Banni Ward: We are worried if our councillor is fit to represent us anymore

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A number of people in Central River Region-North Banni Ward said they are concerned if their elected councillor Sorry Darboe is anymore fit to lead them after he was sentenced by Niani District tribunal in December, last year.

From Jarumeh Koto to Manna and from Kolli Kunda to Kibiri to Hydra, Bush Town, Kunting and Jalokoto, their people said they are deeply worried if Mr. Darboe should continue being their councillor after being involved in unlawful cutting down of trees.

Niani District chief, Pierre Bah, sentenced Mr. Darboe, who secured his councillorship through the United Democratic Party (UDP); to a fine of D15, 000 dalasis in default to serve three months in prison after he was found guilty of tree cutting last December but he has denied to his people of being convicted after appearing before tribunal court.

Morro Jawla, chief of Sami district handed Mr. Darboe to the Niani district tribunal who found him guilty of tree cutting and fined him 15, 000 dalasis after found wanting. He was said to have been using the name of the ward to illegally cut down timbers claiming to be constructing a road linking Kunting to Laminkoto which many Alkalos and Village Development Committees said they were not aware of.

Mr. Darboe had told our correspondent that he did not accept that he was charged for unlawful felling down of trees. “Who told you that I was charged for unlawful felling down of trees and do you have a sermon letter to show that I was charged and convicted to a fine of 15, 000 dalasis?” Mr. Darboe angrily asked our correspondent and immediately cut-off the communication.

The region’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officer in Jangjanbureh confirmed to our correspondent that Mr. Darboe’s issue had reached their office but said Jangjanbureh Area Council is responsible for any decision to be taking against him.        

Chairman of Kuntaur Area Councillor Saikou Jawara said Mr. Darboe was charged for unlawful cutting down of trees but he was phoned by the local government minister Musa Drammeh, telling him that Mr. Darboe was sentenced but his case was not illegal.

The minister’s claimed statement had angered many Alkalos and youths in the ward, saying Mr. Darboe had agreed to pay the fine levied on him by the district tribunal.  They said the minister wanted to back Mr. Darboe by saying that his actions were not illegal, saying if action is not taking, they will sue the concerned authorities.

“We will not work with a councillor who is already found wanting. Even if the chairman still wants to work with him, we are not ready to. A by-election must be conducted,” some supporters of the Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) party told our correspondent. 

They said they will not continue to work with such a councillor because that may tarnish the name of their party, saying as far as the GDC party is concern, with only a single seat for the chairmanship, they will  not condone to work with a councillor who was already sentenced.

Author: Ousman Jallow, CRR