By Kemo Kinteh

I subscribe to the conclusion that Darboe’s measured and graceful reaction to slander and vile are the sort of reactions we expect from our leaders. Babili Mansa would have sent his thugs (Jungulars) or rush to Tallinding to “welcome the Fulas to hell”. Luckily for the Gambia, Darboe does not have a rabid temperament, neither a standing army nor a narrow mind to portray a person’s attitude towards oneself as influenced by his/her ethnic background. But again Babili Mansa is no benchmark!

I have many times maintained that Mr. Darboe has and continue to render great service to the country. Many distractors fail to understand that an organization stepped into vacuum left by the banning of the major parties in 1994. That organization is the UDP. The leadership of that Party was relentless in its opposition to military rule till to the bitter end. Whereas the likes of Sheriff Mustapha Dibba (NCP), Ebrima Jawara (son former president Jarawa), the Garba-Jahumpa clans, at one point or the other embrace the Babili mansa, the UDP under the leadership of Darboe remained steadfast in their total opposition to Yahya Jammeh’s tyranny disguised as a democratic administration. An organization that takes on a brutal dictator needs​ to be very formidable and managed well. Those management skills are just one area in which the executive of the UDP excelled in and without which they would have been doomed or remained a spent force in the ensuing years. Babili Mansa had employed every means to destroy UDP. From openly compensating the likes of Sheriff Mustapha Dibba (NCP leader) with Speaker position in return for political alliance in the ultimate aim of denying the UDP alliances in the fight against him. Then the attempt to destroy the UDP from the inside by penetrating the party executive rank , through the likes of Lamin Waa Juwara, Rambo Jatta, and lastly Momodou Jarjue (who contested against Adama Barrow for the party candidature ticket).

Perhaps, the beginning of the eradication crackdown came with the effort of Jammeh to send Darboe to the gallows in the aftermaths of the 2011 elections (or 2006) by legal means. Alleged was that an APRC supporter was killed. Jammeh tried everything to physically tie Darboe to that killing. The courts – with rare courageousness – struck out the claim.

Ultimately, Jammeh had to resort to old tactics to do away with UDP for once and for all. Then the opportune time came April 2016. Jammeh felt that he is at the zenith of his power and must do away with the UDP or at least the heads. He taught Solo Sandeng a lesson in the most gruesome fashion and buried him like a “dog” and waited Darboe to lift his head. Had Darboe sank his head down and sought sanctuary in his pipeline home, UDP would have been history! I for example, will never forgive him for letting Fatoumatta Jawara, Nogoi Njie and patriot Solo Sandeng down!
But he stepped gallantly in the ring and stood his ground. Hence I think Darboe is among men and women Gambians are proud of and whereas constructive criticism is the lifeblood of a functioning pluralism, there is no need for him or his supporters to feel provoked by people who were wanting when the Jammeh raging destruction of the country was at it’s zenith.

Again and nevertheless, constructive criticism is the lifeblood of a functioning pluralism. We must allow it to flourish! I think that will be in Daboe’s spirit as well.

Ends

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Disclaimer: Views expressed in this section are the author's own and do not represent the editorial policy of Kairo News. Kairo News will trash any comment that inflames tribal, racial or religious hatred.

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