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2021: UDP’s flag bearer can be any member


The UDP congress reelected its longstanding leader Ousainou Darboe as the secretary general and the leader of the party. Darboe went unopposed.

The spokesperson of the United Democratic Party Almamy Taal

The spokesperson of the United Democratic Party, Almamy Taal, has told Kerr Fatou that the party will select its flag bearer for 2021 presidential elections in 2020.

Taal said any member of the party can be their flag bearer. “Definitely when we come to congress in 2020, we will select a flag bearer in addition to the executive…,” said Taal at the party’s 2018 congress at the Paradise Suite Hotel on December 9.

“The flag bearer could be anybody in the United Democratic Party. It does not have to be the secretary general or the national president.”

The UDP congress reelected its longstanding leader Ousainou Darboe as the secretary general and the leader of the party. Darboe went unopposed.

Among several other party leaders who retained their seat were Dembo Bojang, the national president of the party; Yamoudow Jaye Yarboe, the deputy national president; Aja Mariam Secka, deputy party leader and deputy secretary general and Kemo Bojang, youth secretary general.

Meanwhile, the UDP congress came amidst tensions within the party reportedly between the camps of Ousainou Darboe and President Adama Barrow.

The party has amended its constitution on Saturday banning public servants from holding positions in their national executive. Critics said the amendment is targeted at public servants siding with Barrow.

Lamin Cham and Alikali Conteh, two members named in the so-call Barrow camp, have been victims of the new law.

However, the UDP spokesperson Taal said the duo have been an unintended consequences.

“There is no complication here. It is very clear what the constitution of The Gambia says… There is a need to insulate civil service and political activities… Once you are in the political process and you are in the national executive, the constitution itself bars anybody from holding an executive position in a party,” said Taal.

“So there was no attempt on our part to bar anybody; what we were trying to do is to make our own party constitution compliant with the national constitution. In defense of the constitution of The Gambia, our party and all its organs must be in compliant.”

The party has also amended its constitution to add that any “aspiring candidate for the congress shall be a bona fide member of the party and a delegate or a member of the outgoing executive committee”.

This clause has disqualified President Barrow to seek for any position in the party’s executive given that he has resigned to become the leader of the coalition. He is not, however, disqualified to become the party’s presidential candidate come 2021.

The president can equally apply for the party’s membership and contest for a position in the national executive at the party’s coming congress in 2020, at which time he would be qualified to be an executive member.

The Gambian law which bars “cross-carpeting” from one political party to another has been removed from the books by lawmakers. So effectively, President Barrow can still run for presidency under the UDP if he has the party’s support.

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