Mr Abdoulie Saine was the first Banjulian MP to serve in an Ecowas parliament. He was born in 1955 to Mustapha Saine, a doctor, and Ajaratou Haddy Njie, both of blessed memories.
Saine started his early education in Banjul and went to Armitage High School, but was soon expelled and enrolled eventually at Latrikunda School, graduating in 1974.
Saine attended vocational training schools and GTTI for City and Guilds course. Later, he traveled to the United States and attended Matin Luther King High School, and graduated with a diploma in mechanical engineering.
He returned home in 1993. Following the July 22nd military coup, Saine joined the AFPRC/APRC and was later elected and went on to serve 10-years in parliament, representing Banjul Central, until in 2017 when he lost his seat to Muhammed Ndow. However, he later claimed the people of Banjul Central ‘regretted’ their decision and had aplogised for voting him out.
In this week’s edition, he talks to Mayors Podium anchor about his politics and Banjul.
Your resume is not bad at all. Tell us more, particularly politics. When did you first start?
I started politics shortly after President Jammeh came to power, that was in 1996. I aspire for the position of National Assembly. There were three of us; myself, Musa Sinyan and Kofi Harris. Musa was selected and he was elected later. The second term I aspired as well together with Kofi. Musa wanted to came in but he was later employed as protocol officer. So Kofi told me because of the Christian community in our area, I should halt my candidature and give him chance to run. I did. Although the people within the community were pushing me to go independent but I told them I belong to a party, and if the party selected somebody else, I should rally behind that candidate. This is what happened; Kofi went in and he was elected. After his term, the third term, that is 2007, I came in and was giving the chance and I was elected. Since then, up to 2017, I served ten years in parliament and was the first Banjulian to serve in an Ecowas parliament.
Why were you expelled from Armitage High School?
It was based on some misunderstanding between myself at the basketball court and one Olley Njie. This was at the time of Tony Blain, the former principal of Armitage. So I came back and enrolled at Latrikunda School and graduated in 1974.
And now you eye the Banjul hot-seat. Why do you want to become mayor for Banjul?
After my parliamentary defeat in the last elections, it wasn’t in my mind to go and stand for mayor, but the way things are going on in Banjul and the status of Banjul, Banjul needs somebody who can deliver their development aspirations.
There are those who think government should come and develop Banjul but no, we are responsible for the deterioration of Banjul. Most Banjulians desert their family compound and find land in remote places which they could have done in their family homes. This contributed to the downfall of Banjul.
The reason why I came into politics is I wanted to shape the legacy of the APRC party because everybody knows what we have done for this country. So I just want to continue from where we stopped. And I believe I am the right person to do that. We have programmes and initiatives for this City. I have a vision for this City.
Most aspirants use their track record in public service as a tool to convince the electorate to vote for them. What will you be using?
Like I earlier said, I belong to a party, a party that have the people and country at heart. Now, I said we stopped somewhere in our development agenda for Banjul, that’s where I want to continue.
So, most of these aspirants are only just shouting, they know nothing about politics. They are just seeking money. In fact, one of them worked at the BCC before. And we haven’t seen any impact. Where were they? What have they contributed to the welfare and development of Banjul? What have they initiated? Nothing. So, how can they convince people that they are the right people for Banjul? That’s the big question. For me, the people know me and the developments that I brought and I did not only represent Banjul Central, but Banjul as a whole. My view was Banjul South and Banjul Central cannot be okay when the whole of Banjul is not okay. That is my belief. That’s why when I advocate, I always advocate for the whole of Banjul, its progress and unity.
Mr Saine you claimed that you have the people of Banjul at heart, but many Banjulians expressed indignation and outrage over former Presidents ‘bleach’ remarks directed at Banjul women. Do you have fears this might affect your candidature?
No, no, no. Maybe he was misquoted or whatever. He was talking about this bleaching and was saying it for the interest of the entire Gambian women. And now, everybody knows the implications. It is not something that’s good. You rather spend your money on something worthwhile rather than on something that would not benefit you.
So you don’t believe those comments would affect your candidature?
That has even died out… Nobody is talking about that anymore.
What is your vision for Banjul?
There are about four or five main issues that need to be immediately addressed. First, the garbage, which I already have a plan for, it’s a collective responsibility. First of all, you make sure every council have an office in their ward where people could meet and discuss. Now if you have an office in every ward, which would not cost more than D2000 per month and you have the youth of that ward… these are the people that volunteer every week to clean their own environment. Now you tell them come on board and we will be doing this twice a week and you will be paid for it. This way we create employment for the youths and the environment stays clean.
Secondly, if you look at Banjul, they are filling the place with all these warehouses and not building any dwelling houses on top of them. This is why most Banjulians today are migrating to the Kombo’s. According to a Local Government Act, within the City, coming inside Banjul by Independent Drive or around Hagan Street coming down, there shouldn’t be any warehouse but now it is allowed and it is happening. I don’t know why, but I will not tolerate this.
Thirdly, look at the trucks in Banjul, people can’t even move about freely in Banjul. My plan is to make sure after 7pm, nobody will be loading goods on trucks or trucks blocking roads and our traffic. This way, the traffic will be free.
I have a nephew in the US, who is CEO of a solar company and I spoke to him about three days ago and he already pledged 200 solar lamps for Banjul. And we will try to go get 500 more.
Now that we are a democracy, genuine Gambians but also several Toms and Harris all eye careers in politics with competition for political offices fierce more now than ever before. What are your worries going head to head with Rohey Lowe, Ebou Faal and others?
I don’t think so. I am not concerned at all because as a party, I have a base and based on my track record in Banjul, I believe I am the threat here. And I am very confident that I will be elected as the mayor of Banjul insha-allah.
What is your political slogan?
Deakalli Banjul, which means bringing Banjul back to life.
What about your regular activities for enjoyment?
I am a sportsman and a professional tennis coach, which I didn’t tell you earlier. I have a diploma as a tennis coach. I like reading and hanging out with friends and drinking ataya.
You said you are confident of a landslide come May 12…
That’s what I told you. I said the next mayor of Banjul insha-allah will be honorable Abdoulie Saine APRC.
What next for ‘honorable’ Abdoulie Saine if he loses this election?
No, I am not a loser. I am not a loser. I have an edge over all of them.
Any closing comments?
I call on all Banjulians to come and vote for the interest of Banjul. Come and vote for Honorable Abdoulie Saine of the APRC. Also, let’s maintain unity and oneness we are known for.