By Omar Bah
The opposition United Democratic Party has yesterday selected its candidates for the chairmanship of three area councils; Brikama, Kuntaur and Jangjangbureh. The party is maintaining its incumbent chairmen and mayors in the rest of the country.
For Brikama Area Council, the party selected Yankuba Darboe, a lawyer and popular youth member of the party. He beat a large field of initially 15 other candidates but the race was reduced to five before the executive voted for the final candidate. It was the only area that went to voting through balloting as both candidates for Kuntaur and Janjanbureh were selected through the raising of hands.
The contestants were also given the opportunity to briefly present their manifestos before a panel of six judges who would later reconvene and make a final decision and then the contestants will be called back to the hall for the announcement of the shortlisted candidates.
Malick Sowe, who holds a diplomat in diplomacy and international relations, was selected candidate for the CRR South/Janjanbureh Area Council chairmanship. Mr Sowe was selected among four contestants. Speaking to The Standard shortly after his selection, Mr Sowe said he feels elated and humble for the trust the party bestowed on him. Sowe, who joined the UDP a few months ago, said his selection says a lot about the UDP’s democratic nature. “This is a clear demonstration that the UDP doesn’t consider people based on tribe or how long they have been with the party. It shows their tolerance and openness,” he said. He said all his fellow contestants have made a commitment before the party executives that they will rally behind him and ensure the party wins the seat. Asked what will be his priority, Sowe said: “If elected, I will start to know the problems that my people are facing and I have designed means on how to address those issues.”
Former National Assembly Member for Niani Constituency, Alhagie Sillah, was selected as the party’s candidate for the Kuntaur chairmanship. Mr Sillah beat four other candidates in the race.
Reacting to his selection, Sillah told The Standard: “I am very delighted to be selected to represent the mighty UDP at the next local government elections in Kuntaur. It demonstrates how much trust and respect the party has for me and I am committed to ensure that I represent them to the best of my ability, if elected.”
He said the party has made the best choice by choosing him out of the five contestants because he is very familiar with the people of the area and hopes his influence will help his bid.
Sillah added that all the losing four contestants have assured him that they will support his bid. “When I was announced as the winner, they all came to shake my hand and assured me that they will support me. So, I am confident with the help of God that I will win because even before I expressed my interest people were calling me to convince me to contest for the chairmanship,” Sillah said.