A staunch supporter of the ruling APRC party, Mr Momodou Turo Darboe, has issued a stern warning against those he branded as “selfish politicians” within the Kanifing Municipality, ahead of the 24th January, 2008 Local Government elections.
The Kanifing Municipality has the second largest voter population with 17 wards each represented by an elected Councillor and three nominated members.
Unhappy with this latest development among key political figures in the area, Darboe who is regarded as a prominent but silent politician, told this paper that the recent developments unfolding in the municipality “will cause more harm than good to the party”.
Asked to clarify the issue, he said, they have learnt that certain elements have already started making noise as to who will be the candidates for the party in the 17 wards.
“These are the elements that bring about confusion within the party. Candidates should not be nominated base on nepotism but efficiency, patriotism, and must possess leadership qualities and put the party first,” he said.
A leading figure in the political arena within KMC, Darboe refuted speculations that KMC has instituted a management committee to oversee the affairs of the Councillors.
According to him,“The Councillors are still the elected representatives of the people,” and noted that if their members are not united during the internal nomination of candidates, he feared that the APRC would lose to either the opposition or independent candidates.
However, he advised that even if the Council is to be dissolved, the management committee should be properly scrutinised to avoid saboteurs serving in the committee.
He said, “If not, they can undermine the party as most of them practise eye service and are not committed to the welfare of the party. The thing is that our party has three categories of militants, namely: those looking for positions, others who support because of their positions and the third are those who are committed and loyal to the party”.
“The loyal ones are always proud to do something for the party and not the reverse. Good citizens should be ambassadors of their country, party militants should also have the same quality.
This committee is very important and its representatives should show maximum loyalty to the party. And it should not be a one-man show, but a collective decision,” he warned.
Mr Darboe observed that it is a common phenomenon that when elections approach, disunity and confusion become the order of the day within the ranks of the party, adding that all the independent candidates in the previous elections, who stood and succeeded were bonafide members of the APRC party.
“Thanks to SoS Neneh Macdoall-Gaye and others, who were able to unite APRC militants as one family in the Kanifing Municipality in the aftermath of the National Assembly elections which is what our able Head of State is looking for,” he added.
“I am appealing to all and sundry to maintain this momentum in the forthcoming local government elections in order to achieve a smooth victory. But at the moment, people have started underground campaign to mislead the militants and try to field in names that are not approved by the central committee,” he alleged.
A buinessman and philanthropist, Mr Darboe emphasised the importance of the upcoming elections which, he described as the foundation of grassroots politics.
“Elected Councillors play an important role in maintaining strongholds of political parties. Therefore, we should nominate credible and result-oriented people who will serve the interest of the party at the grassroots level and be winners against any opponent.
It is only in the APRC party that militants defeat and contest under an independent ticket, because of unfair nomination, discrimination and disunity. We have witnessed several cases in which independent candidates contest against the APRC and we lost to them. This shows that they were the right choice of the people and not the ones imposed on them,” he said.
The philanthropist appealed to all militants and party leaders to exercise calm and play the cards by the rule when it comes to the nomination of candidates who will represent the APRC.
Darboe appealed that no matter how popular a miliant might claim to be, “Nobody must contest on an independent ticket, following the approval of selected candidates by the party leader”. Darboe also expressed appreciation to SoS Ismaila Sambou for his leadership qualities, efficiency and hardwork in administrating his state department.
“Many Gambians have served in this position, but we have witnessed positive changes during his tenure. I believe he is the right man for this position and therefore I salute him for his development efforts. We have seen the rapid development projects undertaken by the local councils. Thanks to Sambou and his team for the execution of these projects,” he stated.
He also predicted an easy victory in the 24th January, 2008 elections in which, he said, all the seats will go to the APRC party.
“I want to send an early signal to all patriots of the party to unite as one and accept the decision of the party when it comes to nomination. We are aware of certain unscrupulous persons who have started poisoning the minds of the electorate and imposing candidates on them. We know them and will soon expose them, if they do not desist from their practice. We don’t want a re-occurrence of defectors from our party, contesting as independent cadidates. This time around we want the APRC to retain all the 17 seats in a landslide victory,” he appealed.
Speaking on other issues, Darboe hailed President Yahya Jammeh’s foresight in pushing forward the rapid socio-eonomic development carried out “in just 13 years”.
“I hardly comment on politics, but I believe what has been achieved so far is worth commending. Development is positive change on the lives of the people, therefore, Gambians should be grateful to President Jammeh and his government for making strides, in both infrastructural and economic development,” he remarked.
“Government has a liberal market policy and has been supportive of the business sector, through the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but what we face today in terms of rising prices that can’t be justified should be blamed on businessmen,” he noted.
He finally prayed to God, and also prayed that peace and stability continue to prevail in The Gambia.