You wouldn’t be mistaken if you liken Gambia Democratic Congress leader, Mama Kandeh, to the ruler of the ancient Jollof Kingdom, Bouna Ndiaye.
Mansour Alboury Ndiaye, known to many as just Bouna Ndiaye was the crowned prince of Jollof and the son of the official last king Alboury Ndiaye (full name- Alboury Biram Penda Dieme Ndiote Ndiaye).
Bouna enjoyed status, which mirrored that of his father among the jollof-jollofs. He built a 128-kilometer railway for his people to fasten transportation of goods. He built the first known retention basin in Senegal. Known for his opposition to colonialism, he passed on the chance to lead Senegal under the colonial government in the 1940s.
Although he was a ‘Moukhadam’ of El-Hadji Malick Sy, but he had a good rapport with other sects and faiths. That is why as the ruler of Jollof, he gave 200 hectares of land to Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba in Mbacke Bari and the same size to Serigne Fallou Mbacke in Touba Bogo.
He was known for so many things and won so many accolades, but one thing that stands out is his water project. When drought hit Jollof in the 1930s, he came with a project and dug over 80 wells across the kingdom to quench the thirst of his people. And boy, they were grateful. To this day whenever his name is mentioned the jollof-jollofs will chorus “Bou Jollof Marey naan Bouna ya bonou ten”
GDC leader can be described as the Bouna Ndiaye of our times or that of The Gambia. Wary of lack of clean drinking water in rural Gambia, Kandeh matched Bouna’s water project by digging nearly 100 boreholes for rural dwellers. Unlike Bouna his was not limited to his Jimara constituency but throughout the country. Word has it that he has been helping rural communities well before entering politics.
“I Alieu Momar Njie hereby declare Mama Kandeh of the GDC as the winner of the presidential election and will be the president for a period of five years”. This, folks, is not beyond the realms of possibility. He is not a theorist, but a pragmatic leader who understands what the country needs to accelerate development and lift thousands out of poverty.