On Lawyer Darboe and the Reality of his Clout in Gambian Politics


I have never been a great fan of the Secretary General and Party Leader of the UDP, but neither have I ever been dismissive of his towering relevance and undeniable political clout in this country for the past quarter of a century.

Yet despite his clear role as the catalyst of the 2016 political tsunami that saw pummelled Jammeh out of power, some people still try to project a false image of this colossus in our political arena.

Indeed there are some honest opponents sharing their views about Darboe but there is a loud minority trumpeting a false paradigm about Lawyer Darboe and his role in Gambian politics. What is offensive about this minority is their outright hatred of this man motivated by nothing but his dominance in the political scene. When I recently blogged about this hatred of the man and it’s futility some people asked me to drop the word hate because those going after him are mere opponents and not haters. 

My response was quick: I know there are opponents but the reality of hatred in our politics can never be masked with euphemism. I will call their attitude what it is because I am not afraid of what others think about my statements so long as they represent the facts. Here’s the exact statement I posted on my public figure page on Facebook that provoked a day-long heated debate:

I believe Lawyer Darboe is human and thus, imperfect…But your hatred of this man will not in any way dwindle his support base and his relevance as the most important political figure in our these trying times…

#KanaSong #CantCageHim

Meanwhile the prognosticators are predicting the outcomes of our political benchmarks as December stares us in the face and 2021 creeps in. Most of the so-called analysts are painting pictures to suit their own aspirations and plans. But the reality is that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the game/changer in 2016 is likely to be the #decider in the next milestones whether we admit it or not.

The good thing about this situation is that, Darboe, the leader of the biggest, most energized, and most determined political party in this country is also a patriot, a man of law, and a peaceful man at the core of his being.

Observers and players in our political game keep preaching the narrative of our so-called New Gambia to suit their own tastes and constituencies but the reality of the matters is that, the much-touted and globally embraced change is all about democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights. We have relapsed a bit in these cardinal principles under President Adama Barrow and the drive to restore the balance is unstoppable.

The fact is that none of the big players in the political arena (backed by adequate voter-power) can match Lawyer Darboe’s credentials in the matter of the cardinal principles that primed our quest for change in 2016.  For those who may interpret my thesis here as a shift of political position due to recent optics, here’s a reminder of what I said about Darboe in a news report published by Gunjur News Online back in 2018 when I was most critical of the government he was then serving  as minister-cum-godfather: “Gambia’s Foreign Minister and Head of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, is a gentleman who actually believes in the principles of democracy and human rights just as he preaches it.”

As the crunch moments approach, some are jittery, others bitter for their own lack of weight in the optical arena. At least one major player is having sleepless nights without admitting it. The reality is that Lawyer Ousainou Darboe is in pole position with his yellow Ferrari in top-notch condition.

My favourite musician, Jaliba Kuyateh, has never sang lyrics more inspiring than the following; and he was (or better still, he is) singing for the majority of Gambians. He is singing about the most important commodity in the scheme of things right now, #Hope. In pristine Mandinka, Jaliba, or the masses, are singing: ‘ngan-jikoe sembeh Lawyer Darboe wolla; Nying Gambia Lawyer baa…’

May peace and harmony prevail in this our little piece of paradise, on planet earth, our motherland, The Gambia. We hope to see a peaceful and democratic change of government soon. Until, then, the writing is on the wall and I captured it in one hashtag #YellowNation

Momodou Sabally

The Gambia’s Pen


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