By: Modou Touray
Dr Omar Bah, a former reporter for the defunct Daily Observer newspaper in the Gambia has expressed interest to contest for the United States lawmaking house, US Congress. If elected, Dr Bah says he intends to be a steady advocate for the working class thereby ensuring that their rights are protected and free from marginalization.
“I arrived in the US as a refugee in 2007 after being declared a wanted man in The Gambia for being a journalist who criticized the [Jammeh] government and advocated for human rights. Since then, I’ve helped refugees by founding the Refugee Dream Center. The Center has assisted thousands of people in finding jobs and advocated for refugees and survivors of torture. We need people in Congress who defend democracy, advocate for people, and help the community.”
Dr Bah seeks to represent Rhode Island’s second district. Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union and is one of the most densely populated and heavily industrialized. It is about 37 miles wide and 48 miles long and its shoreline on Narragansett Bay in the Atlantic Ocean runs 400 miles.
“I wish to contest for Congress to serve Rhode Island’s 2nd District. Our democracy is in peril and now more than ever we need leaders in Washington who have demonstrated courage to stand up for what they believe in and who understand the daily struggles of regular people. In this regard, I am uniquely qualified.”
Each congressman or congresswoman is elected for a two-year term to represent the people of a specific congressional district. The number of voting representatives in the House is fixed by law at no more than 435, proportionally representing the population of the 50 states.
The United States law provides that a person may qualify as a Representative if he/she is at least 25 years old, has been a United States citizen for at least 7 years, and is an inhabitant at the time of the election of the state in which he/she seeks election.
In addition to his advocacy for refugees, Dr Bah sees climate change as a key priority on his agenda.
“Tackling the climate crisis is imperative to save our planet. Congress must act swiftly to pass a reconciliation bill to invest in renewable energy and jobs tackling climate crisis.”
Dr Bah believes in the principles of democracy good governance and the rule of law.
“Elect a leader who knows how to defend democracy. I stand up for what I believe in. We need in Congress more leaders who are willing to take a radical approach to defend American democracy and freedom as we have come to know it,” he emphasizes.
The former Gambian journalist and founder of Rhodes Island Refugee Dream is the first Gambian to express bid for the US lawmaking body.
Dr Omar Bah is a native of Mbolet village in the Lower Nuimi District, North Bank Region. In addition to his primary and secondary education, Dr Bah attended the media training center, GRTS complex and the African Virtual University among others.