Sunday, June 23, 2024

Mayor Lowe and the UDP – no longer at ease?

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OPINION

By: D. A. Jawo

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The recent visit of Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe to President Adama Barrow in his native village of Mankamang Kunda, to ‘present’ to him two awards that she had won, and which ceremony was given unprecedented prominence by GRTS, has quite a lot of political significance.

While it is quite normal for any citizen to make a courtesy call on the head of state for whatever reason, but the time and manner it has happened in the case of Mayor Lowe, is a bit weird and unconventional, especially when she was quoted praising the NPP for their stance on her awards and hardly mentions anything about her own party.

We have all been hearing rumours of a possible rift between Mayor Lowe and her party, the UDP, and this visit not only seems to have strengthened those rumours but with almost complete silence from the UDP camp about her, indicates that there is much more than we can see with our naked eyes.

It is now quite obvious to everyone that it is ‘no longer at ease’ between Mayor Lowe and her own party and it would not be a surprise to many people if things eventually fall apart. The apparent rift between her and the UDP was even quite evident during the last mayoral elections when she was virtually left on her own while the UDP seems to have concentrated all their campaign efforts on KMC and the West Coast Region. There is absolutely no doubt that Mayor Lowe was unhappy about that, and she was said to have complained about being abandoned by her own party.

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Of course, some NPP militants like Seedy Njie seem to have capitalized on such an apparent rift between her and the UDP in order to drive a much bigger wedge between them. From the look of things, Seedy Njie and his NPP colleagues seem to have succeeded in luring Mayor Lowe to their side. It would therefore not be a surprise if the rift eventually leads to separation between her and the UDP. Whatever happens however, it is unlikely that she would resign from the UDP because she knows that may lead to her losing her seat as mayor, according to the Local Government Act. However, she may try to provoke the UDP into expelling her in which case she can continue as an “NPP independent” mayor, but whether the UDP would fall for such provocation, only time will tell.

What has Mayor Lowe to gain from any such alliance with the NPP, one would tend to ask. The answer may not be quite obvious, but it is clear that she is under intense pressure from several quarters including her own deputy, who seems to be leading a rebellion against her administration by NPP councillors, who form the majority of the elected councillors in the BCC. Now that her relationship with her own party seems quite shaky, she needs to turn to somewhere else to help ward off that pressure and with encouragement from Seedy Njie and other NPP bigwigs, she seems to have chosen to lean on President Barrow and the NPP to help ease the pressure on her.

However, such a prospect may not auger quite well in some quarters within the NPP itself, especially those who see Mayor Lowe as an “enemy” which of course includes her deputy and his group in the BCC as well as those who backed Ebou Faye and fought quite a bitter “war” against her during the Banjul mayoral elections.
Whatever the outcome of this apparent political tussle between Mayor Lowe and the UDP, however, it is most likely to end in a divorce, which could have some ripple effects both for the UDP and the NPP.

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