By Buba Gagigo
MC Cham Jr., a business-nominated councilor and United Democratic Party (UDP) member, has called President Adama Barrow a frustrated man who is running away from accountability for his presidency.
Cham Jr. made the remarks in response to President Barrow’s recent statement against UDP leader, lawyer Ousainu Darbo.
“I think President Barrow is frustrated because he knows he will lose the next presidential election,” Cham Jr. said. “He knows Gambians no longer have faith in his government. He knows that he has already disappointed Gambians. He said NPP will be here for 100 years, we will not dispute that because PPP is here for almost 58 years now. The NPP can be here for 100 years, but in opposition. But for the NPP to rule for a hundred years? No Gambian will accept that. And he knows that cannot happen.”
MC Cham Jr. also called upon UDP supporters and the public to grasp that President Barrow is ‘disheartened’ due to the outcome of the recent local government elections.
“President Barrow was led to believe that his active campaigning on the ground would secure victories for his candidates. He devoted significant time and resources, conducting a 21-day campaign in Banjul, KMC, and the West Coast. However, the outcome was a resounding defeat, and that’s the source of his current distress. In a way, it seems like President Barrow is now in the opposition camp because whenever the UDP leader holds a press conference, he responds, actions typically associated with opposition parties.” he stated.
In response to President Barrow’s remarks made during the opening of his party’s regional bureau in Bansang, where he suggested that if the country were undemocratic, Darboe would have been arrested and imprisoned, MC Cham Jr. pointed out that the United Democratic Party (UDP) organized more press conferences during the time of Yahya Jammeh’s rule.
“He mentioned that if the UDP had organized such press conferences before, the party leader would have faced arrest. In fact, the UDP held a greater number of press conferences during the era of Yahya Jammeh than under President Barrow’s administration. We never heard of Jammeh arresting opposition members for conducting press conferences. He used to deny opposition groups permits for holding rallies, but President Barrow’s government has also done the same. What Gambians are eager for is addressing the real issues: the poor state of electricity, the high cost of rent, and the overall rising expenses. Opposition parties are not enemies of the state; you yourself were in the opposition for 22 years,” stated MC Cham Jr.
In his Bansang speech, President Barrow warned that his government would no longer tolerate lawlessness. MC Cham Jr. agreed but urged the president to apply the law equally to everyone, regardless of their political affiliation.
“You said you would not allow anyone to violate the law, yes! We agree that anyone who breaks the law, the law should take its course, but it should be applied to everyone, whether NPP, UDP, or any other citizen. Injustice shouldn’t happen. Not if he is NPP, let’s release him; if he’s UDP, let’s arrest him; that’s not justice,” MC Cham Jr. said.
Mr. Cham took issue with the president’s accusation that the opposition disparages the police.
“You mentioned that UDP supporters demean the police, but I must respectfully disagree with that assertion. The police force consists of our fellow citizens, Gambians, who are our brothers and sisters. It’s important to recognize that the police often face significant challenges, including the difficulty of obtaining patrol vehicles. Just observe their struggles on the streets as they finish their shifts. I recently came across a report in The Point newspaper, indicating that the police were unable to secure a vehicle to transport inmates from Mile-2 to court. So, I ask, who is truly undermining the police in this situation?” he inquired.
Regarding the president’s criticism of Kerr Fatou and Mengbe Kering Radio, MC Cham Jr. emphasized that both media outlets maintain a neutral stance, but supporters of the NPP tend to avoid interviews.
“You mentioned that if the Gambia lacked democracy, Kerr Fatou and Mengbe Kering Radio wouldn’t exist. Allow me to clarify that Kerr Fatou provides a platform that is fair and unbiased. It’s important for your party to acknowledge that Gambians are currently tuning in to Kerr Fatou, and that’s a reality.
“This government appears to be evading accountability due to the pervasive issue of corruption within the country. The extent of misappropriated funds is disconcerting, which might explain their reluctance. President Adama Barrow, you must recognize that democracy was not bestowed upon Gambians; it was fought for and earned by the people. While you inaugurate new bureaus, it’s disheartening to note the dire state of our hospitals, lacking essential medicines,” he concluded.
MC Cham Jr. conveyed these statements through a WhatsApp audio message shared with Kerr Fatou. The nominated councilor was responding to President Adama Barrow’s recent criticisms directed at their leader, lawyer Ousainu Darbo.