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The Freedom Radio & Newspaper Unfair Criticisms of the UDP

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UDP UK has taken notice of the Freedom Newspaper editorial of 23st January 2011 and radio broadcast of 25th January 2011, and is very much appalled by the grotesque tribal innuendo, malice, smearing and blatant lies that were being peddled by the presenter and a particular contributor against the UDP and its leader. In the interest of civility and to avoid the danger of inciting others, we have decided not to mention them here.

We find it particularly insulting to the elected officials of the party and to those delegates who constituted the 2010 Jarra Soma Congress that elected the National Executive of the UDP, the insinuation that UDP is being run by a particular U.S based brother of its leader. We do not know of any Ousainou Darboe family member who is a member of any of the decision-making or other organs of the party i.e.  The National Executive, The Central Committee, The Women’s Wing and The Youth Wing, or an occupier of an elected office in the party. We therefore wonder how any member of the said family can possibly shovel aside all the constituted structures of the party and effectively take charge without being given a mandate. This is clearly inconceivable. The truth is; the United Democratic Party [UDP] is not run in the U.S but in Banjul, The Gambia, and by those elected by the party’s congress, with Lawyer Ousainou Darboe as the elected leader and Secretary-General. Any suggestion to the contrary is nothing but an utter nonsense.

UDP USA, like all other UDP chapters, is a support group that is open to all Gambians including members of the Ousainou Darboe family. All that the party ask of such groups is for them to be formulated on the basis of democratic principles and the ideals of the UDP. There is no suggestion that UDP USA did not meet these requirements. In fact, it has.

The idea that those who have long residence in a particular jurisdiction should be the ones charged with the running of the chapter in that jurisdiction is preposterous and clearly not compatible with the required observation of the fundamental tenets of democracy and democratic representation. As long as they are chosen by the general membership in a democratic and transparent manner, those running the chapter have an unquestionable mandate and should be allowed to perform their duties unhindered, regardless of the length of their residence or abode in that particular jurisdiction. All other members, irrespective of how they vote in the selection process, should respect this outcome and work towards promoting unity and solidarity within the chapter and the larger followership of the UDP. This is the expectation.

UDP UK considers the dispute that has become the subject of bigotry in the Freedom Newspaper & Radio, as a matter between a valued Supporter of the UDP, Mr. Falia Baldeh, and the U.S Chapter but not a UDP feud. We shall be contacting our U.S partners including Mr. Baldeh, to offer our candid advice and mediation.

While recognising the validity of the reasons behind the UDP USA’s statement of 22nd January 2011, we reject any notion that individual support for the UDP is somehow measured by some form of litmus test, whether pecuniary or otherwise. UDP is a free democratic party that is aspiring to nurture a free society. Therefore, anybody can join or support the party without being subject to a code of conduct or some form of condition[s]. Notwithstanding this, those who claim to be members or supporters of the party but who then go on to show contempt for the party’s internal democracy as engendered by its constitution and the election process proscribed there under, must also realise that they are merely putting their loyalty to the party into question and thereby exposing themselves to legitimate criticism. This is the issue between Mr. Falia Baldeh and the U.S Chapter. It has nothing to do with Mr. Baldeh’s right or the alleged curtailment of that right, to criticise the UDP leader or his style of leadership. Neither is it about the tolerance or lack of it, of UDP USA. It is about the exercising by other equally valued UDP supporters, of their right to defend the integrity of the democratic process that led to the election of Lawyer Ousainou Darboe as Secretary-General and Party Leader.

Suffice it to say, Lawyer Darboe, in his capacity as Secretary-General and Party Leader, is and has always been steadfast in will and resolute in purpose. Inter alia, it is this kind of unique qualities that earned him re-election at the Soma Congress of 2010. Thus, his being the party leader is as a result of the unanimous decision taken by the sovereign congress of the UDP, and that decision is beyond questioning.

In every democratic system, the sovereign will of the people as expressed in a democratic process is always respected. Thus, there is nothing wrong in the UDP U.S.A’s insistence that this be the case in the UDP and its overseas chapters.

The purpose of this statement is only to clarify issues and set the records straight. Therefore, no one should expect any form of razzmatazz between UDP UK and the Freedom Newspaper & Radio. 

Pa Nderry’s declared crusade and insolence against the Mandingos cannot be a subject of our national discuss as that is purely a matter between him and the sons and daughters of the Mandingo ethnic group.

The End.


SS Daffeh

For the Executive Committee


30th January 2011

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