Protesters at the scene

By Awa Touray

The long-standing leadership crisis among members of the Gambia Transport Union (TU), still continues.

The crisis which has dragged for over two years, is between two camps, and each of is blaming the unproductivity of the Union on the other.

On Tuesday May 7 2019, hundreds of drivers who are members of either of the two camps, paraded on the street of Buckle in Banjul at the TU’s Office, to protesting for its closure. The office which was said to be opened by one of the camps (the older camp), claim that the office should not be closed until a National congress is held to elect a new leadership, who will steer the affairs of Union.

Protesters in the new and younger camp, could be seen forcefully removing office equipment which caused some fracas among the two rival camps during the process.

Omar Ceesay, who claims to be the president of the Gambia Transport Union, said drivers elected them to protect their welfare, control Union matters within the country, and sensitize them on their rights. “This has not been happening for the past seventeen years,” he alleged. Ceesay said they had meeting with the authorities concerned, but the police arrested them and put them behind bars; that they were in that situation until in 2016 when the former Jammeh Government banned the old Union and charged them with economic crimes. He said after the 2016 elections, drivers decided to come together to make a change and support themselves; that he was elected president in the process, whilst the former executives were on trial. Ceesay said when their case was thrown out, they wanted to come back and take over again which they refused; that the former executive are still forcing themselves and threatening them with violence. Ceesay said they want to hold a congress and elect an executive body, but the former executive members were not willing to do this; that on Monday 6th May, the former executive decided to open the office to start work, which brought about the protest. He said they are waiting for Government to do something about the issue, before they can organize a congress to elect someone to lead them. Ceesay said Government is losing revenue from the transport sector. “Foreigners are benefiting from the transport sector and the country cannot develop like that,” he said.

Malick Ngum, who claims to be the Secretary General of the Union, urged the authorities to come to their aid. “We are Gambians and we need solutions to this problem” he said. He said the problem is an ongoing problem and it is two years now, since it started.

Efforts were made to reach members of the other camp for their version of the story to no avail.

Foroyaa will engage the relevant authorities on the issue and update readers accordingly.

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