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We need change, not money – UDP militants chant

Nov 22, 2011, 1:03 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah on Tour

Party supporters and sympathizers of the opposition United Democratic Party in the Upper River Region Sunday accorded a rousing welcome to UDP presidential aspirant, Ousainou Darboe, and his entourage currently holding rallies across the country, as part of their campaign for the forthcoming presidential election.

This reporter touring with the UDP saw party supporters and sympathizers line up the streets chanting “We need change, not money” as the UDP presidential hopeful and his delegation entered the region.

“What we need is change, not money or biscuits,” Alagie Sedia Jatta, UDP chairman in the village of Numuyel in the Upper River Region, told a huge crowd of supporters, while assuring the leadership of the UDP that the community of Numuyel and its surroundings will always rally behind them.

“There is no freedom and democracy in this country. We the citizens are not treated equally, and we believe the only man who can treat us equally is Ousainou Darboe,” he told a cheering crowd.

Yusupha Hydara, also a UDP supporter in the area, assured the UDP leadership of their unflinching support, noting that all they want is for Gambians to turn out in their large numbers and vote for Ousainou Darboe, to rescue The Gambia from “sinking.”

Speaking to supporters at rallies held in Bansang, Sutukonding, Darsilameh, Sandu and Chaw Kunda, Mai Fatty, leader of the opposition Gambia Moral Congress, which is in alliance with the UDP, hailed communities in the Central and Upper River regions for realizing what he referred to as the “weakness” of the ruling APRC party.

Stressing that the aim of their campaign is to salvage Gambia, come the 24th November presidential election, Fatty called on party loyalists, sympathizers and Gambians in general to vote for a UDP-led alliance as it is the only party that could wipe out their tears.

“Ousainou Darboe is the man who is ready to uplift Gambians out of poverty, and has mercy and respect for human dignity,” he said.

According to him, the struggle for freedom and dignity will continue as long as this country is in a state of fear.

He outlined, among others, the need for respect for rule of law, development with dignity, democracy, good governance, youth employment and agriculture as top priorities for the UDP.

Noting that he has trust and confidence in the leadership of the UDP, Mai added that his party joined the UDP in order to save The Gambia from its current state.

“Gambian youths are jobless because of the APRC administration. But no matter what, power belongs to the people and, come 24th November 2011, Gambians will effect a change because it is time for a change of government,” he told a cheering crowd.

He called on regional governors to stop intimidating voters ahead of the polls, noting that people cannot be forced to vote for a system that has nothing to do with their welfare.

“Voting for the APRC will be the greatest mistake Gambians will make, come 24th November,” he said, adding further that their target as an alliance is to tackle the problems facing the economy and create  a youth entrepreneurship fund, among others.

Also speaking at the rally was presidential candidate Ousainou Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party, who said the large turnout by his supporters demonstrates the loyalty and trust the people of the Upper River Region, and Gambians in general, have in him.

Darboe refuted allegations that he has agreed with President Jammeh for him (Darboe) not to contest the presidential polls, describing this as a political tactic by the APRC.

He renewed his earlier call for Gambians to vote for him, for the betterment of their future, noting that his party and those it works with are out to salvage Gambians.

Darboe also frowned at comments by the campaign manager of APRC, Lamin Kaba Bajo, that if anybody failed to vote for the APRC, he or she will be detected  by the biometric machine, saying such comments are intimidating and threatening, urging Bajo to refrain himself from such comments.

“The people of Basse like any other community are demanding for a change. The prices of basic commodities are skyrocketing, coupled with general economic hardship,” Darboe went on.

He told the electorate that, if given the mandate to steer the affairs of this country, he will among others embark on a vigorous reform of the health, education, and agriculture sectors, and the economy as a whole.

Shingle Nyassi, UDP National Organizing Secretary, warned that the UDP will not accept any form of threat from regional governors or security personnel, stressing that the UDP will never surrender its victory.

Mba Sillah UDP chairman in Sandu Darsilami assured Darboe of victory in Sandu, while the UDP chairman in Basse expressed belief that change is possible.

Hon. Babanding KK Daffeh, UDP National Assembly Member for Kiang Central, said the 24th November polls will decide the future of this country, noting that the poverty level in the country is at its peak.