Barrow Youth Movement Nothing But a Political Party – Darboe
The leader of the United Democratic Party, Ousainou Darboe has renewed his attack on the Barrow Youth Movement (also known as Barrow Youth for National Development), describing it as a political party rather than a development agency.
Darboe, a former Vice President, was addressing supporters Saturday night at a mass rally in Basse. He was dismissed by President Adama Barrow in March after months of political bickering and feud between the two former allies reportedly over the formation of the Barrow Youth Movement. While the president championed the formation and the operation of the movement to spread his agenda across the country, Darboe distanced himself from it and often openly criticized the movement.
The war of words between Barrow and Darboe, and their supporters has intensified over the past few weeks. Early this month, the president suggested to the press that he sacked the UDP leader and his two political allies in the cabinet because they were a distraction, though he didn’t mention their names.
On Saturday, Darboe told cheering supporters that the president’s claim that the Barrow Youth Movement was set up to serve as a development agency was false. “Where have we ever seen a development agency opening offices and appointing chairmen? As far as we are concerned, only political parties have chairmen and Yai Compins (women’s groups).”
He said funds available to the movement could have been given to specific organizations to implement what the president claimed his movement would implement.
“If it is for the construction of mosques, the Supreme Islamic Council is here. If it is for the provision of gardens for women, why not give the money to the village development committees or give it to community development or the horticultural sector of agriculture department. That’s the time we will be convinced that there is no other hidden agenda with the Barrow Youth Movement,” Darboe told his supporters.
He accused the movement of masquerading under the shadows of UDP in its efforts to fulfill its ambition. The UDP leader rubbished claims that he and his allies were sacked for sabotaging the Barrow administration’s three-year National Development Plan (NDP). Darboe said “the successful launching of the NDP is as a result of the efforts of former UDP cabinet ministers who worked tirelessly in the preparation and selling the agenda to the outside world.”
He also mocked Barrow’s hype over the road construction project underway in the Upper River Region. The president has been citing the projects as some of his government’s success stories and said such projects would give him a second term mandate. But Darboe has taken ownership of the projects.
“From 29th July to 6th of August, 2018, I travelled to China through the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Minister. It was during that visit that I appealed to the Chinese to help us with communication in the country. I identified three roads to the Chinese and these include the Hakalang road in Niumi, the Nianija road, and roads and bridges in Basse.”
Darboe said it was through his efforts as a Foreign Minister and that of ex-Finance Minister Amadou Sanneh that the road and bridge projects started in the URR.
UDP not an opposition
Darboe also rebutted description of UDP as an opposition party. He questioned how a party that dominates the National Assembly and controls more than half of the councilor seats across all the regions of the country can be branded as an opposition party.
“If you think that because Lawyer Darboe and Amadou Sanneh were sacked from the Cabinet the UDP is now an opposition party, you are politically ignorant and you’re fooling yourself.”
As Darboe and his supporters were holding the Basse rally, President Barrow and his supporters had gathered at State House for a meeting. According to officials, people from the Lower River Region visited the president to confirm their support for his NDP.