United Democratic Party Leader Ousainou Darboe has called on UDP elected MPS, who feel that they can no longer work with his party to resign immediately. UDP MPS, engaged in activities that will put the reputation of the party into disrepute have been put on notice by Mr. Darboe. He has not only called on such MPS to cease and desist from such “unethical conduct”, but to consider leaving the party before they are expelled. A recent amendment of the Constitution has forbids the President to expel MPS from parliament. But Darboe said the UDP Code of Conduct could be invoked if such MPS are found wanting. He says the UDP will not tolerate rogue MPS, who are acting outside the party’s code of conduct. Darboe is Gambia’s Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs.
“We need a frank dialogue among ourselves. It is time that we speak to each other very frankly. It is time that you members of our National Assembly, who are engaged in some other activities, we know very well, we know very well, that they are anti UDP. We cannot tolerate it. We had a conduct so that any such person we can deal with them. This is not a threat, but it is an established principle. No more masala,” Darboe remarked.
Mr. Darboe comments, followed allegations that some UDP MPS are on the payroll of President Adama Barrow to execute his political bidding within the party. Some of the UDP MPS have confirmed receiving D10 dalasi from Barrow before the party’s regional and national congress. Among them was Madi Ceesay, the Serre-Kunda West UDP MP.
Ceesay has denied receiving bribe from the President. He said the President was not trying to curry favor or support from him when he gave him D10,000 through one his surrogates Lamin Cham. Ceesay describes the transaction as normal. He said there was nothing unethical about him receiving money from President Barrow.
“MPS should be above suspicion. They should be people of integrity. They should stay away from any conduct that will bring disrepute to themselves, and their parties. Your integrity matters a lot. That is why you are called honorable members of parliament. Remember that you were elected on a UDP ticket to get to parliament. You were voted into office because of UDP’s policies and beliefs. Therefore, you shouldn’t act outside the confines of the UDP code of conduct and laws of the land,” Darboe admonished the UDP MPS in the local Mandinka dialect.
In what appears to be a civil war within the UDP party, Darboe also couldn’t mince his disdain towards the UDP MPS, Councillors, Area Council Chairmen, and Mayors. He said his party has been operating over the years without having a single Mayor or Councillor.
“Elected UDP MPS, ward Councillors, Mayors, Area Council Chairmen, should know that there was a time in this country, that the party had no Councillor, Mayors, and Chairmen. Therefore, if any Chairman thinks that he can hold the party to ransom he must be fooling himself,” he said.
“Our party had survived for twenty years without any single Chairmanship. And we can do away with any Chairman, who does anything contrary to the principles of the UDP. And this applies to all our elected members; whether you are a Councilor, whether you are a member of the National Assembly,” Darboe threatens.
It is indisputable that the UDP has been divided into two camps. There is a camp loyal to President Adama Barrow, and there is this camp consists of diehard Darboe followers.
Mr. Darboe is not sure about the loyalty of some of the elected officials of the party. Hence, he has decided to send them on notice to brace up for a possible expulsion from the party in the event such members are not promoting the agenda of the party.
“The party was able to forge ahead to fight the dictator despite our lack of MPS. We were able to force the dictator to leave this country. We had our code of conduct and we will not hesitate to apply it to any member of the National Assembly; we will not hesitate to apply it to any Councillor, or any Mayor and Chairman. I want you to know that because it will not be as business as usual. We are not going to be compromised by any member of the National Assembly. We are not going to be held hostage by any elected official,” Darboe remarked.
“If you feel that you cannot continue to work with the UDP, please resign. If you feel that you won your seat because of your popularity, then please resign so that we can go for by election,” Darboe told the UDP MPS.