National Assembly member for Banjul South, Hon. Fatoumatta Njai, commonly known as Touma Njai, declared herself as the interim Party Leader of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) at a press conference held at YMCA Y Hostel on 1st March 2021. The PPP held a congress over the weekend and elected Kebba E Jallow as their Party Leader after the process was marred in controversy. Hon Touma Njai stormed out of the congress after raising up allegations of irregularities observed at the congress. Below is her statement which she read at the press conference.
By Hon. Fatoumatta (Touma) Njai
Gambians, fellow compatriots, friends of The Gambia, media representatives here present, Ladies and gentlemen.
Greetings to you all and my sincere thanks to you all for attending this afternoon’s press briefing.
This press briefing is timely as we just concluded our congress and been witnesses to it ended. It was not only chaotic but full of anomalies.
A congress should not be conducted in the manner we witnessed especially given the history of the PPP and the high standards it has set over the years anchored on credibility and integrity.
Being known for my resoluteness, I will not allow any compromise of my integrity to take place. Charles H. Dyer said that (and I quote) “Conduct reveals character, and we best understand integrity when we see it lived out in a person’s life”.
This means that I shall not participate in any activity full of abnormalities (as detailed below) and be held to ransom by a selected few.
- First, there was no due process.
- An agenda was never adopted
- Delegates were not presented with a copy of the draft constitution and neither were they taken through it.
- Normally the regional chairpersons should have been provided copies as was agreed at committee level.
- They were yet expected to adopt one.
- No statement of accounts was reported to the delegates neither was there a statement of the state of affairs of the party
- Specific requests for a financial statement were made by delegates stating that elections should only be held once the financial statement was produced.
These requests were reasonable ones which any responsible organisation should present willingly especially to a congress being the highest authority comprising of delegates from all regions.
The demands from the delegates were as follows, that:
- the Party presents its Financial statement to the congress
- the candidates present their manifesto to the delegates before we can conduct and elections
- the mode of elections be determined by the delegates as per the constitution which states that elections can be by raising of hands or any other method agreed by the delegates.
I therefore strongly believe that a responsible leader should not wait to be asked for such. As a political party and a government in waiting one must be seen to be transparent and ready to be held accountable, demonstrating responsible leadership whilst at the same time building trust. The absence of trust, as we all know, does enable growth and I am convinced that this is what holds this party back.
The lack of trust has been manifested at the just-concluded Congress and has demonstrated that the love our people have for this party has been lost in transition. This is epitomised by the lack of genuineness and sincerity in leadership. Leaders should inspire and not be timid to talk to their delegates.
Going forward, therefore, I am of the conviction that what the PPP needs is a transitional leader. A transitional leader that can tackle challenges with a defined purpose and direction to lead a major transformation and restructuring.
To this effect, we the undersigned reject the constituted Executive and demand for fresh elections to be held. Meanwhile, we have established an alternative executive pending proper and fair elections.