By Lamin Cham
It is not always that a new minister gets high public rating just after taking office but that seems to be the case with Sheriff Abba Sanyang, the new Minster of Local Government, Lands and Religious Affairs.
Even before he marks hundred days in office, Mr Sanyang has made headlines for all the right reasons. Taking over toxic and mammoth land issues, the minister made a sound judgment over the state of real estate business in the country, clarifying that contrary to widely held belief, most of the real estate businesses are Gambian owned and made his intention clear about how to sanitise the sector. Sanyang also won praises from the public when he boldly addressed the brewing tension between the Ahmadiyya Jama’at and some imams from the main Muslim sect by categorically stating that every Gambian has a right to belong and worship any faith including the Ahmadis. “That is what a serious authority does. He is bold and courageous to say or do the right thing as expected of a government,” a prominent Gambian academic told The Standard.
Minister Sanyang also received plaudits from analysts who observed that despite the fact that almost all the local councils under his ministry are run by opposition political parties, his current dealings with them have been professional and patriotic. “I think the toxic relations between the councils and government will now end. The new minister is a technocrat not a politician. He is very very professional,” a senior local government official told The Standard.
Meanwhile, The Gambian consul in Angola, Haji Jawara has personally praised Minister Sanyang for his “humility and respect” to Gambians without discrimination. “I have had the opportunity to deal with his office and from my experience and what I have heard from other people, the new minister is truly a good servant of President Barrow and the Gambian people. I have lot of respect for his efficiency, candid dealings and frank interactions with people on matters under his purview,” Mr Jawara, also a businessman, said.
Mr Sanyang is a seasoned politician and administrator and former teacher.