By Omar Bah
The Chairman of the Basse Area Council has confirmed to The Standard that the Council has “unanimously” agreed to institute legal actions against President Adama Barrow’s decision to delegate the responsibility of allocating stalls at the just inaugurated Basse Community Market to the Governor of Upper River Region, Samba Bah.
Chairman Foday Danjo said the council will seek for the court to declare the president’s decision “unconstitutional” and “restrain” the governor from taking the responsibility.
During the inauguration of the market last week, President Barrow controversially announced that the Governor of URR will be responsible for the allocation of stalls at the new market.
The president’s pronouncement prompted the Basse Area Council to call an emergency meeting last Monday to discuss the matter which they say is in violation of the Local Government Act, 2002. During the meeting the General Council agreed to take the matter to court.
“We have already contacted our legal team and once they give us the go ahead, we will file a case. We want the court to declare the president’s decision unconstitutional and restrain the Governor of CRR from taking the responsibility assigned to him by the president,” Chairman Danjo told The Standard yesterday.
Chairman Danjo said the president’s pronouncement violated Section 48 subsection 2 of the Local Government Act which states that all community markets belong to the councils.
He said the president’s decision has caught him by surprise.
“This is very serious because if the president can get up and make such decisions with total disregard of our laws, that should be a concern to the Gambian people,” he said.
He said his council is disappointed because from the onset they were the ones who handed over the ground to Gamworks.
“If Gamworks is done with the construction and returns it to the ministry of lands, the ministry should return it to the council. That is the right thing to do because the land belongs to us and the government used taxpayers’ money to build it,” he said.
Relationship with Barrow
Chairman Danjo said he suspects that the lands minister is behind the president’s attitude towards him.
“I don’t know what he is telling the president but I believe whatever it is politics should be put aside when it comes to issues of national development. I am saying this because if the minister of lands was not really behind what is happening as our line ministry, he would have intervened and solved the problem,” he said.
Mr Danjo said he has not remembered offending the president whatsoever.
“But whatever it is, I would have expected the president to approach me directly as a brother and tell me what I have done to him rather than humiliating me in the presence of my people. This is really unfair to me,” he said.