|UDP Leader Ousainou Darboe (Photo/DailyNews)|
“I believe that this (Gambia) government’s image was tarnish by itself,” according to Ousainou Darboe, leader of the main opposition, the United Democratic Party (UDP), who was responding to the October 4 claims of “Relentless Smear Campaign against The Gambia”.
The way you treat your citizen tells a lot, Darboe told local journalists on Tuesday, a day before he was due for questioning by the country secret agency, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in relation to investigations into Amadou Sanneh (UDP National Treasurer)’s “asylum fraud allegations”.
Sanneh was arrested last week and has since been held for allegedly appending his signature on an asylum letter which bears a UDP letterhead. Confessions on State TV indicate the alleged content of the letter is false.
Three days after its October 2 shock withdrawal from the Commonwealth, The Gambia Government accused Britain and the United States of America, USA, which it called “enemies of The Gambia” of sponsoring Gambians and non-Gambians to set up organizations with media facilities outside the country to mount “shameless campaign of lying” against it.
“These people and institutions specialize in lying and providing false attestations for would-be asylum seekers using the main opposition party (UDP) as a platform for such nefarious activities thereby casting a very bad and negative image of both the Government and noble people of The Gambia,” it stated allegedly.
Speaking at his home at Pipeline, Mr Darboe said The Gambia Government “tarnished its own image”.
He said: “This is the order of the day we believe that one day it will come to an end and democracy will flourish in The Gambia irrespective of tribe and political party affiliation.
“You could recalled that Imam Karamo Touray, Kalifa Jatta, Abdoulie Matida were arrested for belonging to UDP and subjected to gruesome treatment on no grounds.
“Demba Ara Sanneh, Yuspha Cham and Duta Kamaso were all arrested when they were organizing a UDP congress in Brikama and subjected to brutal treatment for many days.
“Kanyiba Kanyi was arrested (and) kept incommunicado, still now his whereabouts’ is unknown. Former Minister of Interior Babucarr Jatta confirmed giving orders to arrest him see now nobody sees him.”
Darboe said “Mrs. Duta Kamaso, former female National Assembly member, was arrested, humiliated and kept incommunicado for many years, Daba Marenah and co. were disappeared, and April 10 and 11 students killing are many atrocities committed against its own citizens.
“This clearly shows that the government has tarnished its own image by exposing itself to the whole world,” he said.
We did not feel embarrassed about Amadou Sanneh’s arrest and what has happened to him – is it the way a genuine country should treat its citizen, he ask. It so sad that in this country, people are used against one another to maltreat each other, and I believe that there is nobody above the law, he added.
“If Amadou Sanneh writes any attestation - that is what he was told by Sambou Fatty - that his life was under threat and he believes him. This is what he was told and he feels it is genuine because we have lost many of our supporters in that way,” says Darboe.
The UDP is prepared to give legal service to Mr. Sanneh, a motion has already been filed before the court to have him release conditionally or unconditionally before any charges are brought against him, he said.
Darboe, who cut short his visit to the USA because of the allegations against his party, says the Presideny Jammeh-led government has shown its “true colour” in the way it treated Mr. Sanneh.
They made it propaganda on the television, newspapers and radio. This will not change Gambian minds towards the party, Darboe argued. We believe all these are cheap propaganda just to discredit the UDP but they cannot, he added.
Jammeh’s government also branded the UDP a “Mandingo tribal group” but Darboe says the allegation is “nonsense”. He said “UDP has never been a tribal party and will never be”.
He added: “Tribalism has no place in The Gambia and president Jammeh and his spokesperson should not embark on enterprises of misleading Gambians.”
Mr Darboe said President Jammeh made that statement for people to “look low upon Mandinkas”, however, he said Gambians are conscious enough and will not listen to this misleading statement on tribalism.
He said there will be no Gambia without ethnic groups like the Wollof, Jola, Serer, Sarahuleh, Fula, Mangajo and Mandinka - and that UDP have the interest of this country, the reason it never advocated for tribalism.
We want our people to be united so that we can achieve our common goal. This country belongs to all tribes, he added.
“Instead of President Jammeh addressing the horrible economic hardship, poor health condition, low education status, and massive youth unemployment, he is going for tribalism,” Darboe argued
He encourages Jammeh to address the bad state of roads in the country and the poor infrastructure to improve the living conditions of Gambians.
Written by Modou S. Joof
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