President’s ex-driver says incompetence reason for NPP’s poor results

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By Amadou Jadama

Mansa Sumareh, the former chief driver to President Adama Barrow, said the underperformance of the National People’s Party in the weekend’s National Assembly elections is because of the selection of “wrong candidates”. He rated most of the NPP candidates as below par or incompetent.

Mr Sumareh told The Standard yesterday that the dismal performance of the ruling party has sent “a bad signal” but a “timely wake- up call” for President Barrow and his future political endeavours.

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He said the president should “stocktake and reflect on” what happened.

Mr Sumareh analysed: “The president should by now recognise the genuine people who were with him from the beginning of the struggle. All these ministers and advisers surrounding President Barrow are deceiving and misleading him by misinforming him that the whole country is behind him, which is not true. [For this election] they should have gone on the ground and listened to the people to know which candidates are electable.

“NPP did not win even a single seat in Banjul and the Kanifing Municipality. For the West Coast Region, NPP got only one seat. This is a very bad signal for him. Let me tell you, if you want to become somebody in this country, it is West Coast Region [that will make you] because it is the powerhouse. After West Coast, it is Kanifing. If these two regions don’t decide anything, it will not happen.  

“This is the first time in the history of The Gambia, a sitting president does not have even a single seat in Banjul. Nobody should be blamed but his advisers and ministers. They don’t have a support base and in fact, nobody listens to them, and they cannot even bring any good number of people to the party. From the cabinet level to the advisers, he should sack them all with immediate effect because they have not done any campaign for him. They are his problem.”

Mr Sumareh, a former close aide and driver to the president, is on trial for official corruption after he was charged with fraudulently procuring diplomatic passports for people in exchange of money.