Opinion: The implications of UDP’s U-turn
Basidia M Drammeh:
The leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer Ousainou has made a major U-turn by urging President Adama Barrow to honor the three-year transition plan reached by the 2016 Coalition. During a press conference earlier today, Lawyer Darboe unequivocally called on President Barrow to step down in December, in line with the Coalition Agreement. The announcement is at variance with Mr. Darboe’s initial stance that the President should be allowed to serve out his five-year constitutional term and went as far as threatening to take to court anyone who forces Barrow to prematurely cede power, citing the Constitution. Since the party’s relationship with Barrow soured, the UDP has been in a dilemma as far as the three-year controversy is concerned. Certain members of the Party have publicly called on Barrow to honour the transition plan and have been adamant that Mr. Darboe’s statement did not reflect the official position of the UDP. Until Darboe had stood his ground on the issue. In light of the increasingly murky and frosty relationship between the UDP and Barrow, particularly after the dismissal of the party’s top officials from Cabinet, it seems Mr. Darboe came to a realization that it’d be prudent to further isolate President Barrow and accordingly scupper his bid to extend his rule. Darboe’s critics have described him as a flop-flopper. With UDP officially announcing its support for the three-year plan, President Barrow finds himself in a tight corner as all major parties including the UDP, GDC, PDOIS and APRC are collectively against his plan to remain in power until 2021. Mai Fatty’s GMC has recently distanced itself from a pronouncement by former VP Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang that the Coalition has decided to extend Barrow’s social legitimacy until 2021. Mr. Fatty has resigned from his post as Special Advisor to the President. With this latest development Mr. Barrow can only count on minor parties such as NRP, PPP, GPDP and NCP which are expected for form a Coalition with the Gambian leader. President Barrow has signalled in a rally over the weekend that he would form his own party. President Barrow has since declared his intention to serve his constitutionally mandated five-year term citing unfinished business. According to the President his reforms are in progress and that he’s determined to see them through. It’s obvious that December will represent a major milestone in Gsmbia’s political landscape. The 3yrs Jotna Movement has been equally ratcheting up pressure on the President to step down in December so the decision of all major parties to subtly support the cause could only turn up the heat on President Barrow.
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