By Omar Bah
Barely 24 hours before the mayoral and chairperson elections, Kanifing, Banjul and West Coast Region candidates have expressed confidence in winning. Saturday’s poll is expected to be one of the most hotly contested local government elections given the importance the governing NPP party attaches to the seats in Kanifing, Banjul and West Coast.
One person who has been the main target for the NPP campaign, Mayor Talib Bensouda told The Standard yesterday he was confident of winning.
“I think the councillorship election was a litmus test and going by what we know, residents of KM are satisfied with my work and they would like that to continue. They also want me to come up with more innovative solutions to their problems so going by the track record from the National Assembly to the councillorship elections, I think the chances of my return are greater than those of my contestants,” he said.
His opponent, Minister Bakary Badjie of the NPP, could not be reached for comment but a member of his campaign team, Baboucarr Jeng, told The Standard: “As you could observe, all the stakeholders of the NPP coalition are active and the ground has changed in favour of Bakary Badjie. I think Talib Bensouda should prepare his congratulatory message for Bakary Badjie because victory is almost certain.”
Banjul mayor Rohey Lowe simply said: “I am comfortable because I am sure the people of Banjul will come out on Saturday and vote for development.”
The NPP Banjul candidate Ebou Faye said he was confident of winning and called on Banjulians to turn out in their numbers and vote for him on Saturday. He advised all his supporters to exercise discipline and respect for the electoral laws.
When contacted for comment, the NPP candidate for Brikama Area Council, Seedy Ceesay, simply said: “I have a manifesto for the people of West Coast.”
The UDP candidate for the region, Yankuba Darboe said: “We are hopeful that we will be victorious. The only observation we have is that President Barrow interrupted our campaign because his people have not been following the itinerary. We had to juggle our itinerary to accommodate their caravan’s movements but apart from that we have been good.”
He said the president and his government have made the campaign look tense because their campaign has been about personal attacks.
“So, it has not been policy directed but about tribe and heritage while on our side, it has been about policies and what we want to do for our people. The NPP is an unfortunate and terrible example for this country because they have nothing to sell to our people apart from the seeds of discord,” he said.
Independent candidate Ahmad Gitteh said his team has the greatest chance of winning given their unique programmes and the fact that they are not representing any political party.
“We have supporters from across the board and our policies are the clearest so we have a great chance of winning,” he said.
Commenting on the CepRass report, Gitteh said: “I am a statistician and with due respect to CepRass, the timing of the sample is of immense importance when doing a survey because in politics a day is a long time and it has been almost three weeks since the poll came out so I will say that survey will have very little impact. The realities on the ground are very different right now.”