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NPP’s head of strategy advised to stop ‘misleading’ Barrow

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By Omar Bah

A Gambian PhD fellow at the North-western University in the US has advised NPP’s head of strategy, Kemo Conteh, to stop ‘misleading’ the Gambian leader.

Lamin Keita, a strong critic of the government, said Kemo Conteh’s continuous attack on divergent views should be considered as an assault on the country’s democracy and should be resisted.

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“The Gambia is weeping from the flames ignited by some political operatives, fame-seekers, and influencers who categorically make up the manipulator with much to gain in this schema,” he told The Standard.

Keita said money, identity politics, wrangling between political parties, political polarization, social division, and wealth gap have become more acute among some political operatives and could undermine the country’s democracy.

“The surprising thing about these people is their aggressive attacks against political activists or people who oppose them. A few weeks ago, a high-profile political figure criticized others, including myself, for our empirical observations about President Barrow’s comments on his plan to appoint KM and BC mayors. The person stated that I lacked knowledge about the constitutional explanation of the local government act. Contrary to his claims, I speak with theoretical and empirical evidence tested by theorists, realities underground, and time,” Keita added.

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Keita said Mr Conteh with such a political portfolio is telling Gambians that the present Constitution inadvertently gave Barrow the prerogative to reduce the voting rights of the people and has the constitutional power to prevent the people of KMC and BCC from choosing their mayors. “Disappointingly, he should be among the people who will educate Gambians with facts, but not with anecdotal statements that will mislead and further entrench the incumbent with overwhelming powers. The person might agree with me that such local government acts will induce patronage of our formal and informal institutions. Moreover, it will infringe on the people’s fundamental voting rights, which will only encourage the politics of the belly and further consolidate the power of the president,” he stated.

Keita added: “Therefore, I tasked our critic to scrutinize further our Constitution, which is clouded with many tailor-made authoritarian rules that need to be eliminated under Barrow.”

The Gambian problem, Keita added, is rooted in the myths of political actions that fueled a movement to silence truth-tellers and their political opponents.

“In comparison, they peddle through measures that suffocate the fundamental rights of the people to choose their representatives. We see the gang of people with an unwavering commitment to extensive propaganda that threatens our democracy only to preserve the one-person rule. Both theoretical and empirical observations indicate that Gambian society as a democracy can’t stand much more because we are moving toward 70% of all Gambians being poor and having low wealth,” he added.

He said a few Gambian influencers and job-seekers would “go to any length and breadth to debunk about the weakening governing state capacity of the government”.

“The same political force demonizes and attacks the people who speak the truth to power. They deny that living wages and the basic standard of living of Gambians are at a ‘kitchen sink’ low. These lame-duck politicians are willing to destroy the country. They are eager to deny millions of Gambians access to good healthcare, education, employment, and basic needs as enshrined in the universal declaration of Human Rights.

“Their actions hurt us and violate our deepest moral, constitutional, and religious values. The deeds are humanly indefensible, economically insane, and morally and politically inconsistent with our values,” he concluded.

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