By Buba Gagigo
Maimuna Ceesay Darboe, a nominated member of the National Assembly and Diaspora Secretary of the National People’s Party, has said that Ousainu Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), was misled by so-called intellectuals after his release from prison in 2016.
She alleged that there were bad actors within the party at the time, which she believes misled the United Democratic Party leader.
“When Darboe was released from prison, he was briefed about the conflict that had happened between us during the convention. Ousainou was a very close person to me, and he didn’t cry for me to come back for nothing. He had daughters, but I was his closest political daughter. They made him angry at me, but instead of asking me why I had supported Adama Barrow in 2016, he couldn’t bring himself to ask me and I couldn’t tell him” she said.
She said that Ousainu Darboe’s first mistake as Minister of Foreign Affairs was micromanaging the government in 2017-2018.
“Ousainu Darboe’s first mistake was when he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the struggle, we didn’t see these so-called intellectuals, who didn’t even donate to the cause, but they were the majority in his ministry. He neglected his own politicians. Of course, not everyone can get a job, but he could have given a few positions to those who were capable. In the entire struggle, the only people he appointed were Mboge Saidykhan and Ebrima Dibba.
“Alkali Conteh and Siaka Jatta came with a list of 18 people who were in the struggle in the Diaspora. Can you imagine that I spoke to Ousainu twice in two years when he was in Foreign Affairs? I used to talk to the president, and I told him that Darbo would have been president without going to an election. I told Darboe to manage Barrow and not to let anyone come between them, but he didn’t listen. The detractors got to Darboe, and he ended up losing a lot in the subsequent decisions he took” she said.
She also said that the problems began in 2016 when Adama Barrow was selected as the UDP’s flag bearer. She said that Darboe and some other UDP supporters did not support Barrow’s selection.
“The conflict between us began in 2016, and we officially split in 2019. The conflict did not start in 2019; it had been brewing since 2016. We knew that Ousainu would not be able to run for office after being sentenced to three years in prison. Serving three years in prison would be difficult for him, and it would also be demoralizing for our party if we boycotted the election again. We had tried to get other people to run for office in 2016, but they all declined. I was the first person to suggest that we make Adama Barrow our candidate after all of our other options had failed.” she said.
She said that while most of their UDP supporters were in favor of Isatou Touray as their candidate, she was among those who did not support her candidacy.
“I had little political experience, but I knew that Isatou Touray was not a good option. I told the others that I was not in favor of her and that her support for banning female genital mutilation (FGM) would have hurt her chances of winning. Ousainou Darboe, through his family, also communicated that we should not select Adama Barrow. I told them that just because Ousainou said we should not select Adama did not mean that he did not like him.
“I explained that Ousainou was in jail at the time and that everyone was supporting Isatou Touray. I said that Ousainou would support Isatou Touray in order to win his freedom. We had a bitter exchange, and I received my first political insult from the UDP during the selection process. Adama was later selected, and we campaigned to other party leaders (GPDP and GMC) to vote for us. We won the convention.” she concluded.
Maimuna Ceesay Darboe is now the National People’s Party (NPP) Diaspora Secretary and nominated National Assembly Member.