With Alagie Manneh
As the local government elections loom, more mayoral aspirants are emerging especially for the sought-after KMC office.
In this edition of our weekly Mayors’ Podium, we talk to another aspirant who hasn’t enjoyed the media attention as opposed to his fellow aspirants ahead of the forthcoming May polls
Who is Buramanding Jaiteh?
I was born and brought up in the village of Njaba Kunda, Central Baddibou, North Bank Region. I started my primary education at Njaba Kunda primary school but completed it at Muhammedan primary school in Banjul. I attended Gambia High School, before proceeding to study abroad. I attended universities and similar schools in Africa, Middle East and United Kingdom, with a postgraduate study in diplomacy at the University of Oxford in UK. I have also received numerous UN trainings, including leadership training, as an employee of the organisation. I am bilingual, fluent in both English and French.
I have over three decades of work experience in the Gambia’s civil service (mainly at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its embassies), three private sector institutions of the Gambia and the United Nations System. I am skilled and experienced in diplomacy, administration and management, functions I have exercised both in and outside the country.
My candidacy to become UDP’s mayoral candidate for KMC is supported by Mr. Momodou Lamin Fadia. Mr. Fadia also has applied for UDP’s candidacy but later decided to withdraw in favour of me. Mr. Fadia is an experienced engineer, currently working with GBOS. He too has over two decades of work experience both in and outside the country. Between the two of us, we have a total of over half a century work experience and skills to bring to KMC. We are both residents of KMC for more than thirty years and therefore very much familiar with the problems of the municipality.
What is your background in politics or diplomacy?
I and Fadia were born to political families, actively involved in the Gambia’s politics from the PPP era to date. Furthermore, I have served the Gambia’s diplomatic service for close to two decades, with postings at the Gambia’s embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and at the Gambia High Commission in Nigeria. He has also served the United Nations System both in and outside the Gambia for almost ten years. Indeed, he has a good collection of experience in both national and international diplomacy.
Are you talking to any political party to sponsor you, if so, which one?
I have applied for the UDP’s candidacy and I am among the six shortlisted candidates of the party. The party is to select its Mayoral candidate for the Kanifing Municipal Council from the shortlisted six candidates.
Why do you want to become Mayor of MKC?
I want to be Mayor of KMC to give the municipality a mature and quality leadership. The municipality needs this type of leadership to get itself out of its present predicament of deteriorating environment and poor road network and poor drainage system that leads to floods each time it rains heavily. I and Mr. Fadia have knowledge and experience that can help to convert the present challenges and problems of the municipality into opportunities. The waste products of the municipality can be recycled into energy sources and in the process create jobs for the youth, among others. When recycling is done in partnership with the private sector, it can be decentralized and spread over the municipality, thereby freeing the Bakoteh dump site.
The Bakoteh dump site can then be used for more useful purposes. It can even be used to house the numerous mechanical workshops and spare parts shops, presently congesting our neighbourhoods, narrow streets and other passages. This will not only free lot of land spaces for businesses, residences etc, but also creates a kind of one-stop shop for vehicle owners when it comes to maintenance etc. Similarly, the limited market spaces can be improved through partnership with the local businesses. The current market spaces can be more economically developed to create more rooms in the markets. Another advantage of working with the private sector is to broaden the revenue base of the municipality. In this way, the burden on the poor tax and rate payers will be reduced. Also, there will be money to support the vulnerable groups and invest in tourist attraction of the municipality, among others.
Do you think you can deliver in the job as Mayor because KMC is the biggest and and it is very important?
The size of KMC should be its strength. A lot can be achieved in KMC when its people are empowered to become more productive and wealth creating by converting the problems and challenges of the municipality into opportunities. By doing this, as summarized above, the revenue base will be broaden to support the improvement of the road infrastructure and the drainage systems of the municipality, among others.
What is your vision for the people of KMC?
My vision of KMC is the one capable of protecting and judiciously utilising the resources of its people for their common good. A municipality that truly serves the interest of its people in transparent and accountable manner. I view a KMC that will work with the people to serve them better.
Any message to the KMC community?
KMC is one family. Therefore, the people should work together for the good of this one family, today and tomorrow. The Mayor is not only a politician but also a leader, a manager and administrator. He needs all these qualities to take the municipality to a successful future.