By Alagie Manneh
Banjul Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe has been traveling outside of the country despite an ‘executive order’ obligating her to request for clearance any time she wishes to travel.
Mayor Lowe denounced the Jammeh-era executive order at a town hall meeting, voicing her desire to fight its legality in court.
Defending the directive in March, local government minister Musa Drammeh responded that Mayor Lowe was “free to go to court” to fight the legality of the directive.
But in an expansive interview yesterday, the mayor disclosed that she has in fact since been traveling without clearance, admitting that she is “testing the waters”.
“Regarding the issue of clearance which they say is an executive order, I don’t know, I have tested the waters,” she said. “I said it the last time that I will be traveling without clearance, and I did, and I came back and nothing happens.”
Mayor Lowe, who was not specific, said the directive issue was being pushed by others in government, and not necessarily President Barrow himself.
“I don’t think the president has any interest in this. You know, sometimes, they use their powers to do things that they know very well that is not necessary at all. You cannot just tell a mayor you cannot travel because you don’t have a clearance. I think it’s important for people to start testing the waters,” she said.
She added: “It’s not that they are going to put you in jail. So, you test the waters and see what will happen. Sometimes, it is a waste of resources and time [to go to court]. You don’t have to battle everything in court. If it is a law, indeed, I will respect the law. But you cannot tell me that this is an executive order when I know very well that the president doesn’t even have an interest in who is traveling or not, whether you have clearance or not. I have seen the MPs. MPs don’t have clearance to travel. So, this is why I say that I will keep testing the waters until they flank a red flag.”
Mayor Lowe was speaking in a Standard interview to be aired and published Friday.