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Former Gambian Ambassador Endorses UDP Candidate

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Sidi Sanneh
Former Gambian Ambassador to Senegal resident in the United States

Former Gambian Ambassador to Senegal under former President Jammeh now resident in the United States, Sidi Sanneh, is the latest to endorse the United Democratic Party candidate lawyer Ousainu Darboe.

Part of his endorsement statement posted on Facebook on Saturday evening cited Bakary Bunja Dabo’s decision to join forces with Ousainu Darboe as one of the reasons for his move.

“I am forced by circumstance to proceed in endorsing a candidate by process of elimination because of Bakary Bunja Dabo’s decision to join forces with Ousainou Darboe and the UDP.  Had he elected to present himself as GFA’s presidential candidate, barring some catastrophic misfortune along the way, it would have been very easy for me to support his candidature without reservation.    

“Why? Because I know him, personally and professionally, better than just about any of the presidential candidates on this year’s ballot.  I have been his Deputy Permanent Secretary at Education where I co-chaired the working group that drafted the First 15-Year Education Policy 1988 – 2003 which he initiated and guided throughout the year-long exercise until it became law.  During the 15-year span, Gambia produced some of its best West Africa Examination Council’s results. 

“The 15-Year Education Policy was preceded by the first National Conference on Education that brought together Gambian educationists and administrators who presented substantive papers in their field of expertise, the final product of which formed a valuable input into the final product that because [became] the 15-Year Education Policy 1988 – 2003.  BB guided the policy formulation process, up to and including, seeing it through Parliament. 

“As VP, he endorsed recommendations to the World Bank to restructure The Gambia Cooperative Union, including but not limited to replacing the General Manager as part of the restructuring of the credit operations of the GCU, among very difficult personnel changes. 

“As Vice President, Education and also as Minister of Finance, he contributed ideas as well as guiding the processes through to when they became law,” an excerpt of his statement reads.  

Sanneh, among others, also referencedDarboe’s legal career as another reason. 

“Back to the endorsement issue, I could have simply endorsed UDP as soon as BB decided to join forces with Ousainou but that would have limited the scope of my editorial liberties as an opinion writer or blogger – take your pick; some call me worse. It comes with the territory, they say in these parts. I would have preferred waiting until mid-week to pronounce my stance but here I am. 

“I am fully onboard with UDP and it’s 5-Point Plan. Ousainou is no stranger to me.  I have witness[ed] his transformation from a premier legal draftsman to the premier legal luminary he’s become.  He has offered pro bono services to the poor and destitute, as well as politicians and activists – up and down the food chain – accused of treason and lesser charges during the 1981 Kukoi Samba Sagnia-led attempted coup.  I’m witness to the selfless service he’s rendered to Gambians who would, otherwise, not afford the first class legal representation he brought to the courtroom.

“I know because I was a member of the Second Review Committee of 1981 that processed the detainees held at the Bakau Fajara Barracks that referred them, with our recommendations to President Jawara through the Attorney General.   Those determined to have a case to answer were recommended to be tried.  The flimsy cases, which were numerous, we recommended immediate release.  Ousainou spent several years of his professional life defending many of these cases pro bono. 

“I sincerely believe that with Ousainou Darboe’s leadership, his upright and empathetic posture towards the poor and powerless, his love of country and revulsion against corruption can be the difference between success and failure in reversing the fortunes of a once proud Nation. His preoccupation with the scourges of endemic corruption in our government has been echoed throughout the campaign.  

“I am, therefore, of the belief that if there’s anyone who can put the gloss back into the Improbable Nation, it would be the upright leadership that Ousainou Darboe can and will offer to the Gambian people regardless of ethnicity, region or religious affiliation.  I know.  Because I’ve watched him at work. 

“Now that the endorsement issue is out of the way and off the table, I’d like to focus the rest of the final week of the campaign before Election Day on issues that will swing the pendulum further in favor of The United Democratic Party/The Gambia For All Party,” his endorsement statement ends reads. 

Sidi  Sanneh who served as Deputy Permanent Secretary at Education under Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara is a Gambian economist, politician and diplomat now living in the United States, who also served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Gambian ambassador to Senegal under former President Yahya Jammeh.

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