a younger successor, an ex-Secretary General of the mighty United Democratic Party(UDP), with honor and pride. I would stop all selfish, self-serving political schemes, save the Party from strifes and hand it over fairer and safer than it was given to him in 1996.
The Public notice was inviting prospective candidates to apply for United Democratic Party( UDP) Presidential Candidate for December 4 election, the already burdened public information to prepare for heavier yokes. The general statement dated March 27, 2021, was signed by Senior Administrative Secretary Alhagie S. Darbo, and it read as follows:
“The United Democratic Party (UDP) hereby notifies the general public that Party’s Central Committee is inviting applications for the position of the Party’s Presidential Candidate for the upcoming Presidential election slated for December 4, 2021”.
Fatoumatta: I heard and remembered a grandchild of the biblical King David who supervised his father’s kingdom’s disintegration. Rehoboam, that man’s name, was an irony. It means “he who enlarges the people.
People do not choose their political leaders, chairpersons, or MPs; Godfathers, godsons; the party elite and their conspiracies do. What history is Honorable Ousainou Darboe and the United Democratic Party (UDP) making, and how do ‘Baa’ Ousainou Darboe and his Party want to be remembered by history? Some people are gifted with dreams that foreshadow the future. They are no Nigerian Mallams, Malian or Jahanka marabouts, but like Nostradamus, they see tomorrow with pinpoint accuracy. I have a ‘witchy’ friend who is like that. He told me the United Democratic Party (UDP) is scheduled to once again organize a triumphant party jamboree crowning Baa Ousainou Darboe in total to be the Secretary-General and the standard-bearer of the UDP in the 2021 Presidential elections.
No one would contest against him or attempt to oust him, he firmly told me but added quite ominously that after 22 years struggling to oust President Yahya Jammeh’s kleptocratic rule without being President, he would still be followed by party militants and supporters to his actions in power replacing his estrange godson President Adama Barrow in 2021 presidential elections.
Fatoumatta: When people in each society conditioned their minds to believe that only one person has the brilliance and the wisdom to solve all the problems of party followers and electorates, they have fatefully opted to live the mercy of his wishes, human frailties, imperfections, or outright failures.
For patriots, the UDP atmosphere is like the eve of Caesar’s crossing of the Rubicon. The choices before the Roman General were just two that morning of January 10, 49 BC: to remain in Gaul’s comfort (modern-day France, etc.) and lose everything he ever lived for or choose war by crossing the Rubicon river into Italy. History says Caesar chose war and triumphed to rework imperial Rome to greatness. There is today the rhetoric of dissatisfaction, abuse, and divorce in the household of the UDP. Fortune changes have desecrated and plundered the temple of the land. It is time to break down the parts, rebuild the house and recompose their song. The other option is to destroy the decrepit house to save the occupants.
Moreover, for the Gambia of 2021 Presidential election, political party elites are busy cooking the soup right now. However, in recent years, a new leadership picture has emerged, which better accounts for exemplary leadership performance. In this alternative view, influential leaders must understand their followers’ values and opinions–rather than assuming absolute authority and legitimate execution of coercive power-to enable a productive dialogue with followers about what the group embodies and stands for and how it should act.
Fatoumatta: A king who is a scourge to his people cannot sip the love of the community. He cannot sleep and close his eyes from the blinding flashes of his indiscretion. Our elders would always rebuke that elderly glutton who thinks his throat is the only road to Marina Parade. Now, our leader has jogged faster than the greedy elder who carried his own load home. He now says the street’s pains are not enough, and he is adding some kilos of elite greed and cruelty to the burden. Who will now worship this desert deity that takes without giving? This god who seeks support from the yoked, the afflicted, what do we call him? Should he, at all, expect the deprived to celebrate his affliction with hails of praises?
Fatoumatta: There is a reason why kings and leader do not push their people off the cliff of survival. It does more than exposing the ordinariness of influential leaders. They poison the waters of the town. It tells the people to migrate to other choices. The rest is history.
Alagi Yorro Jallow