Bakary Bunja Darboe, fondly known as BB, was The Gambia’s vice president for ten years (1982-1992). He now lives in the United Kingdom with his wife, Mbarreh.
BB was born in Kiang Dumbutu but raised in the Greater Banjul Area by the late Seyfo Sanjally Bojang. He is widely believed to be among the first Kiangkas to attend Gambia High School (sixth form).
In 1964, he left for Nigeria to further his education. The former vice president holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and French from the University of Ibadan – Nigeria’s oldest university.
At a very young age, BB was appointed as Administrative Officer in Basse – a position that was equivalent to that of a Deputy Commissioner in the First Republic.
From there BB moved to the Office of the Prime Minister. He was later appointed by Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara to serve as Commissioner in Kerewan.
When the Senegambia Permanent Secretariat was established, the Kiang-born was employed to head the Economic and Technical Cooperation Unit.
After three years with the secretariat, he decided to join the banking sector and was the manager for commercial banking and operations with the defunct Commercial and Development Bank.
In April 1979, he was appointed as The Gambia’s ambassador to Senegal.
A family friend disclosed: “BB played a key role in convincing the Senegalese government to help crush the 1981 armed rebellion led by Kukoi Samba Sanyang. It was after that he was appointed information and tourism minister in September 1981.”
BB’s profile grew in July 1982 when he became The Gambia’s 5th vice president and national treasurer of the People's Progressive Party (PPP). He is the first and only person from the Lower River Region to occupy the second highest political position in the country.
His love for his birthplace, Kiang made him the most popular politician in the region. He was first elected to parliament in 1982 to represent Kiang West. BB easily won re-election in 1987 and 1992.
However, in 1992, he was relieved of his post as vice president and appointed minister of finance and economic affairs.
The family friend told What’s On-Gambia: “He was moved to the ministry of finance and economic affairs after the Mansa Konko PPP congress, where he was among the senior party members that thought it was time for Sir Dawda to retire and allow someone new to steer the country.”
When the soldiers took over in 1992, he was the only minister that was retained. But BB resigned after a few months and moved to the United Kingdom.
He once described former president Jammeh as someone who lacks “maturity, capacity to think and understanding of basic issues”.