Minister responds to Mayor Lowe over travel clearance palaver

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By Alagie Manneh

Local Government minister Musa Drammeh has said yesterday that Banjul mayor Rohey Malick Lowe, who has said she will fight the ‘undemocratic travel clearance order, is free to “go to court” to fight the legality of a directive obligating her to request permission for travel from the minister.

Addressing a town hall meeting last Saturday, Mayor Lowe denounced the ‘Jammeh-era executive order’ and voiced her desire to fight its legality in court. She narrated how she missed a proposed travel to Liberia because her request to the ministry for clearance was not even ‘acknowledged’.

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Minister Drammeh, in an interview with The Standard, denied receipt of the mayor’s letter, before challenging her to take the matter to court if she so desires.

“The courts are here for everybody. We have no problems with anything that is going to court. We have no problems with that. We will get the Attorney General to represent us there adequately. Let her go to court, please,” Minister Drammeh said.

He said that there is a procedure that must be followed anytime letters are sent to his ministry. “It goes through the PS before it comes for my approval. It doesn’t just come automatically and [get] placed on my table. Maybe she does not know how administration works. If she is angry, that is her problem. That has nothing to do with me”.

The Minister said he has since spoken to his PS, who also denied receiving a letter from the mayor’s office. Drammeh added that his office has in the past approved letters for the mayor’s travels. “She is complaining, but she wouldn’t tell you the number of approvals we have given her. Nobody is stopping her from going to court [but] this is the law as at now, until it changes, this is the law,” the minister said.