By: Foday Manneh
The incumbent and candidate of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) for the Kanifing Municipal Council mayoral seat, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, has alleged his close contenders, the ruling National People’s Party, of arresting and beating his supporters on the eve of the elections.
Mr. Bensouda made these revelations immediately after casting his vote on election day, on Saturday, at the Pipeline Mosque polling station.
“There were some vigilant people who set up themselves on the side of the NPP and were housed at Majum Estate last night, the business entity of President Barrow. They handcuffed our monitoring officers, took them into that Estate, beat them up, and handed them over to the Police Intervention Unit (PIU).”
“This was motivated by the President’s recent statements of telling his militants to do whatever they feel like and that they will back them. We condemn this statement and call all NPP young people not to listen to such calls,” Talib urged.
After voting in Fajara, the party leader of the UDP, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe made the same sentiments in expressing his disappointment and condemning the alleged actions of the said NPP supporters.
“I am disappointed and put in fear of destabilizing our country. Last night, a group of hooligans attacked innocent Gambians doing their business. I understand at least three of them were held at a business center called Majum against their will,” Darboe told reporters.
“We hope the Police and the Gambia government will take the necessary steps against these people. But, unfortunately, these are the little things when accumulated, lead to catastrophic results, and nobody wants that. So I want to appeal to everybody to go about their businesses peacefully,” he appealed.
However, in response to these allegations, soon after casting his vote at Ebo Town, the NPP candidate for the KMC Mayoral seat, Bakary Badjie, confirmed his party supporters’ reaction against the arrested UDP militants and said his people were attacked first.
“The UDP guys are like this. They will trouble and tell a different story to the media. Our people were at Old Jeshwang, and the UDP people went there, attacking and throwing stones at them. They moved and came to Ebo Town, where some of our people were; again, they followed our people, attacking them up to around Majum,” Badjie said.
“They are following our people and are doing whatever they feel like doing, and if we react back, they say it is bad. Are they the only ones in this country? Those that were arrested were reported to the Police,” he confirmed.