By Tabora Bojang
The fallout from the December 16 national congress of the former ruling party, the PPP, is still raging with accusations and counter accusations over the legitimacy of the election.
Papa Njie, a relatively unknown figure in the party supported by former interim leader Omar Jallow OJ, beat Bakary Dabo a former vice president supported by Yaya Cessay, the national president and other veterans.
Dabo’s supporters have since claimed the election was fraudulent and have vowed to form their own task force to run the party until proper elections are conducted, while calling on the Njie camp to go.
Two weeks ago, OJ launched a personal attack on Bakary Dabo and defended the election process.
However on Tuesday, Bakary Dabo convened a press briefing for the first time to comment on the election.
He said the December leadership poll was ‘illegitimate’ insisting that it was marred with ‘fraud and serious irregularities.’
Mr Dabo, one of the most respected post-independence politicians said he had reflected over and cross-checked the whole congress and its electoral process and concluded that it was a sham exercise characterized by swindling and as such, he has no intention of accepting or complying with the outcome.
“The congress completely departed from the established principles and norms of the PPP. There were lots of fraudulent manipulations and irregularities and the whole process lacks legitimacy because of many instances of fraud and manipulation, which have since come to light,” Dabo said.
He described the congress as a mixture of folklore and a very cheap politics that does not reflect the wishes of the masses of the party and its leadership with non-adherence to established minimum practices.
He said prior to the election, members of his camp were assured by OJ of IEC’s backing in conducting the electoral process, which gave them a lot of hope but to their surprise, the IEC representatives at the congress revealed to them that they were only there to observe and not to conduct elections.
“Congresses everywhere are expected to be a meeting of duly selected and accredited delegates of the different components that constitute the party. They are supposed to engage in frank and serious discussion on issues of importance about the life of the party in terms of its achievements, future directions and plans. Therefore, the minimum you expect is substantial debates in an open and frank atmosphere leading to decisions, which reflect the views of the majority of the delegates since they themselves are delegates to reflect on the views of the people they represent.”
However according to Mr Dabo, the PPP December congress was conducted in a most chaotic and shambolic manner, as there were no debates.
“It was all being harangued with cheap politics, for three days no single delegate from Fatoto to Gunjur was given the floor to speak even a word,” he added.
According to BB even for a political rally, you allow some people to speak.
Dabo also claimed that during the congress members of his camp were treated with outmost discourtesy by OJ and Kabba Jallow. “They harangued us throughout, either by themselves or their high griots.”
BB said he now felt comforted by the fact that not only him but also the vast majority of PPP followers in the country feel the same.
He revealed that he and other senior party members including Alhagie Yaya Ceesay, interim national president are now focusing on an essential work of a legitimate instruction that emanated from the Bakau Declaration.
The Bakau declaration, he said, was a meeting that involved 35 constituency heads which ended with a solemn declaration representing the strong views and convictions that firmly, categorically and definitively rejected the congress and its outcome.
“We are now going ahead and trying to recover our party from those who have tried to use fraud and manipulation to highjack it by any means and reorganising the PPP outside the framework of anything that emanates from the December congress.”
Asked to comment on the personal attacks launched by OJ, BB said by principle he does not stoop that low to exchange frivolities with any one or engages in personal attacks.