Saturday, November 5, 2011

Special Coverage: 2011 Presidential Election...

NDAM leader accuses Darboe for ‘opposition failure’
…argues Gambia’s human rights record has improved
Lamin Waa Juwara, NDAM leader
Mr. Lamin Waa Juwara, the leader of the National Democratic Action Movement (NDAM) has pointed accusing fingers to his contemporary Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) for the “failure of Gambian opposition parties to unseat President Yahya Jammeh”.
“Because lawyer Darboe is born to lead, he should automatically be the leader, even though he has failed three times, he still want to lead and he is not disposed for any person to lead his party or the alliance founded by all parties”, claims Mr Juwara, who is now working with the Jammeh administration as Governor of Lower River Region.
The one-time fierce critic of the Jammeh-led military junta of the Armed Forces of the Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) and the civilian ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC), who has been arrested, detained, “tortured” and convicted, was speaking to The Voice newspaper in a recent interview. The Gambia is gearing up for presidential elections on November 24, 2011.
He said Darboe’s refusal to stand aside suggests that he is holding Gambians at contempt.
“Lawyer Darboe held the people at contempt because they told him to go for a primary and he refused. The reason for the primary is for Gambians to make their choice, but he is refusing that, and the votes come from the peoples,” said Juwara, who is a pioneer the country’s first opposition alliance under the second republic in 2006, the National Alliance for Democracy and Development (NADD).   

He left the opposition to work with President Jammeh’s regime in 2009, three years after the NADD alliance failed to agree on leadership grounds and in its bid to unseat the Yahya Jammeh. He was first appointed councilor of the Brikama Area Council, and later Governor of Lower River Region.

He blames opposition leaders for lack of consultation with their people, saying elections are national issues and party leaders should consult with their people whether to hold on to the leadership or give chance to others after failing in presidential contests. 
Expelled from the UDP prior to his founding of NDAM, Juwara explains that when he challenged Mr Darboe for some of the things he was not doing, he (Darboe) got his “kitchen cabinet” to throw him out of the party. “I was expelled form the UDP.”   

Human Rights
The Gambia’s human rights record has been dragged into the mud internationally and locally by independent media reports, however, Governor Juwara, who called the infamous government policy of “hunting witches and wizards” a fairy tale in 2009, says “over the past years there have been improvements in Gambia human rights records under the government of President Jammeh.”
“You would not have been here asking me questions on Gambia’s human rights record if it has not improved. All the people who were abusing human rights in this country have come to blows with President Yahya Jammeh,” he said.  “I was part of it, I know those who arrested, detained and tortured me, but today they are all behind bars.” 

He added: “Gambians should support President Jammeh in promoting and protecting human rights. He (Jammeh) has taken steps to promote and protect human rights.”
“Nobody will tell you that Gambia’s human rights record is still as bad as it was in the past. Those who are behind bars are there for their own wrongdoing because they were tarnishing the country’s image,” he argued.

  • Source: The Voice

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