Aug 11, 2008, 8:05 AM
The Gambia branch of the All People’s Congress (APC), the ruling party in Sierra Leone, has elected a young and vibrant chairman for its Basse wing of the party.
Ibrahim Gaspa Kamara was elected on 30 August this year to serve as wing chairman in Basse under the umbrella of the main APC Gambia branch in Serrekunda, after a tense but smooth and peaceful election involving him, his chairlady Isatou Manneh and their opponents Foday Kortu Kargbo and Rugiatu Njie.
The election and voting process, supervised by the National Advisory Council (NAC) of the APC, was described as transparent, free and fair by election observers from the party branch in Serrekunda and some senior officials of the Sierra Leone Embassy who by coincidence witnessed the voting process while on their assignment of a nationwide registration of Sierra Leoneans residing in The Gambia.
The voting process, conducted at the Anglican Mission complex in Basse, attracted Sierra Leoneans both young and old from all villages and corners of Basse. At the end Mr Gaspa Kamara carried the day with about 52% (233 votes) and his chairlady 56% (249 votes), whilst his opponents Foday Kortu Kargbo got 48% (210 votes) and his chair lady Rugiatu Njie 44% (194 votes). A total of 433 votes was cast of about 500 registered voters.
In his remarks after being declared winner of the polls, Mr Kamara, a government teacher in one of the senior secondary schools in Basse, thanked all those who took part in the election. “I want to promise you all that we are going to work with MrFoday to make a vibrant APC branch in Basse and serve our people.”
For his part, Foday Kortu Kargbo, a small-scale businessman in Basse, said: “I would like to congratulate Mr Gaspa Kamara for winning the election. I have accepted defeat and will still remain to be a loyal APC member and continue to serve Sierra Leoneans. I also want to thank President Yahya Jammeh, his government and people of The Gambia for their love and hospitality to Sierra Leoneans in this country.”
In declaring the results of the election, the Chairman of NAC, Foday M. Kargbo, said: “The election was free and fair; the turnout was massive and the Basse officers that conducted the election process to the voting day did their job very well and those officers who came to witness the voting process also did their job professionally.”
“The atmosphere on the voting day was very calm and the whole election process was completely free from violence. We thank God for that,” said Basse NAC chairman Abdulrahman Bangura.
In his remarks, Sheku Kamara, Sierra Leone Embassy Consular Officer and Coordinator of the Embassy registration exercise, said: “As far as I have seen, everything went on smoothly and the voting process was really transparent, and I commend the organisers for their good job.”
Mr Kamara also said about 80 per cent of Sierra Leoneans he documented in Basse in his registration drive could provide only the APC party card to identify themselves as Sierra Leoneans.
He also thanked President Yahya Jammeh for giving Sierra Leoneans the privilege of running their party affairs peacefully in The Gambia.
The APC Gambia observer team of 15 members that went to Basse to oversee the voting process included its vice chairman Alimamy Dumbuya, Bai U.S. Kamara, Edward Sesay, Madam Sallay Conteh, Ramatu Kamara and Hawanatu Kamara.