The final culmination of the frenzy of activity characterising the campaign for the Local Government elections has seen the elections of Messrs Yankuba Colley and Samba Faal, the ruling APRC’s candidates for Kanifing Municipality and Banjul City Council respectively as Mayors.
According to official results from the Independent Electoral Commission, Yankuba Colley scored 19,073 votes while his opponent Momodou A. Danso of the opposition UDP scored 8,412 votes.
In the Banjul City Council, Samba Faal of the ruling APRC party registered 4, 460 votes while Femi Peters of UDP party scored 1,067 votes.
Meanwhile, the overall results from the Independent Electoral Commission revealed that the APRC won 101 seats of the 114 wards countrywide, NADD won one (1) seat, UDP won three (3) seats, NRP won one (1) seat while eight (8) seats fell to independent candidates.
However, statistics have shown that out of a total number 377, 857 registered voters, only 110, 247 voters cast their votes. Of these, the APRC scored 58.5%, UDP 16.2%, NRP 6.7%, independent candidates 14.5%, NADD 4.2% while overall voter turn out was reported to be 31.5%.
It is to be noted that out of the total number of 114 wards in the country, only 59 were contested in the elections. 46 of these wards were won by the APRC.
From the outset, fifty-five (55) wards were declared unopposed, giving the APRC an early lead in the elections.
Speaking to The Point after IEC’s declaration of his victory, the elected KMC Mayor, Yankuba Colley, thanked the people for affording him the chance to work for them. “As I have always said all throughout my campaign that I am not looking for the position to go and sit there as a king. I am a worker. They mandated me to work for them, and I will work,” he said.
He added: “I thank Almighty Allah, my two parents, the President for selecting me, and the people of the municipality who mandated me.”
Talking about his expectations from the opposition now that the elections have decided in his favour, Mr Colley said: “For the opposition it is the same. I am elected as Mayor of KMC, so I am mayor for all. We should all work for the betterment of the municipality – that is the most important thing.”
The importance of the posture of the people of the municipality to the administration of the council’s affairs did not escape the new Mayor’s consideration, as is rightly captured thus: “I am calling on every one to come and join hands to make sure that this municipality reaches the highest height. Whosoever thinks he can contribute for the betterment of the municipality, the council is welcoming you.”
Also speaking to these reporters the defeated UDP candidate, Femi Peters, said: “Actually I want to thank all those who have contributed in no small manner in supporting me when I volunteered to stand as candidate for mayor of Banjul. My heartfelt thanks go to all those in Banjul and in the Diaspora, who have contributed both materially and financially in seeing our campaign through. They have done a good job and we really appreciate, and may I on behalf of the leadership of the party thank them all for what they have done.”
Responding to a question as to whether in his opinion the election was free and fair, Mr Peters indicated that there were some problems in some of the polling stations but was quick to concede that those problems were not major enough to change the outcome of the elections.
“What I will have to say is that the turnout was low and the process was slow and, as such, I am not trying to apportion blame on anybody but one has to accept defeat at the end of the day and at the same time map out the way forward.
“The elections have come and gone and it is for us to open a new page and see what could be done in the best interest of the nation, particularly Banjul.”
Asked to comment on the outcome of UDP, NRP lawsuit on the amendment to the Local Government Act, Mr. Peters maintained that since the matter is in the courts, it is not right for him to give any comment on it except that they were very optimistic that at the end of the day, the truth will come out and it will prevail. He indicated that they were aware of what they are doing, noting that they would go through the legal process exhaustively.
Also asked as to whether he had any bitterness towards those who voted against him, he said “I do not have anything against those who voted against me,” adding that Gambians in the opposition, particularly the UDP, appreciate the fact that The Gambia is greater than any individual, and that it is not fair for us to let The Gambia become grave yards and refugee camps.
“Every body in this country knows each other and it is for us to preserve that spirit and not turn the country into what is happening in other countries. It is not proper to set the country ablaze for the sake of one or two people.
“Let us continue to work together and try to sink our political differences and look at the interest of the nation and issues at hand and not start to think about partisan politics,” he concluded.
Mr Samba Faal, the new Banjul Mayor, said that the council would work closely with the APRC government in making sure that the development objectives of the President are achieved. He used the occasion to call on all Banjulians of all political affiliation to work together for the betterment of the city. “We will always open our doors for any ideas that would help the council in their work,” he reassured.
Mayor Faal thanked the electorate on behalf of the councillors for having confidence in them. “We have to come together and participate meaningfully to make Banjul a better place, while assuring Banjulians that their monies would be properly utilised for the development of the city.
We will work to meet the expectations of the people of the city,” he concluded.