By Omar Bah
After leaving town for more than three months now, the chairman of the Kuntaur Area Council, Saikou Jawara, has denied rumours that he is planning to abscond in the United States where he travelled for the Conference of World Mayors in September and has not returned. His companion, the Chief Executive Officer Momodou Sambou, has since returned without him, prompting speculations that he might have absconded.
But speaking in an audio shared with The Standard, Chairman Saikou Jawara said he has no intention whatsoever to abscond and accused the opposition of peddling lies against him for political points.
“It is only the opposition who are claiming that I have absconded, but those who know me will tell you that I am not the type. I am not even thinking about absconding. I am here struggling, but I cannot come home without achieving my dream,” he said.
Mr Jawara explained that he is not however worried about the allegations because he is sure that when he returns, the people of Kuntaur and Gambians in general will benefit from the projects he will bring.
“Besides, I am in constant contact with my council, updating them on all the developments here. Just recently I had a zoom meeting with the whole council, and I communicate with my deputy almost every day. I am working on a lot of projects, including a water project, which is my priority. I have also already secured an investor who is willing to build a clinic in the area with modern facilities. I have also secured another investor who is willing to manufacture solar panels in The Gambia and export them outside as well as one who wants to promote wrestling in the Gambia,” Chairman Jawara said.
He disclosed that his reason for staying is because he wants to complete all the meetings scheduled on dates far apart and that it would be much easier to stay and complete them than come back, and use the funds of the council to go back to the US.
“I will complete my three-month stay on the 22nd of December, and I am planning to come back at the end of January,” he said.
Also speaking to The Standard, deputy chairman Musa Bah, confirmed that the council is in constant contact with the chairman who has been updating them on his stay. “I can tell you that the chairman’s stay has already started yielding fruits—just a few days ago, some investors in Spain reached out to us with the intention of funding some of our projects,” deputy chairman Bah said.
He said Mr Jawara has assured him that he will come because he has no intention to abscond.
“Those making these allegations should remember that the Kuntaur Area Council is a very poor council, which cannot afford air tickets for the chairman to be going back and forth to the US,” he said.