In NPP West Coast runoff primaries
By Tabora Bojang
There were dramatic scenes in Brikama yesterday as the governing National People’s Party attempted to stage a run off for the party’s ticket for the chairmanship election between top contenders Ahmad Gitteh and Seedy Ceesay. The party held an inconclusive election last week following what it called a stalemate between Ceesay and Gitteh.
Mr Gitteh had said he was robbed after his winning vote was declared invalid.
He vowed never to take part in any more selection process.
However, Mr Gitteh was present at yesterday’s re-run but demanded his name be removed from the ballot.
This was not granted and Mr Gitteh walked out as officials went ahead to hold the contest declaring Seedy Ceesay as winner with 46 votes against Gitteh’s 22.
Gitteh’s campaign team said he is a victim of betrayal. “They are denying us the right to contest for the NPP but as President Barrow himself always say ‘you can own your party but you cannot own the people,” his supporters chanted.
Following the vote counting, NPP’s first deputy national president and minister of agriculture Demba Sabally said 68 delegates participated in the elections out of 79 delegates from which 46 voted for Seedy Ceesay and 22 voted for Ahmed Gitteh.
“The process is clear and transparent and I want to urge those who are angry to understand that we are all from the same family and we should rally behind Seedy Ceesay and support him and make sure he becomes the next chairman,” Sabally said.
NPP’s campaign manager, Lamin Cham, warned against blame games, saying the runoff is only a formality since God has decided who will be the party’s flag bearer before yesterday.
“All political analysts are of the belief that West Coast is a battle ground. We don’t expect tougher fights in other regions but West Coast and missing out on it means losing all. We cannot afford to allow the UDP to take over here because that will be a disaster for the people of West Coast, the NPP and the Gambia by extension” Cham warned.
In his acceptance remarks, Seedy Ceesay thanked the delegates and the NPP top brass for bestowing their trust and confidence in him. He urged supporters to tie their belts and start work immediately to ensure they win the BAC chairmanship. “The campaign starts today and I urge you to emulate president Barrow in respect and perseverance,” Ceesay said.
Presidential Adviser Saihou Mballow said the organising committee came under a lot of pressure but it did not deter them from delivering justice.
He dismissed allegations by some members that Ceesay is a member of the PDOIS, saying “all of us were somewhere else before coming to the NPP including President Adama Barrow who was in the UDP.”
Outgoing BAC Chairman Sheriffo Sonko who declared his support for Seedy Ceesay, said, he forgo his chairmanship to save the NPP from disunity.
He described Ceesay as a loyal member of the NPP which he manifested in the 2021 presidential elections. “Seedy was quiet because of his job as a journalist,” Sheriffo Sonko said.