By Momodou Jarju
The Former Vice President of The Gambia, Bakary Bunja Darboe alias BB Darboe, has disclosed that he has no problem with Papa Njie neither with the Independent Electoral Commission but with the manner in which People’s Progressive Party (PPP) conducted last December 2018 congress.
He made the remarks at a press conference held yesterday at his residence, Fajara as he responds to comments made by Omar Jallow, PPP’s former leader and states his stand on the outcome of the 2018 congress.
Omar Amadou Jallow alias OJ last month at a press conference said they had the best organized, transparent, open and credible congress in the country, adding that BB Darboe took part in the process of the congress.
“So for BB Darboe to question the integrity of such a process shows he is not credible,” OJ said.
However, BB Darboe, minister for three years and vice president for ten years under the leadership of first President Dawda Jawara, said he has serious reservations and doubts about the several stages made prior to the elections.
“I took time, studied them, check, cross-checked and found out that indeed there were a lot of fraudulent manipulations and therefore I found the whole process unacceptable,” he explained.
He said he didn’t reject the congress election which represented 10% when the results were announced but said he told the delegates that he had reservation with the stages made prior to the election which represent 90% and that he was going to reflect, reverse, make up his mind and come out with a statement, which he did yesterday at the press conference. According to him, the congress was done in a complete rush.
“It wasn’t that it was fully known and appreciated that there was going to be that extent of fraud and malpractices and yet we went into it. We knew the situation was far from perfect. It was far from ideal. There were reasons that are objectively due to practical situations but we didn’t suspect that those would be inclined to manipulate and explore that situation would go that low that only can to light the… on the day the voting was going to take place.
“And to make matters even worse according to established practice the congress should have had its own independent chairman that it elected to conduct and direct its affairs plus a congress secretariat that was never put in place,” he said.
He said a number of constituency organizations approached Alhagie Yahya Ceesay and told him their desire to meet him with a delegation to protest.
He said Alagie suggested that a day bet set and get the entire constituents who want to participate to come together and exchange their views in an open and transparent manner, adding that on 19th of January 2019 they gathered at the President Award Scheme building in Bakau.
He said he was asked to attend which he did happily, saying what he saw was completely beyond what he had expected. Out of the 53 constituency organizations that a party can have in this country, Mr. Darboe said, 35 turned out, some led by the chairmen of their constituency groups while others by chairmen plus several other prominent party leaders.
Darboe said contrary to the three-day congress where none of them was given the floor to debate about the congress, election and the party’s life the aforesaid meeting provided such privilege. He said the meeting ended with a solemn declaration representing strong views and convictions that what happened on the 28-30 December 2018 was not acceptable.
“That body issued what many in the party leadership accept as a legitimate mandate and instruction to us to go ahead and try to recover our party from those who have tried to use fraud and manipulation to hijack it by any means; political but also otherwise,” he said.
Darboe said he is in line with Alhagie’s group and described the entire process of the congress was a sham.
PPP STANDS FOR INCLUSIVENESS
BB Darboe said PPP is open for all and sundry and he is no exception. Darboe was responding to public comments that he should take the back seat and give chance to the young ones for the PPP leadership, saying it’s a fundamental misunderstanding people have about the policy and / or values of PPP.
He said: “The PPP stands for inclusiveness in every sense put particularly in the sense of participation to the level of responsibility that can be held in the party by any generational group, gender group or whatever religious group you can call it.”
Speaking further, Darboe said PPP had leaders who were aged 70 to 80 plus and at the same had people who were 30 years onward, adding that PPP’s door is open to the young people always.
“Now if somebody is serious and genuine about wanting to change that policy to say leadership of the party should go exclusively to a particular group whether young people or tall people or short people, he should come to the party particularly the congress and argue that as a policy and say this and this are reasons why I think this policy of the PPP being inclusive and leaving everybody to come and compete on the basis of competent should be set aside and we should reserve leadership only to young people,” he said.