By Musa Bah
Arguably, Serekunda Market is the biggest market in The Gambia, serving more people than any other. Yet, the condition of that market is so horrible that it is inexplicable. A few days ago, I passed through that market and what I saw disgusted me. When one thinks about the fact that our women buy food from this market and cook our meals, one will be frightened.
As I was passing, I could see sellers of fish, potatoes, garden eggs, pepper and other food items sitting in muddy pools of dirty water. I was so disgusted that I had to stop and really take a good look at these. All this while, my mind was on the plates of food on my table and indeed the tables of thousands of Gambians. How can we be sure that the food we are eating is actually free of any germs or pathogens that can harm us?
This has serious health implications and as such, economic implications. When our children – and even adults – eat contaminated food, we fall sick and have to seek treatment. Thus the medical bill of government will increase tremendously at a time we are compelled to put austerity measures in place. National development is complex and it’s all-encompassing. One cannot ignore any one area because everything is so intertwined that one cannot go in the absence of the other.
One wonders what the Municipal Council is doing. How much tax do they collect and where is the money going? Some of these things do not even require a lot of money to do; all they require is planning and good leadership initiatives. We must put all hands on deck to ensure the hygiene of our environment, especially food markets.
As if that was not enough, I went to Brikama on the day of the Eidul Adha (Tobaski) and I was shocked at the condition of Brikama. Forget about the ineptitude of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), Brikama Area Council is by far the worst area council in the country. Brikama is so big and the prospects of revenue are so huge that one cannot just fathom why the condition and roads of Brikama Market and garage are as deplorable as they are. It is high time we stood up to these talk-a-lot-do-little officials.
The Central Government should not completely leave these municipalities to their own schemes and doings. We must start looking at their services. There should be an oversight mechanism to ensure that whichever of them is not doing their work is removed from office. The Constitution has provisions that can be used to make these people do what they are supposed to do or removed. The sad thing here is that when they do not fulfil their responsibilities, it is the poor that suffer most because the others have ways and means of solving their problems. Who then listens to the woes of the ordinary people? Mr President, the government should serve as a shelter for the poor and the needy against the wolves of corrupt officials!
I hope they change or we force them to change!
Have a good day Mr President.