According to the Constitution, the age limit for a presidential candidate is 75 after being amended in 2017 from 65. Darboe, 73, has dedicated most of his career to politics after years of practicing law abroad and in the country. Despite losing the just concluded presidential election on December 4th, Darboe is still respected by his supporters who express their support to the leader whenever the need arises. Many UDP supporters on Monday gathered at Darboe’s residence to show solidarity.
Darboe, a man many called the ‘Gambia’s Mandela’ was imprisoned in 2016 for his strong stand for electoral reform during former dictator Yahya Jammeh’s regime. Despite being imprisoned, the politician never gave up in the arena after being appointed foreign minister and vice president in Barrow’s regime.
Barrow, who described Darboe as his political godfather promised to retire him from politics during his campaign messages.
Darboe in many rallies promised supporters that “this is our time and we will win the election.” The spirit was high in many UDP supporters and that warranted the decoration of a celebration tent at Darboe’s compound in Pipeline before the outcome of the final results from the electoral body.
Barrow was heard after casting his vote on Saturday that “the message for my supporters is that we will never lose in this election and it will be the biggest landslide victory in the history of this country.” The president was optimistic about winning with a gap that was denied by many supporters of the opposition.
Post-election in the country, the man that teaches President Barrow politics, Darboe, Mama Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Party (GDC), and independent candidate Essa Mbye Faal denied the outcome of the results before the final declaration by the electoral body. The politicians claimed that the results were not accurate and as a result, it was rigged. After so many Facebook post blaming the opposition leaders, Essa Mbye Faal made a U-turn and congratulated the president for his victory.
After hours on Monday, UDP supporters who gathered at Darboe’s house were tear-gassed by the paramilitaries resulting in cases of fainting by many including journalists who were rushed to the nearest hospitals. The opposition leader Darboe urged his supporters to ‘leave the streets’ and resort in their houses.