Credibility of Gambia’s Elections in Question Since 1996 – UDP Leader

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UDP Leader Ousainou Darboe

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, leader of Gambia’s main opposition party, the United Democratic Party, UDP, says since 1996, “the credibility of Gambia’s elections has been called into question.”

Darboe made this remark at a press conference at UDP’s Manjai Kunda Bureau to mark the 27th anniversary of the party’s founding.

According to the UDP leader, there cannot be a true democracy when the integrity of elections is in question.

“We’ve seen from 1996 up to now, elections in this country, their credibility, have been put into question.”

He added: “Even in the 2016 election, Yahya Jammeh had questioned the integrity of that election.

“We need to have men of honor, we need to have men who are knowledgeable, we need to have men who have integrity so that our election will be certified as one that passes the test of integrity.”

The UDP leader said there are no strong institutions, “but what you need are strong men who make the institutions stronger.”

“Institutions only become weaker when the men managing them are weak and become cowards and stooges of the powers that be,” he continued.

Lawyer Darboe went on to point out that after ensuring the integrity of elections, one can talk about development, that is, to address the needs of the people, and that the best development for a country is agricultural development that guarantees national food security.

He also spoke of the need for good infrastructure for the country but emphasized that the best development for the country is in agriculture, health, and education.

The veteran Gambian politician also argued that the country must rely on something other than donors and foreign institutions for its development.

“This country needs first and foremost proper infrastructural development in our health facilities, good infrastructural development in our schools…We must make adequate budgetary allocation so that, as a government that has responsibility, we will not have to rely on donors to build classrooms and toilets for our kids.

The veteran opposition leader said, “We need proper and good electricity infrastructure in this country. If SENELEC were to withdraw the facilities given to us, the whole country would become dark. Can we imagine what that means for this country?

“We’ve seen what has happened in Niger, with Nigeria cutting off its electricity supply to Niger, and it’s the same thing if Senegal puts us in that situation…This is why we must be responsible and develop our energy infrastructure.”

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