A deep split has emerged within the People’s Progressive Party, PPP, following last weekend’s momentous national congress that ended with a grueling contest for party leadership won by Papa Njie against BB Dabo, a one-time vice president. Mr Njie polled 272 against Mr Dabo’s 227 but many observers who attended said the election pitted not just the two candidates against one another but also reopened a traditionally deep seated division within the party, dating back to its three decades in power when the rural and urban members were always perceived to be on different wavelengths. Mr Dabo, a well-respected politician during the PPP regime, was widely expected and favored by many neutrals to win and so his defeat came as a shock to many even across the political divide. Two days after the congress, a press release purportedly from the national president Alagie Yaya Ceesay and senior executive officials Kalilou Singhateh and Ebou Taal, who are perceived to be sympathetic to the Dabo candidacy, was sent to the media challenging the legality of the vote. According to the statement, the preparations to the congress saw the emergence of two factions, which came up with different dates, venue, and content of the congress. On the basis of the discussions facilitated by the Independent Electoral Commission, the statement went on, a compromise was reached on the date and venue. “The two factions further agreed to have an elective congress. The two aspiring candidates that emerged for the position of Secretary General and Leader of the Party were: 1) Bakary B. Dabo, a member of the national executive and central committees and treasurer; and 2) Papa Njie, whose candidature as a bona-fide member of the PPP has yet to be approved by the National Executive Committee.” The statement further alleged that the process of registering constituency delegates and the campaign leading to voting were marred by serious irregularities, which are now coming to light. “These include bribery of delegates, intimidation of delegates by withholding transport funds and food, and registration of unqualified constituency delegates. These undemocratic practices are contrary to the principles, the values and the practices of the PPP. In the light of the aforementioned inconsistencies and irregularities in the balloting and voting process, which are sufficiently serious to undermine the credibility of the election process, we hereby reject outright the results from the PPP 30th December, 2018 election as we feel it did not reflect the true wishes of the bona-fide members of the Party that met to elect their Party Leader. We shall pursue this matter further to ensure that truth prevails and The Gambian people shall be kept informed,” the statement concluded. However when The Standard contacted the former interim leader of the party Omar Amadou Jallow, OJ who is perceived to be sympathetic to the candidacy of Papa Njie, said he is not aware of the said press statement and was not consulted about it and he could not see any signature on it. “The press were there from day one and the process was done transparently. My initial proposal was for voting to take the form of lifting of hands but it was BB Dabo who said it should be a secret ballot. He had his agents and the other candidate too has his agents. We called the IEC to observe and after the voting it was verified by the agents and the IEC staff and it was declared good and successful and the national president Alhagie Yaya Ceesay announced the results. After that BB Dabo made a statement and accepted the results and then the elected Secretary General also made a statement to close the congress. After that both of them embraced each other. So for me as the former Secretary General, we have a new party leader elected by the congress and nobody in this world can do anything in the PPP that can change the decision of the congress. The Congress is the ultimate authority of the party,” OJ concluded.]]>