By Zakaria Kemo Konteh
When the United Democratic Party Presented Sheriffo Sonko to electorates, the message was simple as it was clear: he was being sent to serve the overriding interests of Brikama Area Council Consituents. When taking the oath of office after his victory, Sherrifo pledged his allegiance to the office and affirmed his promise to serve the people of the area without fear or favor irrespective of whether they voted for him or against him. In short, he promised to serve them regardless of their political affiliations.
Months into his tenure, Chairman Sonko had proven unprepared, detached and less strategic in handling the daunting tasks and challenges of his administrative area. He had failed, collosally, in almost every development metrics and was trailing far behind when compared to the progress made by his colleagues in other municipalities. Understanding that the people of Brikama Area Council were being under-served, contrary to the promise made to the constituents, UDP could have initiated both public and private engagements and bring its administrative experience to bear and help, guide and mentor their struggling party member.
Leadership, as I understand and experience, is not all about taking punitive measures when someone is failing. Leaders should be able to recognize the needs of their team members, understand root cause(s) of such needs and establish action plans to bring about positive outcome. I am inclined to believe that UDP failed to follow leadership wisdom and responsibility in order to help Sheriffo Sonko.
It is safe to say that UDP's plan to revoke Sonko's Membership from the party and consequently remove him from the office appears not guided or necessitated by the Chairman's under performance and plummeting metrics but because of his affiliation with President Barrow. Forcing an elected Chairman to vacate his seat not because he is doing poorly (even though he is) but on account of his political leaning, flies in the face of vendetta and revenge. This is both disappointing and worrying with consequences - among others - of having even bolder, unhinged and invincible Sherrifo at the helm.
For all of this to make sense, let the electorates decide on Sonko's fate either through the ballot (as in next election) or through a recall proceeding (as in vote of no confidence). In the meantime, I am calling on UDP to let this go, learn a thing or two from this experience, exercise patience and do better next time. Besides, we'd rather the party makes these mistakes outside of government and course correct itself than when in total control of government.
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