By Yusef Taylor, @FlexDan_YT
The National Assembly member for Banjul North, Hon Momodou Lamin B. Bah has responded to President Adama Barrow’s plans to appoint a Governor to rival the Mayors of Banjul City Council (BCC) and Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC). The former BCC Spokesperson who worked under Banjul Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe believes the President’s statement “is a clear manifestation of Political dishonesty”.
President Barrow told Gambians during his Meet the People’s Tour in Talinding’s Buffer Zone that his government would appoint Governors for KMC and BCC which traditionally had Mayors instead of Governors. The President made these statements on Sunday 11th December 2022 in Wollof adding that the new Governors will directly represent the President and head all Government institutions within the Municipality and the City.
In addition to this, the President also expressed disappointment at the poor turnout to the meeting and faulted KMC Parliamentarians for failing to attend to represent their people at the meeting to raise the concerns of their electorates for the government’s intervention.
KMC and BCC are occupied by Mayors from the UDP in Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda and Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe, the latter being the first female Gambian Mayor. President Barrow was promoted as the UDP Flagbearer in the build-up to the 2016 Presidential Elections after UDP Party Leader Ousainou Darboe was arrested and jailed alongside his entire executive. Then UDP Candidate, Mr Adama Barrow was eventually elected as the Coalition Flagbearer and won his first term in 2016, defeating former President Jammeh.
After President Barrow and then Vice President Ousainou Darboe parted ways in 2019, the President formed the National People’s Party (NPP) and marched on to win his second term in office in early December 2021. Since the two parted, firing public statements at each other, the NPP and the UDP have been at loggerheads.
Hon Bah believes that “the President and his team have already seen what is about to happen next year as far as the local government elections is concerned. We are already winning and In Shallah we will win this [2023 Local Government] elections”. In his view the President “now wants to create a burden to people who really have Gambia at heart. To work for the betterment of this nation. For the betterment of their various Cities and Municipalities. To make work difficult for them”.
However, Hon Bah believes President Barrow “will never achieve” his plans to take over the BCC and KMC. “Let him also understand that there are laws in this country,” said Hon Bah.
Our reporter asked Hon Bah about the impact of the stalemate between the President and the UDP, in particular the KMC and BCC. He questioned the Hon member on how the Executive and the various Institutions can get to the point of working together.
In response Hon Bah explained that he is always willing to work together “on issues that will unite us. I believe I am one of the pioneers of that initiative”. He recalled that in one of his deliberations in Parliament he stated that “if the President fails it is us Parliamentarians who failed this country”.
“One thing I will appeal to the President and to the Gambians is that we must come together. A problem that is not solved is still a problem but a problem that is solved is no more a problem. Success can only happen when our dreams are bigger than our excuses and it is high time for us to change dreams into realities,” said Hon Bah.
Responding to the President’s claims that Parliamentarians boycotted his Meet the People Tour Hon Bah believes that the President “coming up with such allegations against National Assembly members is uncalled for and I am condemning it and I am telling the public that it is not true.”
The member for Banjul North clarified that “what the President said about National Assembly members more particularly members from the United Democratic Party not attending the Meet the People Tour is not true. We were not communicated to”.
“For me personally I did not even know that he was coming to Banjul. Is that right? At the end of the day, you start saying whatever you want. You think those platforms are meant to divide the Gambian people? Those platforms are to come up with solutions,” said the young Parliamentarian.
Our journalist spoke to the NAM for Bundungka Kunda, Hon Sulayman Jammeh of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC) who confirmed that he was in attendance at the President’s meet the Peoples Tour. He clarified that the President was not even aware that he was in attendance even though he also never received an invitation to grace the event.