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“UDP Is On Life Supporting Machine” NPP Responds To Darboe’s Gunjur Comment

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Mr. Sulayman Camara, National People’s Party Secretary of communication and Media .

By Landing Ceesay 

Secretary of communication and Media for the National People’s Party, Mr. Sulayman Camara, told the gathered Media at a press conference, that the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) is on a “life-supporting machine.”

“Ousainou Darbo decried the ongoing investigative process of the Finance and Public Accounts Committee (FPAC) into the financial activities of local government authorities. But this oversight role is part of the normal functions of the National Assembly, and Alhagie S Darboe, Administrative Secretary of UDP is the Chairman of this FPAC. So in essence, the coming of the Councils to the National Assembly to answer questions had nothing to do with President Barrow.

“The UDP leader also said if the results of the coming election are not tabulated properly, they will announce their results. This is quite unfortunate, by trying to undermine the integrity of the Independent Electoral Commission. The party is a spent force and on the life-supporting machine. This is manifested in the last presidential elections. NPP is a progressive people’s movement, a party of peace, hope, and inclusiveness, where all opinions are respectfully counted. Where politics of insults are shunned. As Honourable Halifa Sallah once said, people who insult have nothing to offer,” Mr. Camara told the media. 

The NPP Secretary of communication and Media made these remarks at a press conference in response to the UDP Leader Hon. Ousainu Darboe’s Gunjur comments. 

The UDP Leader in his latest address to the members of his party said President Barrow setting up a commission to look into the activities of the Local governments is a “witch hunt.” 

Mr. Camara said the whole country saw in the news the missing millions in the “UDP controlled Councils.” 

He said on the strength of the outcomes of the preliminary investigations, it is within the remits of the President of the Republic, to establish a Commission of Inquiry into such a situation.

Mr. Camara said Darboe’s comment is a “serious” threat and a recipe for “chaos and instability.”

“There is no witch-hunting in this country. This President has no time to witch-hunt any law-abiding citizen. He is fair and peaceful in all his dealings, and he will never be distracted in the course of his duty to the nation. He is astute, forthright, and focused on his mission to deliver the Gambia that we all want. He will not be threatened or distracted in this, as Winston Churchill once said “if you want to throw a stone at every barking dog, you will never arrive at your destination.” Mr. Camara said. 

Mr. Camara said the Ministry of local government and lands has received several written complaints from Councils about alleged financial and administrative irregularities involving various amounts from 10 to 30 Million Dalasis as well as critical staff matters. 

Mr. Camara revealed to the media that the reports were specifically received from Basse Area Council, Janjangbureh Area Council, Kanifing Municipal Council, and Banjul City Council. 

“These councils are currently besieged by internal squabbles and so much malfeasance. Almost two months into the 2023 fiscal year, a council like the BCC is yet to submit its annual budget for scrutiny by the Ministry as provided for by the Local Government Finance and Audit Act 2004. A Council like KMC has been without a CEO, and Director of Finance for nearly two years, and is blocking oversight measures including a court order, and directives from the Local Government Service Commission to institute proper redress,” he said. 

The NPP Communications Secretary alleged that the circumstances have among other factors “seriously negated” the administration, developmental and social service delivery obligations of the councils. 

Mr. Camara said the Ministry bears a statutory oversight obligation over councils and has hence advised on appropriate measures to bring sanity into local government administration. 

He asserted that the activities of all councils will be reviewed holistically “without bias” to improve the governance and service delivery components of every council on standard footing. 

“A fairer look at the Terms of Reference of the Commission is indicative of the fact that the whole exercise at the end of the day is aimed at providing the government with informed policy choices for effective Local Government reforms, functional and fiscal decentralization. Any other opinionated consideration associating the institution of the Commission to political witch-hunting is a wishful assumption,” he said. 

Mr. Camara said it is NPP’s position that President Barrow is within his legal and executive remits in consonance with section 200 of the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia 1997 to set up the Commission. 

Mr. Camara stated that there is no amount of political tantrums or idle bickering will derail the work of the Commission or distract its commissioners from the task ahead of them. 

He told the media that the government lends its total support to the Commissioners and urges the general public to remain law abiding at all times.

Mr. Camara said the NPP leadership noted with concern that the leader of UDP had made remarks in Gunjur that may threaten the continued peace and stability of the country. 

“It is a political high tide now, with the local government elections to be held within the immediate horizon. We can understand the state of anguish and paranoia that has gripped the UDP leader and his party over their diminished prospects in these elections. The inconsiderate and careless outburst of a political leader in these delicate times cannot be taken lightly by all level-headed Gambians. 

“The opposition leader also said in his now infamous speech that, whatever the sitting government does in terms of diplomacy, is exactly what his UDP will do. According to him, they have visited foreign embassies to sell their agenda, whatever that may mean. President Barrow has established and maintained cordial and friendly relations with countries and multilateral partners of the Gambia. No one can enter by the backdoor to sow seeds of discord between us, in their quest to settle non-existent political scores with the government and by extension, the vast majority of the Gambian people,” he said. 

The press conference took place at the NPP bureau in Churchill’s town. 

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