The Chairman of the Brikama Area Council Sheriffo Sonko has again rejected calls by the United Democratic Party UDP for him to conform to the party’s desires or face expulsion. In a long response to the UDP’s latest effort at expelling him which would have forced him out of office, Mr Sonko outlines his reasons for staying put and and accused the UDP of distracting him from his job. Below is his response
Mr Lamin Dibba Senior
Administrative Secretary United Democratic Party 1A Rene Blain Street
WRITTEN EXPLANATION TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED DEMORCATIC PARTY
I refer to the letter dated 10th June 2020 received the day after several comments made even before the said letter had been sent, As you are aware an carlier letter had been sent to me captioned RE-EXPULSION FROM THE UNITED DEMOCRATIC PARTY informing me about “the decision of the said executive contained in its working resolution adopted and dated on the 27th day of March 2020.
Following that letter and my response to the party, I read in the local media that the decision to expel me from the party would be shelved in the meantime. The media quoted what party officials including the party leader had said making it clear that the decision would be taken though not any longer by the 27th day of March, 2020 working resolution.
The allegations in the charges are of course baseless, and though a decision has already been taken in this matter I am sending this letter for the record and for the sake of posterity.
The letter sent to me purports to invite me to provide explanations before a decision is taken as to whether I should be expelled from the party. In fact, it is clear, that a decision has already been made in relation to this matter and that same was made several weeks ago and even communicated to the public before now. on the several comments made and reported, I have no doubt that the decision or conclusion of the committee is a foregone one.
Statements have been made in the media making it clear the conclusion that will be reached in relation to this matter. As a result, although the “charges” are without any merit or truth and have been framed and are intended to achieve a particular result, there is no point in participating in what would only be a charade.
According to media sources and interviews given by party officials there is no way either I or any one of the persons against whom these trumped up charges have been brought will have a fair hearing.
It is my belief that the entire executive of the UDP who took the first decision (on the 27th March 2020) should resign from their positions. They chose to ignore the law and the rules applicable to the party and acted wrongly against us. A similar action previously made by expelling the 8 (eight) Members of the National ASsembly from the party without following any due process. These officials have put the party members to shame after my initial reply to them.
I have evidence to refute all these unfounded allegations both in letters and videos. The party leaders and its officials are aware of the evidence that is available to refute the “charges.”
(1) It was the UDP party leader Ousainou Darboe who urged all the party members to support President Adama Barrow to achieve all his goals in promoting the National Development Plan (NDP). He has made this comment at many of the UDP rallies.
(2) Even though I was never informed of any executive meeting by the UDP West Coast Region Executive Committee, yet immediately after the Regional Congress the Executive seized the Regional bureau from the former Executive violently. This was done without even the courtesy of informing me of what was planned as the political head. After breaking into the office, all my photographs which had been inside the bureau were torn up.
(3) The only meetings of the president which I have ever attended were state functions.
(4) I have never also, at any point in time, made uny declaration that I had ceased being a member of the UDP nor did ever attend any other party’s meetings which did not require my official presence as chairman of the Brikama Area Council.
(5) Whilst it is correct that I did participate in an interview with Kerr Fatou it is not at all true that I ever said that I was not a member of UDP.
(6) I rather should have been the one complaining about the way I have been treated by the party. When the new Regional Exccutive were elected, they never paid a courtesy call on me, as is custom. They only wrote to me when they needed, to ask for assistance which I nevertheless gave each time I was asked. In fact, it was the Regional Committee that ostracized me. In a bid to have matters settled, 1 even invited them to my office and told them my complaint and mentioned how I felt they were side-lining me. Although they promised to stop this but never fulfilled their promise.
(7) If ever I have championed the cause of the President it is because all of us, party militants were urged to do so by our party leader Ousainou Darboe. Any efforts to rally support for him was in his role as the President of the Republic and not as a head of any political party. As the political head of the region, it is a national duty to support the cause of the Head of State which I will never relent from doing in the interest of The Gambia and the people who elected me and reposed their confidence in me.
(8) Having been elected to try to make our Region better, it is my opinion that the party is trying to distract not only me but other elected members from the tasks that we are mandated to achieve. Our electorate wants development not just politics. So I will continue to ensure that I work to ensure that the lives of the people of our Region is improved as long as I am in office and I have their confidence.
Hon. Sheriffo Sonko
Chairman Brikama Area Council.