Addressing Gambians on the eve of the 2021 year; The leader and Secretary General of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer Ousainou ANM Darboe told Gambians that the Gambia is one and there is no t5hem and us.
The UDP leader assured Gambians that UDP government will address issues of empowering youth, women and children among a lot. Below is the full text unedited for your consumption.
Fellow Gambians, compliments of the season and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you all. As we ring in 2020 and wind down what has been a very difficult year for our nation and the world at large I pray for God to shower us with abundant blessings and help us address the challenges of the COVID 19 pandemic that is still with us.
The year 2020 taught us what was most important in our lives – the importance of humanity and an appreciation of the little things in life. We experienced challenges and learned important lessons which we should be grateful for because we had the opportunity to spend more time at home with our families and loved ones. We have in the process also learned tolerance, appreciation, gratitude and strengthened faith as the year was like no other.
“2021” has arrived and we are thankful to be alive, to witness yet another year. We hope that 2021 sees the end to the COVID-19 pandemic and an opportunity for us to return to a “new normal” life.
Twenty twenty-one will also be a year like no other for us Gambians. It is the year we will go to the polls to make one of the most important decisions that will affect our lives and livelihoods. That will be an opportunity for us to salvage our homeland from corruption, greed, incompetence, and false promises and to regain hope for the people of The Gambia.
This year’s election is about choices. Choices about what you, Gambians, want and deserve. The United Democratic Party offers to redesign the narrative and offer a solid, clear and comprehensive road map for the next 5 years and beyond.
Our five-point Agenda plus more is not only a promise to you fellow Gambians, but a firm commitment and a social contract that offers a “programme with a heart” and a menu of realistic and tangible development plans to improve the quality of lives of all Gambians.
The United Democratic Party commits to be of service to all Gambians; to offer change and to bring hope. UDP chooses to stand for The Gambia and for Gambians first and we are optimistic and strongly believe that our government will bring about positive and transformational change.
We aspire to see a Gambia in which our children have quality and continuous lifelong learning – free education up to bachelor’s degree; free health care for every Gambian under the age of 18 years of age and above the age of 65 years and for every pregnant and lactating mother. A Gambia where there are social safety nets available for people with disabilities and for the elderly.
A Gambian which our youth pride themselves with, and are eager to contribute towards and be a part of her progress. A Gambian in which we avoid “brain drain” and benefit from “brain gain”. A Gambia in which “our history” is part of our curriculum. A Gambia in which teachers teach life skills, cognitive skills critical thinking and problem-solving skills. A Gambia in which going to school translates into quality learning and children are taught to value and respect each other.
We aspire for a Gambia where access to quality healthcare is a moral responsibility of the government for every citizen. Where there are adequate hospital beds; enough quality medications; hospitals have enough blood to go around and healthcare workers are not only valued in remuneration but also equipped with the necessary tools to serve the citizenry.
The UDP government is here to be of service; we offer transformational change; we bring hope and we choose to stand for The Gambia first.
I am optimistic that “2021 will offer hope for an end to the pandemic and a gradual return to normal social life.”
I want to conclude by imploring all Gambians to nurture and value our history and diversity we belong together, not apart. There are no “us” and “them”. Whatever politics we identify with can and should be subordinate to the relationships that bind us together. We must reject those who seek to polarise our small close-knit though diverse society for whatever purpose.
We all belong together and everyone one of us has a duty to himself and to the nation we all share to sustain that bond at all times. As we enter into an election year, miscreants will come in all guises but their objectives would be the same and that is to try and appeal to the worst instincts of people, manufacture grievances all designed to pit us against each other in a bid to tear us apart. Let us all be vigilant and be on the lookout for these handful of odd balls who are not many but are loud and relentless. I have great confidence in the goodness and generosity of spirit of the Gambian people who want our politics to be clean, and issue driven.
We at the UDP intend to pursue politics that is commensurate to the values and expectations of the people whose mandate we seek. I once again call on all Gambians particularly those who profess public support for our party to love and respect every Gambian in public discourse and to seek to persuade not confront, to listen to and not to denigrate opponents, and to never ever insult anyone for any reason including when I am insulted. Together we can sustain a political culture that is as good as the people that will line up patiently to determine their fate and that of the country in December 2021. Let us make this election year peaceful and let every citizen be law abiding at all times and May Allah bless The Gambia and all her citizen.
I thank you all.