The 2018 mayoral contestant for Kanifing Municipality, Bakary Badjie, has defended #TeamBakaryBadjie’s meeting with President Adama Barrow last week, saying it came out of necessity. Badjie also clarified the State House press release which described their support for The Gambian leader as ‘unconditional.’
Currently based in the United States, he lost the May 2018 election to the current Mayor Ahmed Talib Bensouda, who contested under the United Democratic Party (UDP) banner.
Members of #TeamBakaryBadjie paid a visit to State House last week where they held talks with President Barrow, assuring him of their full support for his development agenda. The visit brought about criticisms not only from outsiders, but also from some members of #TeamBakaryBadjie – who expressed disappointment in the decision.
Among those who expressed disappointment is Ms. Lala Touray who expressed her disappointment on Facebook following the meeting in State House. According to Touray, her support for Bakary was based on his visionary leadership, consistency, principles and standards.
“When Bakary lost the elections, we were pissed, but I didn’t lose hope in him, I didn’t regret campaigning for him, and I promised myself that if he ever contested again, I would campaign for him again. This is how much I valued Bakary, this is how high I rated his leadership skills. Today, like so many other young people, I have been let down and I am disappointed.”
When contacted by The Chronicle, Bakary Badjie justified the decision he took with his team in throwing their weight behind the President to complete his constitutionally mandated term.
“…one thing should be made clear, that meeting came out of necessity. We cannot say because the President and his government are making mistakes here and there, or overlooking some very important national matters, citizens must therefore keep away from them. That is not our belief,” he said.
“We wouldn’t be mere spectators or critics and when the opportunity comes to engage the executive, we shy away because there is a general frustration among the population.” Badjie maintained.
Badjie said his team believes dialogue and continuous engagement is what influences people who hold the power to make decisions for the common good.
“We agreed as a local executive to meet the President and discuss with him what we believe needs to be done, especially in the areas that we are more focused on – youth and women empowerment. By the same token, we also offered him our support for the remainder of his constitutional term in order for him to realize his national development blueprint.”
He told The Chronicle that their message to the President was clear: to recognize and address the issues pertaining to young people.
He clarified that their support to the president will be based on lawful and good practices.
“People said the phrase ‘unconditional support’ as captured in the States House media release was an overreach. I believe they took it out of context. The message was that the team will support him without any strings attached to it. That was meant to clear things because there is an unfortunate general belief out there that if a group or an individual supports a key position holder or any politician, they are doing so in anticipation for favors of either position or cash…That is not our mission because we were never motivated by money or favors. That has never been our values and shall never be.”
According to Badjie, they remain who they are in terms of good principles.
“However, we are a part of the body politic of this country as an independent group. When the time comes to align ourselves with a political party, we will do so and will not hesitate to announce it.”