By Alagie Manneh
The main opposition United Democratic Party yesterday painted the country with its traditional yellow brand as tens of thousands of its supporters escorted their candidates for nomination across the country. The party sponsored candidates in all eight administrative areas. The nominated persons are: Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe – Banjul; Mayor Talib Bensouda – KMC; Landing B Sanneh – Mansakonko Area Council; Malamin IL Bojang – Kerewan Area Council; Foday Danjo – Basse Area Council; Yankuba Darboe – Brikama Area Council; Alhagie SB Silla – Kuntaur Area Council and Malick Sowe – Janjangbureh Area Council.
Speaking to journalists in Brikama shortly following his nomination, Yankuba Darboe expressed confidence in victory and said that his first priority will be a proper inventory of all revenue sources of the council.
He added: “It is important that the council is transparent. In the last many years that this council existed in this region, one of the things that everyone had encountered or experienced is the lack of transparency. If you walk on the streets and ask people about their council, or its total revenue, nobody will be able to tell you. That’s because the council is not transparent enough. So, we cannot develop a society when we do not even know how much that society earns. We got to make sure we open ourselves up to the people so that they know exactly what is happening at their council.”
“Transparency is number one, especially at this current time when we are led by a government that is so corrupt that the whole world heard about it and appreciate that we have a government that is corrupt. We are going to be the beacon of light in this dark cloud that is over-shadowing our nation. And that is what we stand for,” he stated.
The campaign manager of the UDP, Momodou Sabally, said the crowd that came out to accompany the candidates to their nominations is unprecedented in the history of Gambian politics.
“And they said this is a party that allegedly suffered a massive defeat just a year or so back. I think what happened today is an outstanding demonstration of confidence from Gambians across the board and this is literally multi-partisan support. Parties like GDC have come out to endorse UDP candidates. Independent operators in the political field have also come out to endorse UDP candidates. It’s a vote of confidence in the vison and leadership and resilience of his Excellency the Honourable Ousainu Darboe, and the team of young dynamic leaders he has selected for nomination for this mayoral and chairmanship elections,” he said.
He said that the ‘manifestation of support’ at the nominations is part of a process to consolidate gains since the last general elections.
“And we will seal that gain on 20 May when Gambians will go out in their numbers to vote against the incompetent and rampant corruption of the Barrow administration. Gambians will vote against the deterioration of social services like health that led to the deaths of [over] 66 young Gambian babies due to acute kidney injury disease. I urge voters t reject ‘out rightly corrupt people like Bakary Badjie,” Sabally said.
In the KMC, widely believed to be the main battle ground, Mayor Talib Bensouda was escorted in a long convoy of cars and a huge crowd to the regional IEC office followed by a procession to the UDP Manjai Bureau. Bensouda said the people of KM have appreciated his first term already and he is committed to serving them with more of their aspirations and needs. His supporters told The Standard that Talib is not a match for Bakary Badjie. ”It is Barrow who is losing sleep about Talib, not Bakary,” one supporter shouted, teasing NPP.
In Banjul Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe, unfazed by last month’s councillors election loss bounced back to pull a giant crowd with a promise to shower the city’s people with more developments. Her supporters chastised President Barrow telling him that he would find out who is the real ‘Burr Banjul’ on 20 May.