By Aisha Tamba
The chairman of Brikama Area Council has urged the entire executive of the UDP that took the decision on 27 March to expel him from the party, to resign from their positions saying they flouted the law and the rules applicable to the party and acted wrongly against him and his cohorts.
Sheriffo Sonko was a key figure in the UDP but fell out of favour with the rank and file of the yellow brigade after they accused him of shifting his allegiance to the newly-formed National Peoples Party and its leader President Barrow who himself was a darling now turned untouchable for the country’s biggest party.
Towards the end of March, UDP expelled Mr Sonko and two other councillors but rescinded the decision after realising the due process was not followed.
The party went back to the drawing board and ticked the boxes before eventually writing to him last week demanding an explanation why the party should not sack him.
Yesterday morning, Chairman Sonko wrote to the party saying instead of talking about expelling him, those executive members who orchestrated his initial expulsion should instead resign.
In the letter delivered to the UDP head office yesterday morning and seen by The Standard, Sheriffo Sonko stated: “A similar action previously was made by expelling the eight Members of the National Assembly from the party without following any due process. These officials have put the party members to shame after my initial reply to them.
“The allegations in the charges are of course baseless, and though a decision has already been taken in this matter I am sending this letter for the record and for the sake of posterity.
The letter sent to me purports to provide explanations before a decision is taken as whether I should be expelled from the party. In fact, it is clear that a decision has already been made in relation to this matter and that same [decision] was made several weeks ago and even communicated to the public before now.
“Party officials have been clear about this, and based on the several comments made and reported, I have no doubt that the decision or conclusion of the committee is a foregone one.
Statements have been made in the media making it clear the conclusion that will be reached in relation to this matter. As a result, although the ‘charges’ are without any merit or truth and have been framed and are intended to achieve a particular result, there is no point in participating in what would only be a charade.
“According to media sources and interviews given by party officials, there is no way either I or anyone of the persons against whom these trumped up charges have been brought will have a fair hearing.
“I have evidence to refute all these unfounded allegations both in letters and videos. The party and its officials are aware of the evidence that is available to refute the charges.
1. It was the UDP party leader Ousainu Darboe who urged all the party members to support President Adama Barrow to achieve all his goals in promoting the NDP. He has made this comment at many of the UDP rallies.
2. Even though I was never informed of any executive meeting by the UDP West Coast Region executive committee, yet immediately after the regional congress, the executive seized the regional bureau from the former executive violently. This was done without even the courtesy of informing me of what was planned as the political head. After breaking into the office, all my photographs which had been inside the bureau were torn up.
3. The only meetings of the president which I have ever attended were state functions.
4. I have never also, at any point in time, made any declaration that I had ceased being a member of the UDP nor did Iever attend any other party’s meetings which did not require my official presence as chairman of the Brikama Area Council.
5. While it is correct that I did participate in an interview with Kerr Fatou it is not all true that I ever said that I was not a member of UDP.
6. I rather should have been the one complaining about the way I have been treated by the party. When the new regional executive was elected, they never paid a courtesy call on me, as is custom. They only wrote to me when they needed, it was the regional committee that ostracised me. In a bid to have matters settled, I even invited them to my office and told them my complaint and mentioned how I felt they were sidelining me. Although they promised to stop this but never fulfilled their promise.
7. If ever I have championed the cause of the president it is because all of us, party militants were urged to do so by our party leader Ousainu Darboe. Any efforts to really support for him was in his role as the president of the republic and not as a head of any political party. As the political head of the region, it is a national duty to support the cause of the head of state which I will never relent from doing in the interest of The Gambia and the people who elected me and reposed their confidence in me.
8. Having been elected to try to make our region better, it is my opinion that the party is trying to distract not only me but other elected members from the tasks that we are mandated to achieve. Our electorate wants development not just politics. So I will continue to work to ensure that the lives of the people of our Region is improved as long as I am in office and I have their confidence.”