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New communications secretary heralds transformation

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By Omar Bah

The National People’s Party’s new communications secretary has revealed that the governing party is building “very strong structures” to avoid revolving around its leader, President Adama Barrow.

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Most political parties in The Gambia revolve around an individual and they often die with the person.

But speaking to The Standard in his first interview, NPP’s communications secretary, Sulayman Camara, said: “Our objective is to transform the party into an institution fit for the 24th century and one which is not built around an individual but an ideology because, normally in this country, parties die with their leaders and we don’t want that to happen to the NPP.”

Camara, who took over from works minister Ebrima Sillah, added that the party leader President Barrow has tasked the executive to put up very strong structures around the country to make sure that it remains relevant with or without him. “The NPP is building political bureaus across the country and in each of these structures, personnel are attached to ensure continuous sensitisation of our supporters on their civic duties. It is very important to educate people politically to change dynamics because politics is not about character assassination or insults,” he added.

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Camara further stated that NPP respects every politician especially political party leaders in this country because they all are expected to be working for the interest of the country.

“We should use our ideological differences as a strength for us to engage constructively and not see each other as enemies. This is why the NPP has designed policies and programs that would make it a beacon of democracy in Africa. There are going to be a lot of false starts; meaning we will make mistakes but along the line we will learn from it and build on them for the greater good,” he stated.

He said the NPP wants to be “a progressive party that believes in inclusiveness and social justice”.

Commenting on his preparedness, Camara, who spent over ten years in the UK, added: “I am quite ready for this job – I have been very active in politics as a member of the Labour Party in the UK. So, I know what is expected of me.”

Local government

He said the NPP has learned a big lesson during the National Assembly elections where it lost in many key areas.

“We went into that election with an overwhelming presidential election victory and strong confidence and eventually underestimated the opposition. We thought they had no chance but unfortunately for us they were able to galvanise and put up a surprised performance. However, we are very prepared for the upcoming April local government elections. We will go to every town, village and hamlet of this country to sell our party agenda because our target is to sweep all the seats,” he noted.

On selection of candidates, Camara said the party supporters will be allowed to select candidates of their choice for the council elections to avoid any conflict of interest.

He said despite the economic challenges faced by Gambians, the NPP has something to brag about in terms of  government’s performance in the past six years and accomplished massive infrastructural development projects.

“But despite that, there are critics who feel otherwise but the party has no intention of throwing stones at every dog that barks at us. For us, those who insult us or the president, have nothing to offer. Politics of insults should have no space in this country,” he added.

He said the NPP code of conduct and constitution, which are under review, will guide its supporters on how to approach political matters.

“As part of the party’s policy, even the president will no longer be allowed to address personal issues between him and his opponents in NPP rallies or platforms. We want to encourage politics of decency and we will be visible and our manifesto is going to guide us,” he said.

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