By Momodou Darboe
The UDP Spokesman has contended that the presence of state ministers on the Niamina West by-election campaign trail is an affront to the constituents and that ministers’ involvement in the local politics could deflect voters from making an informed decision.
The Minister of Tourism, Hamat Bah, is currently in Niamina West and he was quoted as saying that more ministers will, before the end of the week, high-tail it to the Central River Region to give the much-needed push to NPP’s march towards capturing the Niamina West seat.
“Meddling in national politics is something that Yahya Jammeh had brought here. But the whole idea behind this presidential system of government means that ministers are appointed based on their qualifications and experience. So, they are supposed to be non-partisan. At least in their posture, they are ministers of state,” UDP spokesperson Almamy Taal told The Standard.
He added: “It’s not interesting for any minister of state be going to a by-election that is to serve as one year remaining in a term. What is their reason? What is their excuse? Mr Bah, I can understand in that he is a head of a political party but apparently his party is not putting up a candidate. So, let us give the respect of the people of Niamina West to the point that at the right time they would be able to make a right decision for themselves.”
Taal argued that voters in Niamina West should be given the opportunity to send a message to the government that everything from food security to human security and all areas of development have crumbled under its watch.
He explained: “Because I think anybody who has been in The Gambia for the past four years can see where the country is across the board. Whether it is in the area of food security, human security…that is if you are thinking of going to a hospital and get a good attention if you are in your house you can expect that nobody is going to break in or break into your car. So the level of criminality, level of reliability on government services…I think every Gambian across the board whether is in the urban area or the rural area is now feeling it. Nothing seems to be working in the country. So when you have an opportunity to send a message to the government of the day, I think you should take it.”
Taal expressed hope that Hamat Bah would not be dealt a second blow in Niamina West.
“And the last time that Mr Bah’s party’s candidate stood even with the support of UDP, the candidate lost. So, really him going there I only hope would not be a humiliation for him one more time,” Taal recounted.
UDP said it is in receipt of information that monies are being thrown around to coax and cajole voters.
“I hear also that monies are being pilfered and thrown around there. And what we would encourage the people of Niamina West to do is that… it is their own money. Everyone knows that Mr Bah and the movement he is supporting do not have a money factory. Money comes from the sweat and the tears of Gambian people. All that Gambians can do to teach them a lesson forever is to take that money and go and vote for the right candidate,” contended the UDP mouthpiece.
He said questions should be asked about the source of monies in the Niamina West politics.