By Omar Bah
The group of 19 councilors supporting Chairman Sheriffo Sonko in the Brikama Area Council yesterday issued a press release to inform West Coast Region electorate that the rumour circulating around Chairman Sonko’s removal from office has nothing or very little to do with them.
“We want to sincerely inform the general public that, in the absence of party politics, we remain in solidarity with Chairman Sonko to the last day he or anyone us will say bye-bye from council and in the interest of peace, security and the development of mighty West Coast Region. We hope that the matter will be treated in a very professional manner without fear or favour and in the absence of political hatred for a better West Coast Region,” the statement reads.
It continued: “It is true that section 19 (g) of the Local Government Act 2002 has an insertion amendment 2015 that ‘a person shall cease to be a member of a council; if s/he ceases to be a member of the political party of which s/he was a member at the time of his or her election’. Yes, we agree with the clause but we feel that the act did not further mention or spell out as to who is responsible of what and how should it be done when such instances happened. Also, people should know that Brikama Area Council is not the custodian of the Local Government Act 2002 and the National Electoral Act and for that such matter such should either be directed to the Independent Electoral Commission and/or the ministry responsible rather than raising eyebrows on other council members.
There are twenty-eight (28) elected and nine (9) nominated councillors in Brikama Area Council. Fifteen elected and five nominated councilors are in solidarity with His Worship Honourable Sheriffo Sonko to the last day he or anyone of us will leave the Council.”
Meanwhile a few days ago some 16 councilors also wrote to the IEC expressing their support for the removal of chairman Sonko, arguing that according to the Local Government Act 2002 Sonko should have left office after ceasing to be a member of the UDP which said it has expelled him. The councilors said they no longer recognise Sonko as their chairman.“We unanimously stand to uphold and observe the local government Amendment Act 2015 and its due application. We hereby wish to disassociate or abstain from any General Council activity involving Sheriffo Sonko. By law as stipulated in the Local Government Act we swore to uphold, Sheriffo Sonko is illegally occupying the office of Chairman at BAC.”