Ousainou Darboe

We’re grateful to Gambians!

Gambians Incur Immense Losses

From the Executive Directives

The leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) has added his voice to the troubling menace stemming from President Yahya Jammeh’s impromptu Executive Directives. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe said a “responsible government” would have looked into “the impact such sudden manipulation of the currency will bring before issuing such statements.”

Find below the full statement which also contain the party’s appreciation of massive support by Gambians – home and abroad – during its recently concluded country tour. The caravan tour was blighted with a standoff involving the party and violent-ready Gambian police officers at Fass Njaga Choi in the North Bank Region.

As we work to get a clearer picture for the sudden depreciation of major world currencies against the Dalasis, at this juncture we empathise with very many Gambians as individuals and also as forex traders who have lost immensely from the ‘Executive directives’. The UDP empathises with Gambians all over the world for the untimely financial loss and adjustment you will have to make to continue providing the much-needed support to extended families and loved one. Remittances to the Gambia count as a major contributor in sustaining our GDP and quality of life. A responsible government should look into the impact such sudden manipulations of the currency will bring before issuing such statements.

We will be making a statement on the foreign exchange rate crisis soon, however, in the meantime, allow me to thank you all in the personal statement below:

The leadership of the United Democratic Party (UDP) would like to thank the general public for the extraordinary show of support during the just concluded caravan tour of the country.
Notwithstanding the initial attempt but misplaced plans by the police to stop the tour, the UDP, through unflinching support by its supporters and sympathizers both within and outside the Gambia, and the commendable show of resistance by the party leadership and members of the touring caravan, continued with its programme of engagements with the Gambian people.

From Numi to kantora, Basse to Jarra and Foni to Kombo, the party, thanks to your support, was able to reach people of different backgrounds and political persuasions with a singular message of “CHANGE.” And if there is anything to go by, our tour has shown the unmistakable determination of the Gambian people to take their country back from the clutches of dictatorship that is known for its culture of unrestrained suppression of the opposition and Gambians in general.

One important outcome of our tour has been the total unmasking of the “fear factor” that has encompassed the life of ordinary Gambians. Within 10 days of our nationwide tour, the vast majority of the Gambian people mustered courage and spoke out openly against a government that has institutionalized corruption; betrayed the confidence of its people; continues to use deception to divide people through narrow fault lines of tribe and religion; and continually ignoring the plight of our farmers and youths.

Today, the whole country is engulfed in economic hardship with no end in sight. Farmers’ produce, particularly groundnut…the mainstay of the economy is under utilise and not catered for… The cream of our country’s future…..the youths, are now fleeing the Gambia in their numbers using the “back way” to reach Europe. But in reality many are perishing in the high seas of the Mediterranean where ship wreckages have become their watery graves. Our women continue to die from unsafe child labour while children continue to die from preventable diseases thanks to a crumbled health system where the basics of drugs are, in most cases, unavailable. These and many other issues were the prime topics of discussion during the just concluded UDP nationwide tour.

And all throughout the tour, the once cowed people of the Gambia, have demonstrated remarkable courage in speaking their minds about the archaic policies of the APRC. It is now clear that the overwhelming majority of Gambians want change and the UDP as a party, promise to continue to stand by the people of the Gambia in achieving this singular goal through democratic means.

For this reason, we thank the people of the Gambia for welcoming the touring caravan in their backyards. We also would like to thank the UDP supporters for their resilience, determination and commitment to the ideals of the party. We are particularly grateful to the various individuals and groups who donated financially or in kind that contributed to the resounding success of the tour. Special thanks also go to our fellow opposition parties for their show of solidarity during the standoff with the security forces at Fass Njaka Choi.

Gambians have sent a clear signal to the government of President Yahya Jammeh that it is not business as usual. More particularly, the people have demonstrated that the unrestrained, deliberate suppression the regime has been visiting on the people especially opposition supporters, should no longer be tolerated.
Thank you.

Ends

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