By Buba Gagigo
Team Bakary Badjie has refuted claims made by the United Democratic Party’s (UDP) Deputy Organizing Secretary, Ebrima Dibba, that Bakary Badjie is using state resources for his campaign.
“Our attention has been drawn to unfounded allegations made by Ebrima Dibba, the Deputy Organizing Secretary of the United Democratic Party (UDP), against Hon. Bakary Y. Badjie, the Minister of Youth and Sports and the National People’s Party (NPP) and Coalition Partners’ candidate for the upcoming Mayoral Election in the Kanifing Municipality. In a report published yesterday by Kerr Fatou, Mr. Dibba claims that Mr. Badjie is using public resources to campaign for his mayoral bid. We categorically refute these allegations and consider them baseless and without merit,” team Bakary Badjie said through a press statement sent to Kerr Fatou.
They argue that Mr. Dibba’s accusations are not only unfounded, but a malicious figment of his imagination.
“…and we demand that he provides evidence to support his claims. Mr. Badjie has always been a man of dignity, probity, and integrity who has served his country with distinction as the Minister of Youth and Sports. He has followed all laws and regulations regarding the use of state resources and has not violated any rules in his campaign,” they said.
Team Bakary Badjie said the use of official vehicles and resignation are two separate issues, and the constitution doesn’t require a minister to resign in to run in an election.
“There is nowhere in our constitution that states that a minister should resign before contesting an election. It is up to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to determine who is eligible to contest, and Mr. Badjie is a Gambian citizen who is eligible to do so. Therefore, Mr. Dibba’s assertion that Mr. Badjie should resign before contesting is incorrect,” they continued.
They also argue that their candidate (Mr. Bakary Badjie) has not used any state resources to campaign for his mayoral bid, including his official ministerial vehicle.
“On the contrary, it is the current Mayor of KM Talib Ahmed Bensouda who has been using council resources to campaign and even using official municipal functions as a political platform for his party when the campaign has not even started. It is surprising that Mr. Dibba missed this fact and chose to embark on a realm to mislead the general public. The Talib Bensouda campaign team has openly been using official KMC vehicles and Municipal Police to conduct house to house campaign which Mr. Dibba chose not to talk about or has the KMC now been turned into a private institution?” they asked.
Team Bakary Badjie also said the United Democratic Party Deputy Organizing Secretary’s comments are politically motivated and aimed at discrediting their candidate.
“We strongly believe that Mr. Dibba’s allegations are politically motivated and aimed at discrediting Mr. Badjie’s candidacy, having been endorsed by the majority of voters in the Kanifing Municipality. We urge all political actors to engage in a healthy and robust political discourse that is based on facts and not unsubstantiated allegations. In conclusion, we call on Mr. Dibba and other political actors to refrain from making unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations against candidates, as this is detrimental to the democratic process and the promotion of a healthy political culture,” they concluded.
Team Bakary Badjie’s response came after the United Democratic Party’s Deputy Organizing Secretary called on the National People’s Party candidate Bakary Y. Badjie, who is also the minister of Youth and sports, to stop using public resources for his campaign.