Kuntaur Area Council declares ‘Absconded’ Chairman Seat vacant after 24-hour Ultimatum to resume work expires

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Saihou Jawara

By: Kebba Ansu Manneh

The General Council of the Kuntaur Area Council in the northern Central River region of the Gambia has declared the seat of its Chairman, Saihou Jawara, vacant after he failed to honor the Council’s 24-hour Ultimatum to resume work.

Chairman Jawara is believed to have absconded while on an official mission in the United States in September 2023. His prolonged stay raises concerns about his willingness to return to the country to continue his duties as elected Chairperson of the Kuntar Area Council.

The General Council unanimously agreed on Tuesday at the council meeting that if Chairman Jawara did not show up for work on Wednesday, the Council would write to all stakeholders to notify them of the seat vacancy and set a by-election date.

Musa Bah, Vice Chairman of Kuntaur Area Council doubling as the Councilor of Kaur Ward, has confirmed to TAT that Chairman Saihou Jawara is yet to report to work on 31 January 2024, as the General Council demands.

Vice Chairman Bah told TAT late Wednesday evening that the Ultimatum given to Chairman Saihou Jawara had elapsed. “The Council has no option but to decide his fate finally. An emergency General Council meeting will be held on Monday, 8th, 2024, for the Councilors to decide what move they are to make regarding the matter.”

“Next Monday, I will call an emergency General Council Meeting to address the Chairman’s fate. If he fails to appear at the Council by this date, we have no option but to write to the Ministry of Local Government and all stakeholders to notify them of the seat vacancy,” Vice Chairman Musa Bah told TAT.

He added, “I am only going to coordinate the meeting, and if the General Council agrees that it’s about time to declare the seat vacant and call for a by-election, we will do so. However, I can assure you that this matter will go to rest by Monday. If the Chairman fails to appear for work, we will write to all stakeholders and notify them of the position’s vacancy and for IEC to decide and set a date for a by-election.”

However, Sorry Darboe, Councilor of Banni Ward, disclosed to TAT that the Vice Chairman has already been assigned to write to all stakeholders on the vacancy of the Chairman’s seat.

He affirmed that the Ultimatum given to Chairman Saihou Jawara had elapsed.

The Banni Ward Councilor brushed aside Chairman Saihou Jawara’s claims of engaging and attracting investors to the region, recalling that Chairman Jawara made similar promises in 2018 after visiting Brazil, but to date, investors and investment have yet to be brought to the region’s

TAT spoke with three other National People’s Party elected Councilors at the Kuntaur Area Council, who all expressed their disappointment in the Chairman’s refusal to return to work. They argued that absconding to the US was a betrayal of the trust and confidence of the people bestowed on him.

They called on the Ministry of Local Government and Lands and the Independent Electoral Commission to act in the region’s interest. 

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