With Alagie Manneh
Who is Adama Kelepha Samba?
I am a citizen of Banjul born in 1951 at No 8 Ingram street, I’m the son of Alhagie Kelepha Samba and Ajaratou Fatou Jobe. I attended Crab Island school , Arbitrage High School and Stockport College in Manchester. I am known mainly as a businessman and football manager and coach but I also work for Banjul City Council as Market manager and I know the common Banjul issues very well. I am married and blessed with five children.
What is your background in politics?
Politics is mundane.
In fact all human beings are politicians or political animals by virtue of their survival stakes in the community. They articulate their needs and aspirations and safeguard well-earned gains either through direct participation or indirect representation.
I have been a keen player in national politics as a ‘direct participant’ and particularly in Banjul politics for many years. I grew up in a family in Banjul where politics was a vocation and my late father, Alh. Kelepha Samba groomed many present day heavy weights and many of late. He represented Banjul at the National Assembly (Parliament) and served in the Cabinet of former President Jawara as Minister of Works. He also served as Mayor of Banjul. These are all elective positions and deals with working with the people at the grassroots level. I was part and parcel of the team on the ground that brought about the desired changes in the then political landscape. So, therefore, I’m not a novice in politics particularly Banjul politics. I have the instinct and I can use it any time the need arises. I think this is the right time to unleash my political ambition and potential in Banjul with the new democratic dispensation in the Gambia.
Are you talking to any political party to sponsor you? If so which one?
My primary mandate is derived from my electorate, the people of Banjul. Any other party affiliation is secondary. Nonetheless, I will respect institutional arrangements but I will serve the people of Banjul irrespective of tribe, religion or political affiliation. Service delivery surpasses these narrow-minded inclinations which are deterrence to progress. I believe Banjul should graduate from this retrogressive thinking to a new paradigm shift of holistic and all-inclusive development approach.
Why do you want to become Mayor?
One thing is clear and that is I AM NOT LOOKING FOR A JOB. I am a well-established businessman. My instinct tells me that I have to join the race to salvage Banjul before it falls into the wrong hands. The people of Banjul have confidence in me and they have asked me to join hands with them in the crusade to uplift Banjul from the abyss of total destruction. It is sad to say but Banjul, our capital city is like a city in the aftermath of a war. There is total infrastructural decay – roads, drains, sewage system, etc, not to mention the poor environmental sanitation, which is a health hazard. My desire to become Mayor of Banjul is therefore premised on the collective will of the people of Banjul to work with me to address these issues that bedevil our city. Our campaign theme is therefore “Suhali Banjul” a political philosophy that is all-embracing.
You recently unveiled your candidature, why now and not since?
The mandate of the Councils has come to an end and this is the right time for me to unveil my candidature. My politics is not that of deception. I have a manifesto with tangible outputs that reflect the realities on the ground in present day Banjul and how to address them. As such, there is no need to beat the gun as if I am in a stiff competition. Every Gambian has the right to contest the Mayoral seat, but I can assure you that I am the first among equals and this will come to light on the day of reckoning.
Do you think you can deliver the job as Mayor, because Banjul is the capital city and it is very important?
If I can’t deliver then why aspire to become mayor! I know the intricacies of Banjul politics and the issues confronting our city. I also have a team of competent people who are willing to work with me and my councilors and together with a competent administration, we can make a difference. The new thinking in management is de-congestion and de-concentration of tasks for maximum positive results. If you have the right people and the resources you can effect sustainable development.
You cannot fail. I know I have the support base to impact on the development of Banjul. The icing on the cake is that I will be working with a government in a new democratic dispensation that has the interest of the people and the country at heart. We (local authorities) are the mirror of central government. As much as we need them they also need us. The operative modus operandi therefore is “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s”. Within the decentralization framework of the government the councils should be able to deliver the goods as required by the electorate.
What is your vision for Banjulians?
I think I have already articulated this well. Banjul is not only a municipality, like any other local government authority but it is also the capital city of the Gambia and the seat of government. Therefore the government also has a major stake. The government and the council have to work together to develop Banjul. It is disheartening to note that previous governments have failed to accept this reality. I cannot promise heaven on earth to Banjulians but I can promise to bring them to bring changes that all Banjulians will be proud of. As I said earlier on, I will work with Banjulians to make sure that our city is clean, healthy, active, working (vibrant) and safe. These include infrastructural development, environmental sanitation, youth and women empowerment. All these components have their workable outcomes which will be implemented during my tenure.
Any message for the Banjulians?
The days are gone when we leave the reign of power in Banjul in the hands of mediocre people. If you don’t know the rules you can’t play the game. This is the time to rejuvenate Banjul. Choose wisely or regret later. It may be too late then. We are in it together.