Is all well between godfather and protegee?
The mayor of the capital city Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe, used to be the darling of UDP faithful and their leader Ousainou Darboe.
But it appears the relationship between mentor and protegee has soured and deteriorated beyond the reach of future mutual embrace, according to UDP insiders reaching GunjurOnline who spoke on the strictest condition of confidence to avoid retribution.
The mayor was the darling of the biggest opposition party according to GunjurOnline interlocutors nestled in the deepest bowels of UDP, but the relationship began showing cracks because of her vaulting ambition for political leadership amid leaked plans to contest for party leadership in the upcoming UDP Congress in December.
“Rohey Malick Lowe had a particularly acrimonious altercation with the UDP leader, Ousainou Darboe. She is cognizant of the fact that the old leadership constitute an electoral liability and she want to put her hat in the ring for leadership as VP if Darboe becomes president. But Darboe’s preferred candidate for Vice President is Oley Wadda Ceesay. This has complicated her relationship with the UDP leader and they had a very serious altercation”, revealed the source.
The biggest opposition party, according to the source, is in a state of internecine strife for the soul of its leadership.
“It’s got so bad that even when she became president of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), they refused to publicly congratulate her because she has a problem with Ousainou Darboe,”added they source.
Rohey Malik Lowe also seems to be taking considerable heat from the party for suggesting Ousainou Darboe should be on his last stab at the presidency, after which he should pave way for a new leader, especially if he were to fail in his bid to become the 4th President of The Republic of The Gambia in 2021.
“The UDP leader Ousainou Darboe doesn’t like this.The executive doesn’t like it too.In fact, it’s possible they might expel her from UDP,” added the source.
GunjurOnline contacted UDP Spokesperson, Almamy Fanding Taal, putting it to him that according to our sources, there is acrimony between the mayor and UDP hierarchy resulting in the party's failure to acknowledge and publicly congratulate her on being elected as president of African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum and as an executive member of the Global Parliament of Mayors.
Responding to these claims, Mr Tall said:
“This is not true.The information you have is not accurate. First, Mr. Darboe has to be elected flag bearer first and president before he appoints a VP. Remember in the Gambia we elect only the President who appoints a VP thereafter”.
Asked to clarify why UDP failed to publicly congratulate the female Banjul mayor despite her appointment as president of the African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum (ACCSF), Almammy’s response was telling and drips with suspenseful intrigue despite his best efforts:
“Yes, as I have said the Party has congratulated her. However, as a party we do not wish to engage in self-congratulation after all this is not the first time she has made our nation proud. What may be of interest to UDP is why has the other parties and the Ministry of Local Government not publicly congratulated her. That could be an interesting line of inquiry. UDP KANKILLING”.
When GunjurOnline contacted Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe on reports that all is not well between her and the UDP leadership, hence the party's failure to acknowledge and congratulate her election as president of African Capital Cities Sustainability Forum, the Banjul Mayor did not give a direct answer, but was quick to state that UDP leader Ousainou Darboe who she calls "my father" personally called to congratulate her. Asked as to why didn't UDP publicly congratulate her in a press statement as it usually does, here is what she said: " My father Ousinou Darboe has called to congratulate me. What can I do if UDP decided not to publicly congratulate me as a party? can I force them? what may be worth congratulating to you, may not be worth congratulating to others, I have had many support and congratulatory messages form people from the opposition and I am grateful for that"
What was clear during the telephone call with the Mayor is that all is not well between Rohey Malick Lowe and the UDP hierarchy. Is Rohey Malick Lowe's political ambition putting her on a collision course with UDP?
The "UDP's Hypocrisy"
In light of the UDP not publicly congratulating Banjul Mayor Lowe on her election as the president of the continental ACCSF body, but publicly congratulating Gambian-American Alder Samba Baldeh on his election victory as Wisconsin State Legislature in the USA, Social commentator Sulayman Jeng calls it "UDP's hypocrisy".
A week is a long time in politics as British Prime Minister Harold Wilson famously said, a lot of change can happen in a short space of time.