The daughter of a former mayor of Banjul, the Gambian capital has made history by being elected as the city’s first female mayor in local elections held earlier on Saturday.Rohey Malick Lowe emerged from a hard-fought campaign in recent months to emerge as the winner, beating the male incumbent Abdoulie Bah, female opponent Elizabeth Eunson and other contenders to lead the city council.
Ms. Lowe whose father, Malick Lowe served one term as the city’s mayor in the 1980s, stood under the United Democratic Party.
However, Lowe’s opponent Ms Eunson has cried foul, alleging vote-rigging in one of the polling stations inside the Saint Joseph’s Senior Secondary School where she said during her inspection sne noticed that her ballot box was still empty hours after polling got underway.
The UDP which is cementing its place as Gambia’s biggest political grouping after the fall of former President Yahya Jammeh in December 2016, has not commented.
The UDP, 22 years in the opposition, is said to be on course to sweep other municipalities across the country, including the Kanifing area, Gambia’s biggest metropolis where its candidate Talib Bensouda is reportedly poised for a resounding victory.
Gambians went to the polls earlier on Saturday in the country’s seven municipalities namely Banjul, Kanifing, Brikama, Kerewan, Mansa Konko, Jangjangbureh and Basse.
38 candidates were in the race to head such municipalities, to close Gambia’s election cycle which began with presidential elections in December 2016, followed by National Assembly and Local councillorship elections in April 2017 and April 2018 respectively.
Voting for the mayoral elections with marbles started as early as 7 8 a.m. with President Barrow and First Lady casting their votes in Yarambamba, where the Gambian leader maintains his private residence, 15 km outside Banjul.
Aside from the presidential poll, voter turnout in subsequent elections has been poor, prompting concern from the IEC to educate Gambians about the need to exercise their right to choose their representatives at local level.
Speaking to reporters on the issue shortly after casting his vote, President Barrow wearing a flowing white robe, said exercising such a civic right by him was a way of leading Gambians by example.
“As we vote for councils, people who would represent us in those councils that collect our taxes, I think it is important to decide who should take responsibility for it” he said.
‘We contested elections based on the principle of democracy and so we want to ensure that democracy continues” he added.
From: Journal du Cameroun