Tempers Flare at NRP as Deputy Party Leader Counters Minority Leader
Tempers flared at the National Reconciliation Party (NRP) following allegations that the party is on the verge of selecting President Barrow to be its new flag bearer in Gambia’s forthcoming presidential elections slated for 2021.
Days after Minority Leader Samba Jallow invited journalists to his office in Banjul to deny any media reports that the Party has engaged President Barrow to be its new flag bearer, Deputy Party Leader Musa Sonko confirmed that attempts were made by Party Leader Hamat N.K Bah, Minority Leader Samba Jallow, and four sitting National Assembly Members to make President Adama Barrow the new Leader of the NRP.
Sonko accused Party Leader Hamat Bah, Minority Leader Samba Jallow, and four other sitting members of the National Assembly of leading a campaign that is not in consonance with the Constitution and principles of the NRP Party, adding that any attempt to make Barrow the new flag bearer of the NRP will be met with fierce resistance.
On Thursday, 5th September, Minority Leader Samba Jallow denied the allegations that he together with Hamat N.K Bah and four other MPs, have met with President Adama Barrow at Statehouse to discuss ways and means of relinquishing the leadership of the NRP to President Barrow.
He also denied that NRP made the request for the position of Vice President, Speaker of the National Assembly and some Cabinet positions, as well as receiving close to eight hundred thousand Dalasis (D800, 000) from President Barrow for the purchase of Tobaski rams for NRP executive members and certain loyalists of the party.
However, in a strongly worded statement from Deputy Party Leader, Musa Sonko, he stated that the allegations against the National Reconciliation (NRP) are all true, revealing that these allegations were communicated to the Party Executives at its bureau by Hon. Samba Jallow himself, but were met with total rejection.
“It’s true that a day before the Tobaski, I was called and told by the Administrative Secretary, Pa Bajinka Touray, that Hon. Samba Jallow, Minority Leader invited us for a meeting at the bureau which I attended with some of the executive members. During our meeting with the Minority Leader, he told us that they (five sitting members of the National Assembly) together with Hamat Bah (NRP Party Leader) held a discussion with President Barrow so that he can become the new leader of the party,” Deputy Party Leader for NRP disclosed.
Sonko continued to reveal that the Minority Leader told party executives during the August 10thmeeting held at the Party’s bureau that the development was necessary because Party Leader, Hamat Bah, has no financial means to carry on with the party’s activities, adding that Hamat Bah could not face the party but he has assigned him to relay the information to party executives.
He argued that neither Hamat Bah nor the NRP’s sitting National Assembly Members (NAMs), have a mandate to make President Adama Barrow its new leader, adducing that NRP is a party anchored on democratic principles and any change in leadership must follow due procedures of the party and not the wish of only few people hellbent on enriching themselves at the expense of the majority.
“This is a total disregard of the party constitution and party executive and our cherished members, which is totally unacceptable to me and other dignified members of the NRP. It will be over our dead bodies that we will allow self-centered and egocentric individuals to take a registered political party founded on democratic principles as their personal property or enterprise, in contravention of the party constitution and democratic practice,” Sonko said in the statement.
According to him, Minority Leader Hon. Samba Jallow has also informed them that the party has also made demands from President Adama Barrow in exchange for him to become the new leader of the NRP, disclosing that these demands include the positions of the Vice President, Speaker of the National Assembly and some Ministerial positions.
Sonko who doubles as Co-Chair of Coalition 2016, further revealed that the Minority Leader also informed executive members of the party at the 10th August meeting that the party will embark on a nationwide consultation tour and even identified their delegation. He added that the Minority Leader also confirmed that President Barrow will bankroll such a nationwide tour which was a decision that was never tabled before the party executive members for perusal.
The National Reconciliation Party is a key stakeholder of the Coalition 2016 that brought President Adama Barrow to power and has benefitted with a position of a Tourism Minister portfolio and one ambassadorial post. The party’s quest for more positions including that of Vice President, Speaker of the National Assembly and more ministerial positions remains unabated amidst ongoing negotiations to make President Barrow its new leader in exchange for these positions.