Gambia: Party Leaders Speak On 2018 Councilors Elections

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In the wake of the councilors election that took place on Thursday, three prominent party leaders have shared their thoughts on the importance of a vote, which was marked by a low turn out. As 2 candidates went unopposed, 407 contestants ran for councilorship including 25 independent candidates who challenged the monopoly of political parties in various wards.

“It is important that this institution (Municipal and Local Governments Council) is put in place. The electoral circle is now completed,” United Democratic Party leader (UDP) told this reporter.

Gambians went to polls to elect their local representatives that would serve at grassroots level. There are high expectations among voters that the new democratic dispensation will ignite debate over their plight.

Darboe said UDP put up candidates in all KMC wards because it is the largest and richest municipality. “We needed to put people in the municipality who will judiciously manage the resources for the benefit of the community,” he said.

UDP leader went further to decry the situation that prevailed during APRC administration where KMC failed to ensure good service delivery. “Even refuse was improperly collected by the municipality,” he added.

Halifa Sallah of PDOIS, who spoke to this reporter, said nobody ever thought that by now Gambians will be having election with another President in office other than the one who ruled the country for 22 years.

“This shows that there are no losers or winners in an election.There are representatives, and those waiting to be representatives if the people decide to select them,” said PDOIS emblematic figure with an emphatic tone.

He went on to say the fundamental lesson that has been learnt is power belongs to the people, and leadership must be accountable to the people.

“When people own power, you do not judge them when they decide to entrust it to whoever they desire,” Halifa said.

When asked whether the upcoming Council will be a Council with a difference, he said it depends on the citizenry who should be able to select the best would be able to serve them.

“A transparent administration is what we expect,” he said.

In a similar vein, PPP’s Omar Amadou Jallow emphasized the importance of the election, saying councilors are in direct contact with their community.

“The Councils are the institutions that manage the resources and revenues of the community. It is very important for people to see Councils election as very important component of national development” he said.

In light of the country’s new political dispensation, O.J said we are building a foundation on  democratic, sustainable culture.

“I would like to appeal to all party leaders to see the elections as a process geared towards uniting The Gambia, but not dividing the country.”

Official results released by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) have it that UDP won the election with 62 seats of 120 wards while GDC was able to secure 23 seats. The former governing party APRC won 18 seats. The remaining seats go to PDOIS (7 seats); NRP (5 seats); GMC (1 seat); PPP (1 seat). GPDP and NCP failed to win seat, while 3
independent candidates were able to emerge victorious in their respective wards.

Written by Abdoulie JOHN

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