Opinion: Barrow political behemoth and Talib’s death ground
Despite a strong record of performance during his first tenure as KMC Mayor, Talib’s chances of retaining the coveted job are not iron-clad contrary to popular imagination. It’s not a slam-dunk.
By all objective metrics, Talib has done a sterling job of confronting the major challenges of the populous and politically significant metropolis, such as trash collection and Bakoteh dump site which formed the crux of his campaign for the job.
He has also doubled revenue collection, while enhancing transparency. Despite a fraught relationship with central government, Talib has forged successful collaboration with private companies and cities across the Atlantic to build parks and libraries.
Such is the magnitude of his accomplishments and national profile that Talib is often touted as the best contender for the opposition UDP in 2026 presidential polls. Yet major forces are arrayed against UDP’s rising political star in the form of an emboldened Adama Barrow who is prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to plot his political downfall.
So immense is the Talib-UDP threat in Barrow’s mind that vast resources are being arrayed to ensure he is dislodged from his elevated perch in the city.
Unbelievable though it sounds; NPP have a decent chance at not just taking over KMC, but also neutralizing the most viable successor to Lawyer Ousainou Darboe.
The once mighty UDP’s failure to evolve and renew itself will come home to roost with calamitous consequences without the charismatic and modernizing presence of Talib, whose political exploits seem to have caught the imagination of many young voters.
Yet the gravest risk to his power comes from the people and their perverse pleasure for living a destiny that’s not theirs. The average voter in KMC is more likely than not to place a higher value on Barrow’s myriad on-going infrastructural developments underwritten with OIC funds than Talib’s less visible and compelling investments in the long term prospects of the municipality and its people.
Perhaps no one is more aware of this than Talib, as evident his desperate scramble for endorsements. So petrified is he of the Barrow political behemoth that he is seeking support from people tainted by scandal or, worse, bereft of any political following.
I was shell-shocked when I saw news articles and images of Talib meeting Musa Yali Batchilly and Assan Martin who can charitably be described as butts of savage jokes. No one in their right mind will confuse them for political assets. No wonder Talib struggles to look sufficiently enthusiastic in published photos of his meetings with them.
It’s a grim reality Talib is on death ground and needs all the tools in his arsenal to have not just a chance at another term as Mayor, but keeping him from the ignominious distinction of another rising political star gone supernova.
Sainey Darboe is a Washington-based Gambian journalist.
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