By Lamin Cham
Tension has been brewing between the governing National People’s Party and one of its partners, the PPP. It followed a statement by the PPP announcing that it will contest the local government elections ‘after the NPP failed to consult, include or allocate them seats to contest under the coalition’.
The PPP leader, Kebba Jallow, followed up the press statement with an audio accusing the NPP of not keeping its promise. He said he had called NPP deputy spokesman Seedy Njie about the NPP election press release which did not mention PPP but no tangible response came from him.
Mr Jallow said the PPP will die if it does not contest elections and since the NPP did not give the party its respect and dues, it is only logical that they contest on their own. ”We have no problem with President Barrow and we were among the pioneers who backed him to become president in the first place in 2016 and continued to do so in 2021. But to be frank, we have not generally felt the presence of PPP in his government,” Mr Jallow said.
Responding to this, the NPP deputy spokesman Seedy Njie, said the PPP leader’s branding of Barrow and the NPP as betrayers is unfortunate and can only come from him and not the entire membership of the party.
Njie said President Barrow and NPP have cultivated a deep mutual respect between them and the allies including the PPP.
He said Barrow has fulfilled the promises he made to all his allies.
“As we speak now, the Gambia High Commissioner to Nigeria and Ecowas is from the PPP and the party had two cabinet ministers in the transition government that followed the 2016 elections. In the last National Assembly elections, President Barrow accepted the PPP’s request to contest a seat in Banjul and sponsored the campaign. The official vehicle of the PPP being used by M Jallow himself is provided by President Barrow and I personally know about other interventions Barrow made to Mr Jallow, all in the spirit of respect and collaboration,” Seedy Njie said.
He added that as recent as last December, President Barrow sponsored the PPP national congress and all the logistics before it, all in the spirit of the coalition partnership between the PPP and the NPP.
He noted however that the NPP is sure and comfortable that Mr Jallow was not speaking the minds of OJ or James Gomez.
On the issue of the elections, Mr Njie accused Mr Jallow of being the one who had always wanted to walk out of the coalition by saying even before now that with or without coalition, PPP will contest the election.
The NPP deputy spokesman said he had explained to Mr Jallow and the PPP that the allocation of the areas to contest by the coalition was made not personally by President Barrow but the committee including himself and they take responsibility for any issues.
“However, we made it clear that the criterion is that the coalition will support only the incumbent councilors and their parties in the areas concerned. That was made clear to Mr Jalow and the PPP,” Njie said. He concluded that President Barrow is ever committed to work with all the coalition partners and has no intention of excluding anyone for any reason.