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Badjie says Mbalit project is Talib’s only achievement

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By Alagie Manneh

NPP mayoral candidate for Kanifing municipality, Bakary Badjie, has listed the Mbalit project as the only success recorded during the tenure of Mayor Talib Bensouda.

In May 2018, the mayor launched the waste collection initiative within the municipality.

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But Mr Badjie said beside the project, the UDP mayor has little to show as accomplishment for the past five years.

In an interview with Sene FM that touched on among others his track record, his desire to lead KMC, and his vision for change, Mr Badjie elucidated: “Many things are not going as they should at the council. The only thing that we saw is the Mbalit project, that’s where they have put all of their efforts. It’s a successful project, we must all accept and recognise. But when it comes to the feeder roads, not even one has been constructed, even to upgrade it, to backfill it, the KMC couldn’t do it. Again, many [communities in KM] are in need of markets. There are no more any scholarships for students at the council. They used to give scholarships to many students. Tallinding, Bunding, Abuko and other places are without water. The council, as a service provider, has a responsibility to bring water to places that are athirst. So, for me, other than the Mbalit project, nothing else has been done or accomplished. They themselves know that.”

He said that his desire to contest the election and lead KMC is not sudden, contrary to some views.

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“I was in the US when I first decided to come back and contest the mayoral position in 2018. So, my dreams of 2018 remain. Some are motivated by position, others by opportunities. But for me, I was approached by many that it is a place where I could do a lot. My party also approached me as I have the experience as a councillor for five years. So I know the council. They [NPP] don’t want a person who will be there learning on the job. That experience and the fact that I once stood for mayorship, that’s why I had to look at the party’s and the people’s interest and vie for the position.

Mr Badjie also took time to respond to critics who chide him for failing to regulate and standardise football in the country.

“It was the responsibility of the former government to make sure The Gambia has proper footballing fields,” he said. “That’s why The Gambia and some other 32 countries got banned by Caf. But a stadium is very expensive to have. That’s why I never blamed the [present] government for a perceived lack of efforts. Stadium building is expensive – 120 million US dollars. So, we inherited this issue… If the former ministers had done some effort to fulfil Caf’s requirements, we would not have been in this situation. The problem is not ours. But yes, we must take responsibility as the ruling government.”

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