By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
National Assembly member for Banjul South, Hon. Fatoumatta Njai, commonly known as Hon. Touma Njai declared herself as the interim leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) on Monday, 1st March 2021 at a press conference in YMCA Y Hostel. Her announcement came after the recently concluded PPP Congress at Brikama Ba last weekend in which Hon. Kebba E. Jallow was elected as Secretary-General. The congress was marred in controversy after Hon. Touma Njai marched out of the congress. It can be recalled that the previous PPP 2018 Congress was also marred in controversy when BB Dabo cried foul after Papa Njie was elected party leader. Here is an exclusive insight on Hon. Touma Njai’s decision to declare herself as the “true leader of the PPP”.
Yusef Taylor: Is this a split of the PPP. PPP came out to declare Kebba Jallow as the SG and now you’re declaring yourself as the PPP Leader. Are there now two camps the Kebba Jallow Camp and the Touma Njai Camp?
Hon. Touma Njai: If you had listened, I said pending a free and fair election. What I am saying is that we reject the elections due to improper processes. There was undue process followed. If you followed the congress proper you will know that there were so many abnormalities. A congress without a statement of account. A congress that fails to talk about the state of the party is no congress and bear in mind that even the constitution failed to be adopted because due process failed to be followed. And like I said we have the chairpersons of all the regions present that shows you that this is the true PPP and I am the true leader of the PPP.
Party delegates present commence clapping.
Yusef Taylor: Hold on, hold on. This is a problem with this press conference and we’re going to highlight it. We journalists when we come to press conferences, we don’t need all this clapping of party supporters. We need to be free to ask questions it’s starting to get intimidating but am going to ask my question.
Yusef Taylor: If there were indeed these irregularities on electoral issues why was it not directed to the IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] and then gone through the proper channels. Rather than coming today and declaring yourself as the leader of the PPP and you haven’t gone through an election?
Hon. Touma Njai: Like I said this is an interim, pending free and fair elections and I said we are going to inform the IEC. The IEC is informed after an executive is established. You do not inform the IEC that you are establishing an executive, and…
Yusef Taylor: Let me rephrase my question…
Journalist and Hon. Touma Njai deliberate the question…
Yusef Taylor: I’m not saying that you should inform the IEC [about the Interim Committee] am saying this is an electoral matter. When Yahya Jammeh disagreed with the Electoral Results he had to complain through the IEC and then go through the right channels, court etc. This is my question Hon.
Hon. Touma Njai: We cannot leave the party in tandem. We cannot have a vacuum within the party. Like I said I have a letter signed by all regional chairs that is sent to the IEC it is on its way to the IEC to inform them of our new executive and that is the process. If you all remember we marched out. The delegates in fact walked out of the congress at that point the congress should have been cancelled because you cannot continue with a congress without the delegates. And I was told that the elections proceeded how can one go for elections without the actual candidate being present. That is a great abnormality.
Hon. Touma Njai: Maybe the people who were conducting the elections have a lack of knowledge of the due process or maybe they were doing it out of ill will. I am not alleging anything but a candidate who is not present cannot run for elections. You cannot run for elections in absentia that is a fact.
Gainako reached out to Hon. Kebba E Jallow who explained that he was still trying to gather the facts on Hon. Touma Njai’s press conference. He added that by Wednesday 3rd March 2021 he would hold a meeting with the PPP central committee after which some decisions would be made on addressing the press.