OUSAINOU DARBOE ISSUES STATEMENT

The UDP Secretary General Ousainoue Darboe yesterday issued a statement that UDP vows “to represent the interests of all citizens and residents” in constituencies represented by the UDP.

“We indeed elected the candidates under party tickets, but we expect them to represent all of us as a nation irrespective of party affiliation,” he emphasised.

The UDP Secretary General said further: “We pledge and commit to work for the national interest-first, foremost and forever. We vow to represent the interests of all citizens and residents in our constituents, including those who voted for other parties and those who did not support any party. We look forward to working closely with coalition partners and others to support President Adama Barrow’s reform and development programmes.”

He reiterated this point thus: “We are a nation of one family, united by blood ties and love of our people. Whatever village or town you live in; whatever work you do; whichever language you speak; whichever party you belong to; you are first and foremost, the daughter or son of the land, this beloved land of The Gambia, this home and abode of ours. Never forget that national interest surpasses any other affiliations you may have.”

He went on to say: “We pray that with this election, Gambia shall become a beacon of democratic enlightenment. I predict that great parliamentarians will emerge from this batch of National Assembly Members. I expect them to scrutinize the executive with vigilance and competency, tempered by positivism and a mission for cooperation and united action.”

Mr Darboe, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs expressed regret at the few female members of the National Assembly. “I greatly regret the fact that we have such a small number of female NAMs. I take this as an urgent challenge for UDP and other parties. It is now our duty to start internal reforms aimed at achieving gender parity at the next parliamentary elections. Our first test will be the municipal elections. A nation that marginalizes its women sabotages its development,” he remarked.

He also embraced peace in his statement: “Whatever the occasion, whatever the circumstances, for us Gambians, it is always, Peace Forever.

“Democratic election is about fair competition amongst people and parties. Sometimes, there are tensions; sometimes there is anger; yet always, there is love of our country and our people. This is why we are a united and harmonious nation. It is only three months, since we liberated our country from dictatorship through peaceful means. Again, the whole world stands in admiration in the way we have conducted the NAM campaign, in peace and good humour. This is our blessing as a country. This is the new Gambia. Let us not allow anything to undermine this noble heritage. Law and order, justice for all, democracy, development with dignity-we strive and work for these virtues and shall never take them for granted.”

His message to the national assembly members: “For candidates who are elected, you will serve all the people, without favour or ill will. Your duty and pride depends on how well you serve the national interest. In the new Gambia, there shall be respect and tolerance. It is a sign of democratic maturity that we can have political differences, yet we still work together closely and respectfully, in the national interest. We have a lot of work to do to rebuild our country, after 22 years of dictatorship.”

Ousainou Darboe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Secretary General of the UDP