By Momodou Jarju
The leadership of People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has promised to resolve the ongoing ruckus about the alleged elections malpractices during their last December congress.
Bakary Bunja Darbo alias BB Darboe, one of the contestants for secretary general and team alleged that the election was characterized by irregularities which led them to reject the verdict few days after.
BB Darboe was minister for three years and vice president for ten years under the leadership of first President Dawda Jawara.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the party’s bureau, Latrikunda, Omar Amadou Jallow alias OJ, said they had the best organized, transparent, open and credible congress in the country.
He said the accusations were serious, malicious and wrong, adding that Bakary Bunja Darboe, Alagie Yahya Ceesay, James Gaye, Adama Mboge, and Dodou Taal out of over 100 executive members were the only people who held a meeting and wrote a petition asking Papa Njie to resign.
“Why were we not consulted if they want transparency and accountability and if they know that the evidence they have was truthful and they can lay it on the table for each Gambian who is a party militant to scrutinise and to take a decision.”
OJ said BB Darboe came to The Gambia and met them at an advanced stage in the organisation of the congress and requested that he wants to be part of the process. He said two places were identified for the congress which was Brikama and YMCA and after discussion with IEC when they couldn’t agree at party level; YMCA in Kanifing was chosen to be the ground for the congress.
After that, he said, they formed a committee headed by one Kebba Jallow and included Bakary Darboe, Papa Njie, Papa Faal, Uncle Touray and others to go across the country to validate all the constituency committees to make sure that the committees select the 10 people that were to vote in the congress.
“Before Bakary’s coming we decided that each constituency will select five but he came and said that it should be 10, we agreed,” he added.
OJ said he was the one who raised D35, 000 and gave it to Kebba Jallow and team for their tour. Kebba Jallow, he went on, said BB Darboe should make the report of the tour they made to the constituency committees.
“And he (BB Darboe) agreed that out of 53 constituencies only 17 have not yet established their constituency committees. We requested them to work on those constituencies and make sure they are ready to send their 10 delegates,” OJ explained.
He further said Darboe and his team were satisfied that the other 17 constituency committees can bring their 10 delegates, saying he was fully involved in the process of the contingency establishment and process of the selection of the 10 constituency delegates.
He said the agents of both parties and two senior members of the IEC approved the results.
Out of 550, the number of votes cast were 499, 16 invalid votes, and out of the votes cast BB Darboe scored 227 and Papa Njie scored 272.
OJ said BB Darboe congratulated Papa Njie after the result was announced and prayed for his success, adding that the process was fair and transparent.
OJ said they would accept anyone who wants to join the party but will not force anyone, citing people who had left the party. He said PPP is the only grassroots party in the country.
For his part, Papa Njie the deputy secretary and leader of PPP said BB Darboe and team are free to remain or join the party but if they feel otherwise it is their choice.
Njie said after yesterday’s press conference, they would not entertain any questions about the alleged malpractices in the congress because they want to move forward.
“We have to move forward. We don’t have time. We really have to start engaging the people because for 22 years we have not… engaged young people. Now my mandate is going and talking to people to make sure that they understand our agenda,” he said, adding that in the coming weeks they will introduce their secretariat.
Meanwhile, he said he represents the present, future and all and sundry.
The party has also written an open letter to be handed to President Barrow ahead of the 54th independence celebration, citing recommendations for Barrow to execute by renaming various institutions and places to great Gambians who did a lot to the country. He said this would serve as a source of inspiration to the future generation.
Among them is renaming July 22 Square to Alagie Sir Dawda Jawara’s Square, the Faculty of Law of the UTG to be renamed PS Njie School of Law, Westfield Monument be renamed after late Solo Sandeng, etc.