By Sainey M.K. Marenah, Shout- Africa Gambia Bureau Chief – Local businessman Basiru Jawara has come under the firing line after his attack on the personality of Ousainou Darboe, party leader and Secretary General of the opposition United Democratic Party, UDP.
Jawara reportedly spoke against Ousainou Darboe at a meeting held in Jareng, during the just-concluded meet-the-people tour, describing him as “not fit” to lead this country.
At a political rally held in Serrekunda at the weekend to honour Femi Peters, members of the UDP top brass demanded what they called an explanation from Basiru Jawara with regard to his comments, describing him as a “failed businessman, who knows nothing about politics.”
Speakers including longtime APRC critic Dodou Kasa Jatta, Babanding KK Daffeh, National Assembly Member for Kiang Central, and Momodou LK Sanneh, minority leader and member for Kiang West constituency, also called on Basiru Jawara to refrain from castigating the UDP leader.
For the UDP top brass, people like Basiru Jawara, Yankuba Colley, the APRC National Mobiliser and Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality, among others, should be mindful of what they say, as the country has now passed the stage where people should castigate each other.
Describing the forthcoming election as a “do or die election”, the UDP leadership called on the Independent Electoral Commission not to play with the desire of Gambians for free and fair elections.
“We have seen the IEC Chairman registering the President at State House. This is unconstitutional and he must refrain himself from politics,” Kassa Jatta told the rally attended by youths and women mostly.
“Basiru Jawara is using his unclean resources to tarnish the image of the UDP leader, while his family members are living in abject poverty,” Jatta added, renewing his earlier position that the UDP will never relent in its efforts to dislodge the ruling APRC party.
Kemesseng Jammeh, former UDP parliamentarian for Kiang West constituency said “the ruling APRC government has woefully failed Gambians in all aspects,” noting that the UDP party will ensure a two-term limit for every President, when it takes over the mantle of leadership.
He also warned the APRC to desist from what he referred to as “tribal politics”, adding that the APRC is the only party that talks about tribes, especially during the just-concluded meet-the-people tour.
“Gambians have to be wise enough to know who to vote for in the forthcoming elections, as it will determine their future and destiny,” he said, while calling on cheering supporters to vote for the UDP party.
In Kemesseng Jammeh’s view, the way and manner in which the ruling APRC government operates is discouraging.
“The economy of the country is poorly managed when the constitution has provided how the funds and resources of the state should be managed. When they took power, they accused the PPP regime of corruption and embezzlement, but now the APRC regime is more corrupt than the regime they toppled,” he added.
Ajaratou Yama Secka, UDP National Women’s Wing President, said most Gambians will never know that the APRC party is abandoned unless one tours the length and breadth of the country.
According to her, the recent nationwide tour by the UDP executive, showed how “weak” the ruling APRC party has become, especially at the grassroots level.
“People always say that President Jammeh is backed by women, but I can also raise my hand and say that the women have 100% backed Ousainou Darboe, and we will continue our support for him,” she told the rally.
She described as false and baseless, reports of mass defections from the UDP to the APRC party.
Commenting on comments made by Basiru Jawara, Yama Secka accused Jawara of destroying the Gambian tourism industry by closing some if not all of his hotels and indulging himself in politics.
“That will be his end because of clashing with the UDP; he will learn his lessons soon,” she added.
Hon. Babanding KK Daffeh told the rally that he was surprised to see the APRC National Mobiliser and Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality trying to settle a land dispute in Niamina, when his own municipality was under fire.
“The KMC has done nothing for the tax payers. The price of basic commodities is skyrocketing on a daily basis,” Daffeh said.
Momodou LK Sanneh, minority leader said the APRC came to power with the aim of curbing out corruption, but today corruption is rampant.
Sanneh called on Gambians to wake up and vote for the UDP in the forthcoming Presidential elections.