Gambia: American Gov’t Once Predicted That There Wouldn’t Be Much Difference Between A Darboe Gov’t And Jammeh’s Gov’t

“It is unclear how a Darboe administration would differ from the present administration, except perhaps the likely cessation of blatant human rights abuses. Darboe has not, in this contest, or any previous contests, presented a clear outline of his vision for progress and development in the country. He sometimes gives the impression that he wants the presidency not for what he can do for The Gambia but for what being president of The Gambia can do for him. While he has not hesitated to come to the Embassy to complain about President Jammeh or the APRC, it is not clear whether he would be a reliable ally for the U.S,” said a Wikileaks document publish on the Internet. Below is the document.

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  1. (U) The second most well-known candidate is 56-year old lawyer Ousainou Darboe, the candidate of the UDP/NRP alliance. Darboe’s running mate is Hamat Bah, the vocal former National Assembly Member and leader of the NRP. This will be Darboe’s third attempt at the presidency. In the two previous contests (1996 and 2001), he led a group of opposition parties in a coalition which later accused the government of electoral fraud. The soft-spoken “Lawyer Darboe,” as he is popularly called, comes from the largest ethnic group in The Gambia, the Mandinkas. Darboe receives financial support for his campaign from some local businesses as well as from Gambians living overseas.
  2. (C) Darboe seems to be relying on tribal loyalties to secure victory at the polls on September 22. His alliance with Hamat Bah appears to be calculated to win the votes of Bah’s tribal group, the Fulas, the second largest in the country. Darboe and Bah were members of NADD but withdrew from NADD when the alliance failed to agree on a single candidate to challenge President Jammeh. Darboe has stated that it his destiny to become President and believes that Jammeh’s poor governance and human rights record will motivate Gambians to vote en masse for anyone other than the incumbent.
  3. (C) COMMENT. It is unclear how a Darboe administration would differ from the present administration, except perhaps the likely cessation of blatant human rights abuses. Darboe has not, in this contest, or any previous contests, presented a clear outline of his vision for progress and development in the country. He sometimes gives the impression that he wants the presidency not for what he can do for The Gambia but for what being president of The Gambia can do for him. While he has not hesitated to come to the Embassy to complain about President Jammeh or the APRC, it is not clear whether he would be a reliable ally for the U.S. END COMMENT.
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