Ya Kumba Jaiteh named Female Politician of the Year

Mar 9, 2023, 12:10 PM | Article By: Ali Jaw

Famous Gambian politician of the opposition United Democratic Party, lawyer and former nominated member of the Gambia’s National Assembly, Ya Kumba Jaiteh, has been crowned the Politician of the Year.

The young female politician was named such by She Awards Gambia, one of the country’s women-led organisations that champion the recognition of women’s effort and achievements through yearly awards.

Ya Kumba, born 19 July 1988 in Dippa Kunda, studied law in The Gambia and Great Britain, where she graduated with honours from the Anglia Ruskin University.

Following her nomination by President Adama Barrow in 2017 as one of the five additional nominated members of parliament, where she even served at the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and the Local Government and Lands Committee, Ya Kumba Jaiteh’s prominence kick-started.

However, her name emerged as a household name when on 5 March 2019 she challenged the controversial revocation of her nomination to parliament by the President on 25 February 2019 through the Supreme Court of The Gambia, which sparked a debate over whether the constitution gives the President such power.

The revocation reportedly arose from a speech in which she criticised certain government policies. On January 28, 2020, the Supreme Court found the revocation of her appointment unconstitutional, thus null and void.

The government regretted the verdict but announced that it would implement it immediately. She was later reinstated following her successful appeal, which marked one of the most landmark cases against the executive.

Being a member of the Female Lawyer’s Association of The Gambia (FLAG) and a resolute activist, Ya Kumba remains one of the most vocal critics of the government and some of its agencies, especially The Gambia Police Force and other security apparatuses.

However, in October 2020, she was accused of assaulting a police officer of The Gambia’s notorious Drug Law Enforcement Agents, infamously known as the Drug Squad. The case is still ongoing before the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.