Famara Wassa Touray’s legacy revisited, as PPP resurrects
The Gambia’s ruling party at independence, Peoples’ Progressive Party, has launched efforts aimed at a political resurgence in the next election cycle. The PPP was founded with the support of Gunjur native Famara Wassa Touray who is credited with building its support in the protectorate along with Sanjally Bojang, leading to victory in the 1963 legislative elections.
Late Famara Wassa Touray of Gunjur - instrumental in 1963 legislative elections for the PPP
Kebba Jallow, the chairman of PPP task force committee, disclosed in an interview with The Point newspaper in Banjul that the hitherto comatose party will hold a congress to choose a new leader in “due course”.
He added: “In weeks’ time we will announce the contenders for the Mayoral and Chairmanship elections. Thirty-two Ward Councilors have been approved by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to contest the upcoming Local Government (LG) Elections on 12 April 2018. Mayoral and candidates for chairmanship will be disclosed;32 lined up in the race for Local Government elections . The party is embarking on resurgence, and will contest all elective offices including presidency”. Mr. Jallow added that they are not unmindful of The Gambia’s demographic bulge in the youthful population, disclosing: “We are calling on the youth to embrace the party, which has ruled the country for 30 years, with peace, progress, rule of law and observance of human rights. We are calling on members of PPP, especially the elderly to embrace the party of our fore -bears. We are rebuilding the party for the benefit of today and tomorrow of The Gambia". “The PPP is open to all Gambians, both here and the diaspora. We are grateful to Gambians in the diaspora, especially U.S.A., led by Mr. Sankung Jawara and the U.K. led by Siaka Sonko”. BB Darboe, Dembo Jatta and Yaya Ceesay, he said, are “available and willing to throw support” behind the party. Famara Wassa Touray was mentioned in the book written by American author Berkeley Rice, titled ‘Enter Gambia: the birth of an Improbable Nation’. Berkeley Rice who was in The Gambia before and during independence wrote of an interview with the leader of United Party, Pierre Njie whom he quoted as saying: “This Jawara is a scallywag. When I was PM and I said ‘yes,’ it meant yes. Not this man. It’s the result of coming from a low family – the lowest of the low. His Ministers and MPs are the same. Kah forged checks. Daffeh stole from the District Authority treasury. Famara Wassa Touray served a prison term. Singhateh stole money. When the police issued a warrant for him, he ran away to Sierra Leone. Then he came back and stood for election. I know these things because I am a lawyer”. In his book titled Kairaba, former Gambian President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara paid tribute to the efforts of Famara Wassa Touray who stood for the interests of the people of the rural Gambia known as the protectorate. The late political hack from the sprawling coastal town of Gunjur, according to Jawara, used a bicycle to traverse the country in order to drum up support for the new party along with Sanjally Bojang.
Watch out for our subsequent piece on the legacy of Famara Wassa Touray on how he helped propel the PPP into a 30 years of governance in The Gambia.