The University of The Gambia’s Student Union (UTG-SU) on Thursday March 29, 2018, elected Fatou Jeng a third year journalism student as the first female president after its 17th executive council elections.
The youth and environment advocate Miss Jeng will take presidency from Alpha M.K. Lowe after narrowly defeating her most formidable rival Sheikh Hydara – a fourth year student of Business and Public Administration (BPA) in a well contested election among 3 presidential candidates with only 15 votes difference.
Fatou Jeng had 837 votes, second place Sheikh Hydara got 822 votes and Kawsu Sanneh in third gathered 536 votes respectively.
It was predicted that the election will be a two-horse race after the conventional debate held at the university auditorium 24hrs earlier to voting day where Jeng and Hydara performed well.
In an exclusive interview with the Point Newspaper, the former president of the UTG Debate Association, Jeng expressed her delight but was quick to say it’s time to work because the out-going executive has raised the bar.
“I felt overwhelmed that I was announced the winner of the election. I felt happy that the university students did vote for competence, experience and expertise just like I have been preaching throughout my campaigns,” she said. “Immediately I was declared winner, I realised it’s time to work because the bar has been raised very well by the out-going executive.”
If anything is to go by the previous elections coupled with Jeng’s gender, most political analysts in the school tipped Mr. Hydara to win. The students, however, put aside gender differences and school affiliations to make history.
“For the past 16 years, men have only been serving as SU president which didn’t tell well”, she said. “Breaking the record as the first female president of the UTG-SU means that women can be anything they want even with gender barriers and gender structures.”
“I was told by some people that I will never win the elections because of my gender, but thanks to the UTG community, they were proven wrong.”
“I urge my fellow women to come up and start taking leadership roles because we can do it even better,” the newest president said.
Sheikh Hydara conceded defeat and congratulated her, saying; “I have accepted the will of God, and above all, students’ choice. My services shall be readily available if you need it. May Allah guide, protect and give you the strength and support to lead the SU to the desired destination.”
“Fellow students of the University of The Gambia, I wish to unreservedly thank you all for exercising a great sense of maturity and concern to see a better UTGSU during the election process. This shows that there is hope for the future and that UTG is bigger than any of us coupled with our differences.”
He equally thanked the UTG Electoral Commission for staging what he called yet a very free, fair and transparent elections. “Your impartiality throughout the process was fundamental in ensuring that the unequivocal voice of the students are heard through their votes.”