The Gambia has a population little fewer than two million people and youths makes up about 40% of the population.
But the little country has seen, in recent times, mass movement of its youthful population out of the country trying their rather dangerous way to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.
The statistics of the Euro Statistical department based in Luxemburg has revealed that over twenty thousand Gambians have sought asylum in Europe from 2008 to 2014, while the figures for this year surpassed ten thousand.
For Lawyer Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party, the leading opposition party in The Gambia since 1996; youth migration is a result of the “poor economic policies of President Jammeh”.
Lawyer Darboe, the leader of the United Democratic Party, has said the popular exodus of youths through the treacherous Mediterranean Sea route to Italy known in Gambia as back-way, is a result of the poor economic policies that the APRC has instituted over their two-decade rule.
He said his party would have made agriculture a lot more productive and created funding for youths who have business ideas nut can’t start one.
“This back-way has become a death-trap for our youths. That is what I call it and it is caused by the poor policies of the APRC. For two decades, they (APRC) have failed to create job opportunities for the youths. Lack of employment is the major push-factor of back-way. They (APRC) organized party and invited people claiming they have reduced hunger in the country when people are hunger today than ever,” he said.
“We (UDP) would not only have made agriculture productive enough to be able to lift farmers from poverty but we would also have created youth entrepreneurship fund that will help youths who have business ideas but lacks capital to start one.”
Lawyer Darboe was speaking at Lamin on Sunday, 13 September, at UDP rally that he said was organized by the youth wing of the party.
The UDP leader also said his party, if elected in the 2016 presidential elections, will revive the cotton production in the country and establish factory factories to support its farmers.
“The Gambia was also known for cotton cultivation but that has been killed by the APRC. The UDP will revive the cotton cultivation and we will build garment factories to help farmers who are in that agricultural sector,” he said.
“We will also create markets for various types of crops farmers cultivate in this country. Farming in this country is synonymous with poverty but that will stop- because that is why the sector is not appealing to many young people who are risking their lives on back-way to Europe.”
Lawyer Darboe has also criticized the recent move by the Supreme Islamic Council denouncing the members of the Ahmadiyaa Muslim Jama’at as non-Muslims saying “they have no constitutional mandate to do that”.
“The Supreme Islamic Council has no constitutional mandate to denounce the Ahmadis as non-Muslims…,” he said.
“Religious conflict is very dangerous and it is something that never settles when it starts. The Supreme Islamic Council has to be careful…”
The UDP leader also called on Gambians to be tolerant to dissent saying “our political differences must not affect our social interactions”.
The UDP leader has made these remarks as he recount to his party supporters the relationship between him and Demba Sanyang, the Paramount chief of The Gambia.
The UDP leader said these amidst claims that the Paramount Chief whose compound lies just some feet from their meeting ground did not want them (UDP) to hold their meeting there.
“The Gambia is one-family state and we should always try to promote peaceful co-existence despite our political differences. Tolerance is very vital to the sustenance of peace and stability,’’ he said.
“It is a constitutional right of every Gambian to belong to any political party of your choice. Preservation of peace and stability is the responsibility of all citizens”
Lawyer Darboe also paid tribute to “fallen UDP heros”, Dr Boro Susso and Alagie Mustapha Joof, who, he said, are an embodiment of the values of their party.
Momodou Sanneh, one of the executive members of the UDP, has criticized the Independent Electoral Commission for “trying to help President Jammeh institutionalize one-party state in The Gambia”.
“The Independent Electoral Commission have basically rejected the electoral reform proposals suggested by the opposition and connived with the APRC to bring in a law that will make contesting elections difficult for the opposition,” Sanneh said.
Ajaratou Yam Secka and Ajaratou Yamumdow Yabou, influencil women leaders in the UDP have also vowed that they will select Lawyer Darboe as their presidential candidate despite him being barred by the constitution to run.