By Omar Bah
The Gambia Association of Local Government Authorities (Galga), comprising chairmen and mayors of all the eight area, municipal and city councils, have condemned 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.
During the inauguration of the market it was announced that the governor will be responsible for the allocation of the stalls at the new market. The statement by the president was criticised by his political opponents who accused him of “blatantly disregarding” local government laws.
The Basse Area Council chairman later told The Standard the council “unanimously” agreed to institute legal actions against the president’s decision.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Galga president who doubles as the chairman of Mansakonko Area Council, Landing Sanneh said: “We request the president to kindly rescind his decision and restrain the governor of URR from taking the responsibility of allocating canteens at the Basse market. That is what is desirable for good governance and the promotion of sustained peaceful working relations among the authorities of the Basse Area.”
Sanneh said Galga considers the president’s announcement in conflict with the Local Government Act, 2002, and the powers vested in Basse Area Council by the act.
“The announcement has the potential of destabilising and compromising smooth relations between the governor’s office and the council, and by extension, other regions and local government areas,” he said.
Chairman Sanneh said central government’s interference in local government matters is becoming prevalent citing the Banjul streets project, the KMC Mbalit Project and CEO saga.
“The attacks on the chairman and his office at the Basse Area Council, particularly relating to the market project is opposed to modern administrative protocols and must be avoided completely not only for the maintenance of a respectable working environment, but for nurturing peace and tranquility as well as fostering effective service delivery for taxpayers,” Sanneh said.
He said it is unfortunate that leaders who are supposed to be the chief protectors of the law are breaking it, adding that the ministry of regional governments should have advised the president properly.