The National Coordination of the Barrow Youth Movement for National Development Ansu Singhateh says the leader of the United Democratic Party and Gambia’s Vice President Ousainou Darboe, was among “the first government officials to endorse and recognize the formation of BYM.” Darboe was Foreign Minister at the time of him throwing his support behind the formation of the Barrow Youth Movement. Singhateh says Mr. Darboe was even issued with a BYM membership card.
Ansu Singhateh was speaking during a live Freedom Radio Gambia interview on Thursday. Singhateh, who hailed from the Basse area, in the Upper River Region of The Gambia, also said among the government officials who were issued with BYM membership cards on the day of its launching include: former Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, Ousainou Darboe, President Adama Barrow and other cabinet officials.
Singhateh says he couldn’t understand what must have been responsible for Mr. Darboe’s sudden change of heart towards the BYM, an organization he says, he (Darboe) had welcomed its cause during its official launching.
Sighateh notes that perhaps BYM’s increasing popularity had caused panic within the UDP, but he insists that BYM’s agenda is to help advance the country’s developmental aspiration. He says BYM was not created to takeover the UDP, as falsely trafficked in some quarters.
“UDP has only one Youth Wing. Those propagating another Youth Wing outside the party’s main Youth wing, are out to divide us. It is a deliberate attempt to sow the seeds of discord within the party. We will not accept that. UDP recognizes only the United Democratic Party Youth Wing. Other than the UDP Youth Wing, UDP does not recognize any other Youth Wing. Any other Youth Wing, or any other Youth Movement pretending to be UDP, will not be recognized by the party. All the real UDP supporters are in the UDP Youth Wing,” Darboe remarked during the UDP party Congress.
The BYM has a membership of over two hundred thousand people, according to Ansu Singhateh. Most of the organization’s membership are mainly youths. He says a good chunk of the BYM membership comes from the UDP, and other political parties in the country.
According to Mr. Singhateh, more and more Gambians are signing up to join the Barrow Youth Movement for National Development. He says BYM’s goal is to compliment government’s efforts to bring development to the doorsteps of Gambians irrespective of one’s political affiliation, tribe, creed, or origin.
So far, he said, the BYM had sponsored developmental projects such as horticultural gardening, empowering women, education, making clean water accessible to impoverished communities, just to name a few.
Singhateh also says BYM projects are funded by charitable philanthropists. He wouldn’t name names of philanthropists funding the organization. He also denied claims being peddled in some quarters that President Barrow is the main economic engine behind the BYM.
“We set up BYM. We introduced the idea to the President, and he welcomed it. BYM is a legally registered non-governmental organization. President Barrow doesn’t fund BYM. We used our own resources and finances to fund the organization. Occasionally, we will receive help from philanthropists. I am a businessman. I have contributed my own money towards the funding of the BYM,” he said.
Singhateh also says the recent fleet of pick up trucks and motorbikes that were handed to the BYM regional offices came from philanthropists. He says he was not in the position to disclose the names of the donors.
Mr. Singhateh used the interview to “hail President Barrow’s leadership qualities and commitment to making The Gambia, a stable, developed, and prosperous nation.” He called on Gambians to unite and work towards nation building and reconciliation.
He says despite the economic and developmental wreck that President Barrow had inherited from dictator Jammeh’s rule, the Barrow government had championed democratic and economic reforms within this short period of time.
He says Gambians are more freer today compared to Jammeh’s rule. He says two years ago, he couldn’t phone Freedom Radio Gambia to participate in live radio shows, but today, he says, Gambians are free to associate and speak their mind on issues of national concern without having the fear of being arrested or kidnapped. He says during Jammeh’s rule, workers will report to work and will not return home after close of business.
He added that the government had also ushered in projects that will help improve the living conditions of Gambians.
According to Mr. Singhateh, President Barrow had good in tensions for the country. He cited the numerous road and bridge projects ushered during Barrow’s rule. He says similar projects will soon be extended to Banjul, the capital city. He says plans are afoot to construct new roads in Banjul and improve its sewage system.
On the much talked about three years transition period agreed among the Coalition government partners, Singhateh says President Barrow had been voted to serve for five years. He says the constitution supersedes any agreement reached by the Coalition government.
Ansu Singhateh has also called on officials serving in President Barrow’s government to be sincere and faithful to the government’s set agenda for national development. He warns against any form of sabotage to stall President Barrow’s developmental aspirations for the country.
Singhateh says BYM is here to stay. He is not sure as to whether President Barrow will form his own political party, but he maintains that Barrow will no doubt win a second term if he decides to run in future elections.
Written By Pa Nderry M’Bai