By Ousman A Marong
Rohey Malick Lowe-Saidykhan, the Mayor of Banjul City Council (BCC) has vowed that politics would not separate her from her own people come what may.
“Politics will never separate me from anybody so long as you are a citizen of this land. Propaganda and politics of deception should be a thing of the past now. I am the Mayor of Banjul and you’re all aware that I belong to a political party which is the United Democratic Party (UDP), I am still a UDP student who is yet to graduate. I cannot graduate myself from the party as I have my party leader; so I will wait until they crown me to set up my own political party,” said Rohey Malick Lowe, the Mayor of Banjul.
Mayor Lowe has made these revelations in the weekend at Kotu quary, during ‘Refela’ Gambia National Chapter annual General Meeting. She said under ‘refela’ Gambia National Chapter, no woman would be ever victimise again.
‘Refela’ Gambia National Chapter, is a UNDP project meant to support the empowerment of women in West Africa.
The libertarian Mayor outlined the aims and objectives of ‘refela’ to politically empower women by leveling the playing field for women in business, zero tolerance to children in the streets and violence against women.
“You (women) should not feel shy or be shared in venturing into politic simply because they call you names or referred to you as something else. They have been calling me names such as the ‘drug dealer, the prostitute, the witch and the bastared etc. I always gave them the deaf ear and today I thank God because at the time of branding me as ‘prostitute’ was the time that God has blessed me with with a lovely husband,” she asserted.
She stated that in the Gambia whenever a female entered into politics people would always belittle you and start calling you names.
“These names they are branding me with did not stopped me from being the Mayor of Banjul. We want to be part of the decision makers and not eating, drinking and clapping for our male counterparts. If we (women) do not chance our attitudes we will never excel. Therefore, let us change our attitude so that we can give the maximum support to our families as they needed it. When I was contesting for the mayoress seat, I always encourage women to start selling fish and oil. They normally laugh at me but what I was encouraging them to do is what they are benefiting from now. Let no one asked you not to sell bonga fish, dry fish, oil etc. Those men who are sitting in their offices discouraging you, are the same people calling you in their offices to exploitat you,” she stressed.
She further revealed that the Women Enterprise Fund has already arrived, saying this fund is not the money of President Adama Barrow nor Mamma Kandeh or Lawyer Ousainou Darboe but it is for the women,” said the Mayor Lowe.
She retorted that those men who are exploiting women in their own interests by using public funds would be soon expose.
“Do not allow yourselves to be exploited by selfish greedy politicians using public funds to nipped you down.”
Ms Ramzia Diab Ghanim, Gambian Ambassador to Indonesia who was speaking on the topic ‘the role of African Women’ said the African woman is a powerful force that one should not forget about.
“We have always played a major role in society but sadly, we have always taken a back seat and played down our importance. We are the mothers that raised sons and made them into powerful men but why have we not also done that for our daughters,” she quizzed.
Ambassador Diab said women are caretakers and healers of what they brought into the world. She encourage the Gambia women to rally behind the mayor and work together for the benefit of women in general.
She said without the participation of women political leaders would never be in the positions they are in today.
“Through ‘Refela’ let us work together and strengthen our bonds as African women and put our mark in our country and beyond,” she concludes.
Brigadier General Ramatoulie B.K Sanneh of the Gambia Armed Forces (GAF) who delivered a statement on behalf of CDS Yankuba Drammeh, said Gender mainstreaming is now considered a global strategy geared towards addressing issues of inequality that exist between women and men with the ultimate goal of achieving equality in all spheres of life including political, social and economic.
“In the Gambia women play a great role in making great leaders and with 51 percent of the country’s population, we remain a powerful force in our political landscape. It is now fair for us to be made leaders too,” she noted.