Some section of Gambia’s opposition parties have secretly met with the officials of Gambia’s Interior Ministry, to plead for the release of the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe and his co convicted accused persons, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. The meeting, which was held at the office of the Interior Minister Ousman Sonko, witnessed by his Permanent Secretary Momodou Nai Ceesay, and Inspector General of police Yankuba Sonko, attracted the presence of prominent members of the opposition. The main goal of the “secret meeting” was to plead for Darboe and co’s release from mile two prison custody, and the issue of permits for political rallies. The opposition also wants the office of the IGP to expedite request for permit to hold political rallies ahead of the elections.
According to competent sources, the following leaders of the political parties attended the secret meeting: Dembo By-Force Bojang, National President of the UDP, Ousman Sonko, of the opposition National Reconciliation Party (NRP), Halifa Sallah, of the opposition of the PDOIS, and Samba Baldeh of The Gambia Democratic Party (GDC).
The meeting which was kept secret from the respective party supporters and financiers, was held this past Thursday in Banjul. Almost all party representatives spoke at the meeting. They repeatedly asked for Darboe and co’s release from custody.
It is not clear if the imprisoned UDP leader Ousainou Darboe approved the ongoing efforts to secure his release, but a member of his family Lamin Darboe, a UK based Immigration Attorney, has since distanced himself from the opposition meeting with the Gambian authorities trying to secure Darboe’s release. Mr. Darboe, who spoke to Freedom Radio’s Saihou Saidyly, AKA M Njie, said the opposition delegation neither represented the views of Lawyer Darboe, nor his family and or the party. Mr. Darboe vehemently rejected any proposition that his brother Lawyer Darboe is lobbying or pleading with The Gambian government to secure his release.
Late Tuesday evening, Mr. Suntou Touray, of the UDP, took on the UDP Action Group What’sapp chat forum, also saying that the UDP has never held any such meeting to plead for Darboe and co’s release. Mr. Touray cautioned the members of group not be over carried by such reportage.
It appears that there is a complete political disconnect amongst the supporters of the UDP. Their party National President Dembo By-Force, a respected senior citizen member of the party, was among the Interior Ministry delegation.
A Freedom Radio Gambia caller from Banjul clarified that Mama Kandeh, the leader of the GDC was not present at the meeting. He told this medium that Mr. Kandeh was represented by Samba Baldeh.
Meanwhile, a source who witnessed the meeting said both Momodou Nai Ceesay, and Ousman Sonko, have promised to covey the concerns of the opposition delegation to dictator Yahya Jammeh. Minister Sonko was supposed to meet with Mr. Jammeh this past Friday to discuss the meeting his Ministry had with the opposition delegation, our source intimated.