Jan 14, 2011, 2:32 PM
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe has retained his position as the Secretary General and party leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) following his re-election unopposed by delegates at the party congress held over the weekend in Soma, Jarra West, Lower River Region.
In the run up to the UDP party congress, it was being said that there were other aspirants for the party leadership, and that Darboe was going to face a challenge during this second congress, since the founding of the UDP party in 1996.
However, only one name was mentioned during the congress, Bolong Sanneh, who reportedly withdrew his bid to allow Mr. Darboe to be re-elected unopposed.
Another development at the UDP congress was the election of Dembo Bojang alias Dembo 'By Force', who contested for the position of national president unopposed.
Other party officers elected unopposed at the congress included Yaya Jallow as Deputy Secretary General, Ebrima Manneh as Senior Administrative Secretary, Momodou Lamin Shyngle Nyassi who is the party's new National Propaganda Secretary. Until now, Nyassi was the leader of the party's youth wing.
Femi Peters was elected the UDP?s External Administrative Secretary. Peters was until now the Campaign Manager of the UDP.
Mrs. Mariam Abu Denton is the party's Administrative Secretary for Legal and Human Rights Affairs, Mr. Amadou Sanneh the Administrative Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs, Mr. Lamin Dibba the new Campaign Manager and Ousman Rambo Jatta the National Youth President.
Aja Sukaina Kah was elected National Women's President, Aja Adama Jallow of Bakau 1st Vice President of the women's wing, Aja Fatou Sey, 2nd Vice President, Aunty Yama Secka, Secretary General, women's wing, Mr. Ebrima Solo Fandelli, Secretary General youth wing, Ms. Fatoumata Jawara Female Youth President, Ms Ndey Marong, Secretary General Female youth wing, while Aja Janbanding Drammeh was elected Honorary President of the women?s wing.
Addressing delegates attending the congress, lawyer Ousainou Darboe declared that his party is open to work with other parties to confront the incumbent in the 2011 elections.
"We will, however, not engage in sterile academic debates or discourse. We will approach any such political working relationship with a sense of realism and devotion to establishing a true democratic dispensation in which all parties will operate on an equal footing," he said.
Mr. Darboe called on party supporters to remain united and committed, as the party prepares itself for the 2011 polls.
"Any election contested on a level playing field will leave all contestants happy that each of them has been given a fair chance to contest. The levelness of the playing field is not measured by only the opportunities afforded to each contestant in presenting his program and policies to the electorate," posited.
He pointed out that Gambians are yearning for positive change to steer the affairs of the country.
He said that with the election of the new UDP executive, which he described as a step in the right direction, it is time for the party to build its structures firmly. As he put it, "we have a struggle to lead."
"The struggle we lead today is more difficult than the struggle in the 1960s," he pointed out, and added that "the United Democratic Party believes in a change of government through the ballot box."