The Leader of The Gambia Democratic Congress Party (GDC) was introduced to the Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, by an unnamed Gambian lady, so that Mama Kandeh can solicit financial support from the Nigerian business magnate. It is not clear if Kandeh had succeeded in getting financial assistance from Mr. Dangote, but according to Yusupha Jaiteh, the former Deputy Party Leader of the GDC, he (Jaiteh) was privy to the behind the scene machinations to have Kandeh introduce to Dangote. Mr. Jaiteh made the revelations during an interview with Freedom Radio Gambia on Tuesday.
“There was this Gambian lady, who helped us to get a lot of contacts from various places; various Heads of state within the region. It was this lady, who introduced Mama Kandeh to Dangote, the Nigerian billionaire. I cannot mention her name for privacy reasons. She used to be a member of the GDC. She helped Mama Kandeh to have access to Dangote,” Jaiteh said.
Mr. Jaiteh resigned from the GDC this past week together with seven other top officials of the party. Jaiteh cited what he called Mama Kandeh’s poor leadership and lack of transparency as the leader of the GDC. He accused Kandeh of transforming the GDC as his personal property—alleging that Kandeh virtually controls the party’s finances and all the structures within the GDC. Jaiteh also alleges being sidelined by Kandeh, even though he is Kandeh’s Deputy.
According to Mr. Jaiteh, Kandeh allegedly shunned and isolated the lady, who introduced him to Dangote, as soon as he got the billionaire’s contact details. He said Kandeh wouldn’t entertain questions as to whether he met Dangote; or whether he was able to secure funds from Dangote.
“I was asked by the lady to find out from Mama Kandeh, whether he was able to secure funding from Dangote. When I conveyed the lady’s message to him, Kandeh went mad at me. His response was very hostile. He told me, to go tell the lady that if she wants to beg Dangote money, she should pursue it on her own. He was reluctant to share any information about Dangote,” Jaiteh said.
“I told him, Sir, it is very unethical for you to react to me this way. I also told him, that it would have been nice for him, to tell the lady, the outcome of the meeting he had with Dangote. But shunning her like this, it is absurd. It was wrong for Mama to encourage her to ask Dangote what transpired. I couldn’t get any information from him. I was his Deputy, but he refused to share information with me,” he added.
Mama Kandeh, has been hailed in the country for his philanthropic activities. He has dug boreholes for rural communities; construct three bridges; and donated money to communities. He has never disclosed the source of his funding.
Mr. Jaiteh told Freedom Radio Gambia that as far as GDC’s finances were concerned he was completely kept out of the loop. He said he has in the past confronted Kandeh to be transparent about his source of funding and the party’s finances, but Kandeh wouldn’t listen to him.
“I have no clue about the GDC finances. Mama Kandeh deeps from his pocket to sponsor party activities. We have a treasurer at the GDC, but that position is just a symbolic position. The Treasurer has no clue about what obtains at the GDC when it comes to finances. I remember having an argument; a bitter argument with Mama Kandeh, when he raised the issue of the treasurer. I told him that it was disingenuous on his part to raise the issue of funds and accountability, when he Kandeh is not open to the Executive about the party’s funds and its source. We nearly fought. We were separated by some GDC members,” he said.
“I wouldn’t know if Dangote gave him money or not because my position as GDC Deputy leader was just a symbolic position. I was completely sidelined. The lady, who introduced him to Dangote has left the GDC. She left because of Mama Kandeh’s attitude. The party has lost so many great people; once they come in, they hardly stay in the party. Mama Kandeh is a control freak. He has his hands into everything. I was virtually redundant when I was at the GDC,” he added.
Jaiteh also said Hamidou of Jah Oil, once donated fuel to the GDC party. He is not sure as to whether Hamidou, has extended financial help to the party, but to the best of his recollection he remembered receiving fuel that was donated to the party by Hamidou.
“Hamidou donated us fifty liters of fuel while we were on tour. I appreciated his assistance. We all benefited from the fuel Hamidou donated to us. While in Bansang, I remember receiving ten liters of fuel. He also loaned the party fuel in one occasion,” he said.
Jaiteh went on a tirade exposing what he called Kandeh’s leadership deficiency. He recalled one of his Nigerian friends in the Gambia, telling him that Kandeh was not a Presidential material.
“A Nigerian friend of mine; a Nigerian politician, who campaigned for a lot of Presidents in Africa; this is someone, who observed our campaigns; the elections and everything. He came to my house and he told me, Mr. Jaiteh; my brother, I am always spending my time here; having lunch with you sometimes, but there is one thing that I want to tell you, if you want to waste your time; stay with this man (Mama Kandeh); if you don’t want to waste your time, move on. I said why? I was very angry when he made the remarks; He said, because he is a Presidential maker, but he is not a President. He will never be one,” Jaiteh recounted.
Jaiteh was initially upset with his Nigerian friend, but he said at the end of the day, the Nigerian man was right about what he told him about Kandeh. He said Kandeh only cares about himself and not his colleagues at the GDC. He claimed that many GDC officials are silently suffering in pain because of Kandeh’s alleged dictatorial leadership. He said those who are okay with Kandeh’s leadership are the ones running around him like a servant. He said any conscious GDC member or leader will not condone Kandeh’s lack of leadership transparency and accountability.
Mr. Kandeh has called on his supporters to accept the resignation of Yusupha Jaiteh and seven others from the GDC. He said people have the right to join and leave the GDC. Kandeh was heard telling his supporters in a Whatsapp message that he is not going to respond to some of the claims being made by Jaiteh on the media. Though, he cautioned him to avoid making unsubstantiated allegations.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai