By Omar Bah
Following a bitter election campaign in which she had a personal clash with President Barrow for bragging rights as to who controls Banjul, Mayor Rohey Lowe has confirmed to The Standard that she will meet the head of state today to address their ‘differences’ and foster a more mutually beneficial working relationship in the interest of Banjul.
According to the mayor, elections are just a means of getting to power but once one is elected, one must work for the interest of everybody.
She further disclosed that now that the election cycle has ended and both of them having learned from their mistakes ‘we should forge ahead and work for the interest of the country’. “I have a desire to work with President Barrow and his government to transform the city of Banjul. I have the initiatives and contacts as head of council but the government and the president have an important role that cannot be ignored and I want us to work together as Gambians,” Lowe said. The mayor said the president is “not only her brother but also a colleague because we came from the same party and he supported me during my first term. So, I have to be very fair with him even though we are now in different parties”.
“I want to make peace with everyone during my last term, so that I will be able to leave a good legacy. So, I want the president to support me in having that legacy because my legacy is his legacy. This is why our discussions today will be centred around issues in Banjul,” she said.
The mayor said one topic she would raise is that the council will want the president to support them in building 1,000 houses in Banjul.
Asked whether she has ambitions to run for president, Mayor Lowe said: “Yes, if my party (UDP) chooses me, I will humbly take it, but until then, let us all wait for the party to decide. As we speak, we have a party leader who has never said he has resigned. For me, the issue of who will lead the UDP is not a conversation.”
Mayor Lowe urged her fellow politicians to understand that politics of insults and character assassination will soon be over because the electorate is politically conscious about issues and not insults. She said politics of insults and character assassination have forced many women away from politics, and that has seriously affected the country’s development. “I hope moving forward more Gambian women will get into politics because we should not continue to allow men to decide policies for us,” she said.
She added that keeping Banjul clean and the youth volunteerism project will be her main priorities during her current and final term. “I will also take advantage of my last term to continue championing the empowerment of women,” she said.
She said during her first term, the council was able to build a Youth for Excellence Centre, secure an EU project at Crab Island, build the Niumi market, install lights, and improve waste management, amongst others.
“I want to thank the people of Banjul, especially the women and youths. This is the first time in the history of Banjul that a mayor has been re-elected for a second term. They have given me everything; now it is my responsibility to return their gratitude. I will take my second term very seriously,” she said.
Mayor Lowe, who is also the head of the African chapter of the international women organisation Refela, said the body has supported the construction of 10 boreholes across the country, and there are plans to construct another 20 new boreholes.