Gambians have spoken through the ballot. In the just concluded mayoral/chairmanship elections, the electorates shared equally the country’s eight mayoral/chairmanship seats into two. They gave the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) four seats and another four to the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP).
The opposition UDP won the top local council offices in Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council, Brikama Area Council and Mansakonko Area Council; while the governing National People’s Party (NPP) won the said seats in Kerewan Area Council, Janjanbureh Area Council, Kuntaur Area Council and Basse Area Council.
By order of hierarchy, the Banjul City Council and Kanifing Municipal Council, where the UDP won, are the biggest forces in local government dispensation in The Gambia.
In his congratulatory message to all elected mayors and chairpersons, President Adama Barrow said:
“Now that we have completed this cycle of elections, I urge all Gambians to now focus on national development and solidify the peace and stability of the country.”
The statement of the President is a call to enhance national development collaboratively. However, such a call would not be truly evident if the two big players fail to kill that feeling of importance and being in charge.
Mayors, chairpersons and councillors elected on the UDP ticket should see the need to use lobbying and dialogue persuasively and diplomatically in securing the required human, financial and material resources from the NPP-led central government to realize massive developments in their respective councils.
The ruling NPP on the other hand must not only accept defeat orally in the councils won by the main opposition. The NPP-led central government should always provide the needed financial and technical supports to the UDP-led councils as mandated by law. Also, the central government should willingly, wholly and practically transfer devolved functions to the councils. Devolved functions should be transferred with the required human resource and logistics.
Be it the central government or local government, whenever landmark development takes place, people benefit direct or indirectly, and the nation prospers. But when there is little or no positive development, the nation retrogresses and the people suffer. So, let the ego die, so that Gambia may live in peace and prospers.