More opposition supporters defect to APRC in Basse

07/19/2011 09:10

Scores of opposition supporters in Basse Manneh-Kunda in URR Friday switched allegiance to the APRC during a well-attended meeting held in Basse as part of the Gambian leader’s ‘Dialogue with the people tour’.

The meeting, which was held at the Basse mini-stadium attracted thousands of  people. Addressing the gathering, President Jammeh commended the people of URR for always welcoming him every year. He recalled that before the 2006 election, he told the people of Basse that particular election was to distinguish between those who want development and those who want retrogression.

President Jammeh in responding to some concerns raised by the locals, mainly the defectors on electricity, among other things, said: “If you want your problems solved, you have to show it to me on November 25th. I stood here and swore that and no matter how I feel for you, I will consider helping those who like me. I worked for this country for 15 years without looking into anybody’s eyes. I told you that 2001 was the end of that. You all voted for ‘no’ in the referendum but one thing we must understand as human beings is that God will never come down and talk to us. This is why he has given us eyes, ears, and nose for us to see, think and feel sense, guiding us to the truth. You voted ‘no’ during the referendum against that constitution which is the same constitution that you vote against in place. If you want electricity and water from my government you know how to get it.”

Irregular power supply
Commenting on the issue of irregular power supply in Basse raised by one of the locals, the president noted that it was due to a technical problem on the generator in Basse. “One thing I want to make clear here is that I will not allow lazy people in my government and the electricity problem in Basse is not deliberate,” he said.

Commenting on the roads, the president said: “I promised to transform Basse to a capital and by looking at this road you should know that it is not up to standard. My intention is to lift all Gambians from abject poverty.” President Jammeh assured the gathering that the coming five years will witness more developments than his 17 years of administration, God willing. He stressed that his government paves the way for Gambians in a bid to alleviate abject poverty, but can’t force anybody to take that route.

Advice to youths
The Gambian leader like his previous meetings challenged the youths to actively take part in farming and other skillful ventures. He also enjoined them to take ownership of the opportunities they have in the country,citing  petty trading as a good start for any business. He said: “Imagine Conakry Guineans coming from Guinea starting with a very small business and in two years you see them become importers and exporters, yet still we are looking at them complaining of no job in The Gambia.” During the same meeting in Basse, President Jammeh disclosed that this year’s July 22nd will be celebrated on the theme “utilising positive youth energy”.

Speaking earlier, the minister for Forestry and Environment, Jatto Sillah, who is also the APRC liaison officer for URR commended the people of the region for always turning out in large numbers to welcome President Jammeh. He urged the people of Basse to maintain their position in the elections, noting that records have indicated that there are lots opposition [supporters] in some parts of URR. A citizen of URR himself, Minister Sillah urged his people to set the record straight in the upcoming election.

Yankuba Colley, the APRC national mobiliser and mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) told the gathering that both youths and women are competing as to who will nominate President Jammeh. He assured the Basse meeting that any region that records the highest vote for the APRC will host the biggest and historic victory party ever in the country.

Speaking at the meeting, Alhaji Nasiru Barry, alkalo of Basse welcomed the Gambian leader and entourage to Basse, saying the president is a man of Basse. He opined that Gambians should be very grateful to God for giving them a leader like President Jammeh, therefore urging the people to rally behind and support him in his development efforts. For his part, Alhaji Muhamadou Baldeh, alkalo of Koba Kunda, equally expressed profound gratitude and thanks to the Gambian leader for the numerous developments brought to Basse, and assured that they will vote for him massively in the upcoming election.

Alkalo Baldeh then appealed to the president to help intervene in addressing the current turmoil at the Basse Area Council. According to him, the Council has done nothing for them despite the people paying their taxes. “We are paying out taxes but the Council here cannot rehabilitate our roads, talk less of other things,” he stated.  He called on the people at the Council to come to terms in addressing the problem before it gets out of hand. He also decried the power outages in Basse, and urged the president to intervene. “Since you [president] came, we are having 24-hour power supply, but if you leave before you arrive at Alum-hareh, [ a village before Basse] it starts again,” he told the Gambian leader. He concluded by commending the president for donating tractors to the region.

For their parts, Hammeh Minteh Krubally, the chief of Fulladou East and Chief Julaba Kora of Tumana unanimously welcomed the president and his delegation to Basse, saying they are always happy to receive him in URR. They stated that the tour shows that the president is very much concerned about the people. He  also promised that come the 24th November Presidential Election, the APRC will sweep the polls in URR. They noted that under the leadership of President Jammeh, URR has seen many transformations in the lives of the people, with amenities such as schools, hospitals, roads, and electricity now available.

Alkali Taal, a defector said his joining the ruling party came as a result of the numerous developments registered by the president. He described the president as a man who loves the country. “God is the one who put him into power, therefore is only God that can remove from power,” he said. He also said he has joined the APRC with his friends and relatives. Taal concluded by thanking the president for the developments he brought to URR, while urging him to do more.

Aja Mariama Jaw, APRC URR regional women mobiliser informed the president that the women of URR are behind him at all times, as he has empowered them. He declared that victory for the APRC in the upcoming election is unquestionable because they don’t see any opposition that is a threat to them. She asked the president to sleep and think how to celebrate because he has won already. On behalf of the women in URR, Jaw thanked the president for donating 21 tractors to them, assuring him that they will go back to the land.  She also thanked the president for the two new ferries in Banjul. “There is no politics in URR,” she said, while appealing to the president to construct more roads in URR.

Jaw however debunked the alkalo of Koba Kunda’s claims concerning the Basse Area Council, saying there is no problem at the Council. For their parts, Sulayman Manneh of Basse Manneh Kunda and Alhaji Muhammed Tunkara, both defectors assured the president of their support in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. They said they are tired of following the opposition who cannot provide anything for them, but only take them backward. Sulayman Manneh then appealed to the president to construct a mosque for them at Basse Manneh Kunda.

Mawdo Susso, URR regional youth mobiliser presented 450 youths with their voter cards. He thanked the president for the advice and support he continues to give to the youths, adding that the youths of URR are very proud of the president. “We the youths want to see an end to the opposition,” he said. Susso raised certain concerns to the president, among them the need for a multi-purpose centre in Basse, upgrading of Basse mini-stadium, and also the need for a TV crew to be based in Basse to cover the activities unfolding in the area.

Alhaji Saibo Sillah, Imam of Kanubeh appealed to the president to assist in the completion of their mosque that started since the Jawara era. Alhaji Bajoko Dukuray, regional coordinator of Serahuleh Youth and Sports Development organisation and Councilor Neneh Jallow Darboe also spoke at the meeting. Honourable Sellu Bah, National Assembly member for Basse and APRC desk officer for   URR moderated the meeting.
 
Author: by Musa Ndow & Hatab Fadera on tour

Captioned from the Daily Observer Online Newspaper.

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