By Alagie Manneh
Local government minister Musa Drammeh has responded to remarks by UDP leader Ousainu Darboe who accused him and the central government of attempts to highjack the Basse market project for “political gains.”
Welcoming a large group of defectors to the UDP last Saturday, Mr Darboe warned the central government against appropriating the authority of local government actors in the area.
“They know that the election is coming and they want to use [the Basse Market project] for their political gain, and that will never happen in this country!” Darboe said the project is a local government project that neither the president nor the lands minister has any authority to preside over the opening of that market. “The president has no business to preside over the inauguration of the market,” he said.
Responding to the comments, Minister Musa Drammeh dismissed them as “nonsense”, insisting that now is not the time to debate who has the authority to preside over the inauguration.
“That statement is premature. When we get there [the time of inauguration], we will address the issue,” he told The Standard.
He added: “All that I told the chairman [of the area council] is to wait until when all the work is completed and handed over to the government and to the council. But as at now, it is under construction. We will discuss that when we reach that bridge because the works are not even completed yet. Those comments [by Darboe] are premature. They are all baseless comments.”
The minister also said contrary to what the veteran politician peddled, he is not aware of any UDP contribution to the market project.
“I am not aware of UDP contribution to the market. The market was fully funded by the Gambia government. So it is nonsense that we are trying to score political points with this project,” he stated.