With Alagie Manneh
Francis Gomez served as Deputy Mayor of KMC from 1996 to 2006, and Acting Mayor; September 2006—April 2007. A resident of London Corner, he attended Kuntaur Primary and Junior Secondary School before proceeding to St Augustine’s High School and then Management Development Institute to bag a Diploma in HR management.
Gomez taught at St George’s Junior Secondary School in Mansajang, Basse. He worked and served in various capacities at the Gambia Ports Authority, Gambia Ferry Services and the Gambia Public Transport Corporation.
Mr Gomez also served as human resource manager for Senegambia Beach Hotel, director and operations manager Deffal Environmental Services and managing director, proprietor, Nenh Settal Sanitation.
In this week’s edition, he talks about issues and his vision for the KMC.
You called yourself ‘The independent for all’ candidates. Tell us about that
The ‘Independent For All’ is the movement within the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) area in quest of collaboration with the Citizenry of the Local Government Area to address the needs and aspirations of the municipality in a coherent and creditable manner, conscientiously undertaken for the benefit of all.
It is an all-inclusive platform that welcomes all Gambians regardless of party, tribe or creed or political affiliation; and all friends of the Gambia everywhere; that seeks the support of all Gambians, especially residents of Kanifing Municipality, to join as a collective team for participatory governance and a renewed spirit of national service of our beloved country The Gambia, in general, and the Kanifing municipality in particular
Kanifing Municipality: the most dynamic municipality in the Gambia; though a mere 20% of the nation’s population, KMC controls 90% of its banking and financial services, 75% of tourism and significant percentage of the Gambia’s GDP.
Why do you aspire to be mayor for KMC?
My candidacy for the office of Mayor, KMC is an opportunity to complete the groundbreaking work began more than 10 years ago. The Kanifing Municipal Council era that I worked as Nominated council member, Deputy Mayor and Acting Mayor, has been synonymous with the best ever success stories of the Kanifing Municipal Council.
In office, I will provide needed transparency and accountability at KMC. All can expect KMC to provide the necessary quality and efficient social services to its residents.
In the wake of the new Gambia and on the eve of the upcoming local government elections in April, May 2018, it is well to remind us of the lessons that Gambians have forever moved beyond the politics of fear, expulsion and intolerance. The up-and-coming new Gambia, and by extension, and by extension a new Kanifing Municipality, must be a vibrant, green, kind and healthy community for us to freely live, work and safely raise our children.
Kanifing Municipality is strategically placed as the socio-economic and developmental epicenter of The Gambia. If the Gambia is to get out of its current economic and developmental doldrums, KMC must lead the way. If KMC does not fail neither can The Gambia. This is why the upcoming Municipal elections cannot be taken for granted.
Briefly tell us about your time as Acting Mayor
Unlike many other candidates I know currently aspiring to the office of mayor, I have actually held the Office of Mayor of KMC. My time as acting mayor of KMC was short-lived because of ideological differences with the erstwhile central government. I aspire to return to complete the progressive reforms I had begun.
It is about us citizens and our love for humanity to make a difference in these times of change.
It is time to move beyond recriminations and blame; to rebuild trust in public service; and to let the healing of the nation begin.
What will your campaign focus on?
My campaign will focus on governance, economic and social development. We will also put emphasis on infrastructure, public service accountability and integrity, environment and health and security and public safety, respectively.
What are some of your success stories during your time as Acting Mayor?
I have a well-documented longstanding achievement during my time at the KMC. During my time we more than doubled the Council’s annual revenue collection (twenty- four million to thirty two million as Deputy Mayor, and to fifty four million in the fiscal year as Acting Mayor; the electrification and lighting of Kairaba Avenue, Pipeline and other places.
Also the increased roads and infrastructure within the municipality, accessible and clean markets, roadways, the unprecedented facelift of the Bakoteh dumpsite – less or virtually no smoke and the absence of foul odour. A dirty Municipality was almost becoming a thing of the past.
If elected into office, what other developments do you think you can bring to the people?
One, we will improve E-Governance and introduce Electronic Data management system. Two, conduct effective and accurate statistical survey of all homes and taxable business (Computerized, chronologically and alphabetically arranged) to enable Council ascertain the projected total revenue per annum, to allocate an appropriate budget and implement a proper plan of action with accountability. We will do street naming and addressing. Three, develop state-of-the-art business and office complex. Four, address refuse collection/disposal and immediately tackle the menace of the Bakoteh dumpsite.
Five, greening initiatives; tree planting/environmental greening, climate-change initiatives and the promotion of urban/household farming. We will also increase revenue collection and fiscal control. Seven, improved public-private partnership, extensive collaboration with central government and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) with businesses, training centres, NGOs/CBOs, for Community development.
We will Work hand in glove with all Local Government Councilors and National Assembly members to help identity priority needs and projects and seek long-term collaboration with sister Councils, Local Government Administrations in the country for a veritable community of action for the benefit of the entire Gambian populace and pursue and forge relations with business corporations in an effort to amplify their social corporate responsibilities.
We will work in the short and long term to create businesses, work with the business community for the employment of youths, women, and low-income earners. Furthermore, we will vigorously pursue the procurement of lands within the council for the erection of council flats for low-income earners.
We will promote quality education, improve school infrastructure and improve child and maternal health and improve emergency response services.
We will assure public safety to minimise dangers and create a free movement of people and property use on motor ways and footpaths especially along highways KMC receives a higher per capita percentage of our rural urban-drift, illegal migration, job seekers etc.
Every year, thousands of youths are released to the ranks of unemployed making more critical the already high state of unemployment. Add to that the recent and ongoing immigrant deportees. We need to address these issues soon to diffuse the mounting pressure on the public psyche from all these issues.
What is your political slogan?
How would you define yourself?
Honest person of exemplary character, integrity.
Any closing statements?
I prefer a holistic approach with all groups and individuals; patriotic alliance with our peoples; democratic participation; promote economic progress; and responsible service to all.
Instill a real sense at ownership and total participation of all, with all and for all. Leadership for the cause of a unified, renewed and progressive KMC and by extension, The Gambia.