Landing B. Sanneh, the incumbent chairman of the Mansakonko Area Council
By Landing Ceesay
Landing B. Sanneh, the incumbent chairman of the Mansakonko Area Council, has said that the people of his region want him to continue working for them.
Sanneh, who is seeking a second term in office, is the candidate for the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) for the upcoming local government elections in the Mansakonko Administrative Area.
“I am vying for the second time because the need is there. I believe my people still want me to continue and work for them. So that is the major factor and the greatest motivation that is leading me to go into vying for a second term in office,” Chairman Sanneh Journalist shortly after submitting his documents to the IEC.
In response to a question about whether his party, the United Democratic Party (UDP), still has a strong base in the Lower River Region (LRR), Chairman Sanneh said that the UDP is the bedrock of politics in the region. He pointed to the party’s recent victory in the Councillors elections as evidence of its continued popularity.
“The fact remains that UDP still has its grounds in the Lower River Region (LRR) and that cannot change so easily. The United Democratic Party (UDP) remains the bedrock of politics in this region, and there is no joke about that. We will not underestimate any other party, but that is democracy. And we even in UDP promote other contenders to come and promote the democracy that stands for the United Democratic Party (UDP). In Democracy, you have to involve and engage the other parties that will play their part, but ultimately, UDP will emerge, as the winner of the elections,” he said.
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The ruling National People’s Party (NPP) has nominated Kebba Dem to challenge Chairman Landing Sanneh for the Lower River Region (LRR). Dem told journalists that he is running because the region lacks development, which he blames on Sanneh’s council’s refusal to work with the government.
In response to these allegations, Chairman Sanneh agrees with the NPP candidate’s assertions but blamed the Gambian President for the lack of development in his region (LRR).
“I will not disagree with him that development is lacking. Because we are under a government that does not really have a vision. So, if there is a central government, led by somebody who does not have a clear idea to develop and change the dynamics of this country, as per the envisaged new Gambia that we fought and won in 2016. Obviously, there will be lack of development or there will be limited development. He (Kebba Dem) is right about that development is lacking. But actually, he should have addressed that to a party that he belongs to or the leader of the party that he belongs to,” the Chairman responded.
Chairman Sanneh told journalists that his council played its part, but he emphasized that they are not the central government. They are local government, which is a representation of the central government at the regional level.
The chairman further stated that it is the role of the executive, or the central government, to create the environment and necessary platform for smooth and clear collaboration with local government authorities.
“The achievements we have, myself and my team, for the people of LRR are enormous and this is everywhere for everybody to see. Just look around and choose any point in time or at night, walk around town from Soma to the remotest villages, and you will actually see the developments we brought. We brought electricity to the people. That is very key. We have brought water to the people, and sanitation is very key to survival. We have brought basic services to the people of this region, even though we operate with very small and minimal revenue,” he said.
Chairman Sanneh said his council had to operate outside their premise to make sure that they attract relevant partners and donors to address some of the issues their people are facing in terms of development.
Chairman Sanneh went further to explain some of his development for the people of LRR.
“My second-term priorities are already there for everybody to see as well. As I am ending my first term in office, we have a series of projects that are currently running. Number one of them is the state-of-the-art Hospitality Training Center in Mansakonko. That is going to house at any given point in time 90 young people to be trained, and their fees everything will be paid by a project that I masterminded. I led to get the required resources for that project, for the first time, individuals in the Gambia have that the in the rural areas.
“Apart from that, I have a series of other projects that are running. Our cooperation with Morocco, which is supposed to provide a good livelihood for women and operate cooperatives across the region for women and youth of this region, is also rolling out. So these are all projects that are basically my priority. My plan is very simple. The people of LRR, young people, women, and children in school, want to be supported. And this is what we are going to still continue to do,” he said.
Chairman Sanneh said his council is currently operating a strategic plan which is at a finishing stage, and they are going to review and make sure they come up with a new one that will correspond with the old one.
He said a new strategic plan that also will cater for new emerging issues that will concern the people of the Lower River Region (LRR).
Talking about his chances of winning reelection, Chairman Sanneh said he is very optimistic about winning the election.
“I believe I have every chance of winning this election. Because of what I have done with my team. We have done good work for the young people and the people of LRR. I am sure the people of LRR know what they want, and they will not go in for anything that will do less.
“The people of LRR know that the party that we are competing with, that is NPP, is a no-go area for Gambians. We are not seeing any good examples that should encourage us to vote for anybody from NPP. Because NPP has not done anything that should encourage the Gambia people to vote for them. So, ultimately, and obviously, I am the winner,” he said.