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NPP chieftain admits price hikes is a factor for election ‘setbacks’

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By Omar Bah

A spokesperson for the governing NPP has admitted that the hike in prices of food commodities and the recent increment of electricity bills might have been responsible for the party’s dismal performance in the local government elections.

Reacting to Saturday’s mayoral and chairpersonship election results which saw the NPP and the UDP sharing an equal number of councils across the country, NPP communication secretary and an adviser to the president, Sulayman Camara, said: “We thank our supporters who came out to vote for our candidates in the past local government election. We have heard you loud and clear. One of the issues that stands out during the campaign is the increase in the commodity prices, energy and water.” He said post-Covid and the Russia-Ukraine war were “quite problematic” for all governments including The Gambia.

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“For Covid, the disruption of the supply chains was the main reason for the increase in some commodity prices. As the world’s largest supplier of gas and crude oil, Russia’s war with Ukraine has a severe effect on the whole world in terms of energy prices. All the above factors contribute to the voter apathy which impacted our performance and expectations at the polls,” he said.

He said the NPP is “the ruling and still the largest party” in the country.

“We went into this election with one incumbent and we were able to uproot three sitting chairmen from their seats. We have the largest majority in the National Assembly and we also have the largest number of councillors. So, we are in charge of the grassroots. Our adversaries, the UDP are saying that we only won in the provinces, this is preposterous as the provincial vote is quite important to our dear party. We will go back to the drawing board and galvanise,” he said.

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Camara said the UDP is celebrating a success in the protest vote and these voters will disappear into thin air from their support base. “The voters have sent us a wake-up call and they are not necessarily supporting the UDP, because the UDP is a very divided party and they have no concrete policy agenda for this country. An angry lot cannot bring any meaningful development to this country. The NPP will come out to explain the importance of local government elections to our supporters. As a party, we have suffered a severe and unjustifiable hounding from certain media houses, many a time clarification was never sought from our end. We urge all our supporters to be law-abiding,” he said.

He said the president and the secretary general of the NPP cherish and value the peace and stability that the nation is enjoying and these will be jealously guarded at all times.

“NPP is a progressive and inclusive party. As a party and a government, we are going back to work to bring unprecedented developments to the length and breadth of this nation,” he said.

Asked whether he should not admit that the CepRass predictions was on point as opposed to what he said, Camara simply said: “You don’t expect me to sit and allow a survey to discourage my voters from going to vote.”

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