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Darboe says Gambians remain in poverty

Jul 16, 2012, 1:54 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

The leader of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) Ousainou Darboe has launched yet another attack on the ruling APRC party, accusing the party of what he called mismanagement, and of spending millions on projects at a time when Gambians are living in abject poverty.

Darboe, who was addressing a crowd of cheering supporters at a rally held on Saturday at the Ebony Junction in Serrekunda, said funds used on projects like the new pavillion at the Arch 22 in Banjul in preparation for the 22nd July celebrations, should have been better utilized to help Gambians get out of poverty.

“These are projects that are costing the state lots of money at a time when even our ferries are in a deplorable state,” he said.

Darboe noted that the APRC government has lost focus in changing the livelihood of Gambians, as it engages itself in lavishing millions to the detriment of the ordinary citizens.

“I am calling on the Gambian people to decide their own destiny, and not to allow others to mislead them,” he told the cheering crowd of mainly youths and women.

He dismissed suggestions that the opposition in the country have failed Gambians, stressing that instead, it is the Independent Electoral Commission that has failed Gambians.

“After the November Presidential Election when all irregularities were discovered by the opposition parties, opposition parties took bold actions against the IEC to amend some abnormalities so that it would not be repeated in the National Assembly election,” he said.

But to the surprise of everyone, he added, the IEC refused the calls of the members of the opposition parties, and only gave empty excuses that they could not re-schedule the election date due to the short notice given to them.

According to him, it is high time for Gambians to act democratically to vote against the APRC party after 18 years.

“If Senegal can do that, The Gambia can do it as well,” he said. 

The country’s democratic process is in shambles, he said, with civil servants, soldiers, police and all other security agents rallying behind and campaigning for the ruling APRC party.

The UDP leader also accused the APRC government of diverting Japanese sponsored rice and other aid given to Gambia and using the aid as personal gifts to the people, most of whom, he said, queue at 22 July Square to receive “gifts” that were purposely meant for them.

Darboe also lamented the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, noting that the price of a bag of rice has gone beyond the reach of many ordinary Gambians.

“Agriculture has died a natural death under APRC regime,” he declared.

The rally, according to Darboe, was part of UDP’s tradition to speak to the people every year prior to the Muslim holy month of Ramanda.

Other speakers at the rally included UDP bigwigs like Momodou LK Sanneh, former minority leader, Shyngle Nyassi, propaganda secretary, Kemesseng Jammeh, a former UDP member of parliament.

They all stressed the need for unity among the opposition camps in the country.