Gambia’s main opposition leader Mama Kandeh has strongly rebuked allegations that he is being financed by the country’s ex-president, Yahya Jammeh.
Kandeh appeared on the small nation’s political platform last year as the leader of the GDC party, taking the country by storm ahead of the presidential elections, in which Jammeh was defeated.
Since coming out third in the December elections that kicked Jammeh out of the country, Kandeh has been providing humanitarian aid and development assistance to communities as a strategy to bolster support.
The approach has made his political adversaries to question his source of funding and making widespread the assumption that Mr. Jammeh is financing his political activities.
“What I am doing here even Jammeh was not doing it, and he was supposed to do what I am doing as head of the government. So how can I be funded by Jammeh,” Kandeh said.
Supporters of opposition groups that have united against Jammeh had since accused him of being funded by the former autocratic ruler to further disunite the deeply divided parties.
Kandeh refused to join the coalition to unseat Jammeh and has since his defeat in the elections launched projects to build more than two dozen boreholes, fencing a soccer park, constructing a walk bridge, and giving relief to disaster victims.
Government supporters say he has to declare his source of funding, although while being oppositions, they last year rejected attempts by Jammeh to divulge their source of funding through an audit.
“Gambians should learn a lesson by now and know that these false allegations will not take us anywhere. We have long graduated from that. Let the government and their supporters tell us what they have done for the people,” said Kandeh.
Kandeh last month accused the unity government’s ministers of corruption, prompting the police to invite him for questioning and rejecting his party a permit to hold a rally in the administrative city of Brikama, a city an hour southeast of the capital, Banjul.
His supporters say government supporters should instead call on the state ministers to publicly declare their assets because they are receiving public funds and not for Kandeh and the GDC to disclose their source of funds because they are not receiving any funding from taxes paid to the government.
Gambian ministers have cited privacy concerns declining to make available to the public their declaration of assets. To date, it is not known if all ministers have declared their assets.
Former President Yahya Jammeh’s have been frozen by the Gambia’s Justice Department. He has stayed out of public since arriving in Equatorial Guinea.
Kandeh was a Member of Parliament winning the Jimara Seat for Jammeh’s APRC party. He had a political fall out with the former autocratic ruler in 2012.
A Commission of Inquiry has been setup to probe Jammeh’s financial transactions, accusing the ex-strongman of stealing at least $50 million from the tiny west African state while fleeing and recklessly spending more than $147 million in the last three years of his rule.
Jammeh ran everything from bakeries to farms during his 22-year tenure, was regularly accused of taking over successful businesses for his own gain and squandered billions while in office.