The party of the former autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh has promised a tough fight for the mayoral race of Gambia’s biggest municipality as its candidate Ousman Jatta nominates for what many believes may be the country’s toughest mayoral election in over two decades.
Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction has joined United Democratic Party and Peoples’ Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism as the three political groupings to have won seats in the country’s councilor elections held barely 2 weeks ago.
But Jatta told journalists after his nominations that their misfortunes in winning 3 of the 19 councilor seats will be behind them in this mayoral election.
“We are very confident that we are going to emerge victorious. We have diagnosed our problems during the councilor elections and we are going to fix all those issues. Come May 12 we will emerge victorious,” Jatta said.
Jatta, who was accompanied by top members of the APRC executive including the outgoing mayor Yankuba Colley, appeared at the election house along Kairaba Avenue on Monday morning with a rousing crowd of APRC supporters.
His entrance was delayed because of misunderstanding with the police after the supporters were informed that only seven people could be allowed into the IEC complex.
The Kanifing Municipality has recently faced some serious problems especially in the area of waste management and rising public debt, owing the national energy company, NAWEC, over D200 millions.
But Jatta said he intends to deal with waste management problem within the first hundred days of his term if elected.
Meanwhile, Monday has also seen the nomination of three other mayoral candidates including the candidate for Gambia Democratic Congress, Dawooda Njie, and independent candidate Papa Njie.
The first to have appeared before the election authorities on Monday was a little known Modou Jenkins also an independent candidate.
“I intend to expand the revenue generation capacity of the KMC… I am confident that the KMC people will vote for me,” GDC’s Njie, a veteran businessman, has told journalists.
“I have made a pledge that my salary will go to charity and also I will dedicate D1 million of my own funds to educating students within the municipality.”
This mayoral election is being contested by over 4 parties with host of independent candidates some of whom have formed a coalition.
“I am the most qualified candidate for this job… The first thing I am going to address is the operational efficiency of the KMC,” said Papa Njie, leader of a coalition of three independent candidates.
All the 4 candidates have been nominated tentatively but their nomination can be revoked if any of them is found to have not fulfilled the criteria under the election laws or have submitted information that later turns out to be false.
Monday also marks the first day of nomination for contestants of various Area Council across the country and Banjul City Council.
By Mustapha K Darboe