Ousainou Darboe

(JollofNews) – Gambia’s vice president, Ousainou Darboe has hit backed at his critics describing their criticisms of his appointment as naive.

Mr Darboe, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP) was sworn-in this week as the country’s vice president by President Adama Barrow. However, the constitutionality of his appointment has been called to question as he was convicted in 2016 of taking part in an illegal assembly under the country’s Public Order Act by the high court before he was freed by the government of Mr Barrow.

His efforts to declare the Public Order Act unconstitutional as rejected by Supreme Court of the Gambia.

But in an interview with GRTS’s Kerr Fatou programme, Mr Darboe said described those questioning the constitutionality of his appointment as naive.

“…But you know, the people who say so are just exposing their ignorance. And I am disappointed that people who think they want to be president in this country do not even know the constitution. It is a shame… I think they should acquaint themselves with the constitution before making such statements. It shows them as people who are not fit to rule this country because for you to be president of this country, you have to be familiar with the constitution,” he said.

Mr Darboe added: “Those who think my appointment is unconstitutional, they have the Supreme Court to go to. When I believed that the government has acted in a way that runs contrary to the constitution, I go to the court and challenge it. I have challenged the Jammeh administration here for what I thought was their violation of the constitution of the Gambia.

“Section 62 of the constitution, sub-section 3 says a person while holding a public office. At the time of my conviction I was not an ordinary person struggling to fight against abuse of public office in the Gambia. It was what informed me and my party executives to go out on the street and I got arrested.

“In fact there is a provision under section 62 that says that for you to be qualified to contest for presidential elections, you must be qualified to contest elections as a member of the National Assembly. And you have section 90 of the constitution that says that a person who has been convicted of offence carrying life sentence or death or serve in prison for more than six months is not qualified to contest for National Assembly unless you have been granted a free pardon. I was granted a free pardon by the Government. It is because they do not know the constitution and they do not bother to know, that is why they go about exposing their ignorance. I will be at the Supreme Court waiting for them…”

The UDP leader said he feels really upset each time he open ups about the arrest and conviction of his party’s leadership and supporters. Some of his supporters have since died after their release from prison.

He added: “It hurts me to talk about this conviction because each time I talk about this conviction, I see Solo Sandeng in my imagination, I see Lang Marong there, I see Solo Krumang. The last time I saw Krumang being taken to remand, he came to my cell and said: ‘Darboe I am going, pray for me. We will all leave here in peace’. It is the thought of those that hurts me. This scenes are indelible in my memory.”’