Lawyer Ousainou Darboe the current leader of arguably the largest opposition, the United Democratic Party (UDP) has been re-elected for a four-year term after the party changed its constitution. The three-day congress which concluded on Sunday 11th December 2022 saw a number of resolutions passed and a party executive elected unopposed.
According to a UDP press release issued yesterday, “all the Executive members finally went unopposed after some negotiations”. This meant that Karafa Sonko (Former Campaign Manager), Dr Scrattred Janneh (Media and Communications) and Kemo Bojang (Former Secretary General of UDP’s youth wing) didn’t contest for their positions. After comparing the UDP Executive elected in 2020 it can be seen that the new UDP Executive has reduced from 38 to 37 Executive Members.
Our reporter confirmed that the party congress which started on Friday 9th December 2022 and concluded on Sunday 11th December 2022 featured an all-important constitutional amendment. A UDP statement explained that the “National Congress will be held every 2 years, however, the elections of officials will be held every 4 years”. The change means that all elected party representatives and Secretary General Ousainou Darboe will serve until 2026.
Since the December 2021 Presidential Elections, long-time rival and veteran politician, Hon Halifa Sallah of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) has resigned from active politics, prompting questions on Darboe’s continued leadership. However, the results of the 2022 UDP Congress show that the former Vice President of the Gambia will continue to occupy the top seat in active Party Politics for now.
Another important resolution emanating from the UDP Congress is “to set up a Disciplinary Committee to discipline members who flaunt [the] rules and regulations of [the] Party. Members who take on to the social media insulting people will be dealt with accordingly”. One of the challenges affecting the party has been an aggressive reputation online with some party supporters demonstrating intolerance towards diverging opinions.
With regards to youth positions, Congress ruled that “all youth position holders must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Anyone about 35 years is not considered a youth and will not qualify for any position in the youth wings”. There are a significant number of youth positions in the UDP Party Executive.
Below is the list of all elected officials and some of the congress resolutions which have not been included above.
UDP Elects New National Executive Committee
1. That all UDP members will contribute a minimum of D5 per month and only members with up-to-date subscriptions will qualify to contest for a position in the Party structures.