By Alagie Manneh
The deputy mayor of the Banjul, in league with five other councilors, have yesterday written to President Adama Barrow asking for his “immediate intervention” in the internal tussle at the Council.
The Council has been bedeviled by internal wrangling and governance crisis Between the mayor Rohey Lowe and her deputy Aziz Gaye.
The letter to the Gambian leader, which detailed the issues from unauthorised appointment of a certain councilor to operational absence of rules of procedures amongst other issues, came in the wake of the local government ministry’s advice to the deputy mayor asking him to refrain from addressing them in missives without the expressed consent of the mayor.
In the letter to the president, the deputy mayor, Aziz Dabakh Gaye and five councilors, said they were “morally obligated” to report the “alarming irregularities, persistent statutory violations and the concerning disregard for established governance protocols” at the Council.
“The gravity of the issues presented herein necessitates your immediate intervention,” the letter stated.
They also informed the president of their continuous engagement with the local government ministry, saying it has “regrettably yielded disappointing results”.
“The ministry’s response, or rather its lack thereof, to our letters – which are attached for your reference – is a source of profound disappointment,” it continued. “Despite the gravity of the issues raised, the ministry’s response has been characterized by a lack of substantive action and a disconcerting failure to fulfill its supervisory and regulatory role. Even in instances where attempts at intervention were made, they appeared to be selective and conspicuously biased.”
They accused the governance director, David Gomez, of choosing to divert attention towards “peripheral matters” rather than addressing the core concerns they said were raised in their communications. “This deliberate sidestepping of the substantive issues at hand raises significant concerns about governance within the council and the accountability of council officials.”
They claimed that the General Council has passed a resolution for the establishment of seven different committees, however, they added, the mayor refused to recognise its legitimacy.
“She argued that the establishment of two committees, namely Foreign Relations and Safety and Security Committees, cannot be allowed as they are not part of the respective committees cited by the Local Government Act. This represents a grave misconception and misrepresentation of the relevant provision.”
They also informed the president of the absence of what they called a “proper handover mechanism and its consequences, the misrepresentation of statutory provisions, and the dilapidated scholarship system” amongst other issues.
Consequently, the letter noted: “In light of the foregoing, we urgently request your immediate intervention to rectify these anomalies. The restoration of good governance, adherence to the Local Government Act 2002, the establishment of rules of procedures or standing orders, and the appointment of a clerk to the Council, and the reinstatement of trust and confidence in the BCC’s leadership are of paramount importance.”
Mayor Lowe’s side of the story will be sought.