Letters: Conflict of interest at KMC?

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Dear editor

The Talib Bensouda-led KMC needs to be extra cautious on how it deals with businesses owned by Talib’s mother or his family. I’m certain Mayor Bensouda knows what conflict of interest is and what constitutes corporate fraud. The majority of Gambians never pay attention to it but we now have whistleblowers and a lot of citizen journalists. Thus, every manager of public funds needs to strive to be transparent in order to minimise people casting doubts on their actions.

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Last week, KMC announced that in their month of May General Council Meeting, Reliance presented a “deal for market expansion project across the municipality”. Few days after, it was again announced that KMC is partnering with Reliance for a 100 million dalasis “Dolel Jigen” Reliance controlled loan project with what Talib termed “below average interest rate”. I don’t want to sound accusatory but awarding financially benefitting deals to Reliance Financial Services – a company where his family holds large shares without any open bidding or availing equal opportunity to others in the municipality is not a good way to manage a public office.

While both projects, from the little information out in public seem great, the question is how did the council come to the conclusion of choosing Reliance as the sole partner in this venture? Why was Supersonicz Financial Services whose CEO reluctantly commented on the matter clarified that they had been supporting Cllr Binnet Marong (the originator of the idea) before now, not approached for an expansion of what was already ongoing or for them to submit a proposal to enable KMC choose the most favourable?
On the market expansion, people will need to know what becomes of the struggling vendors at the markets if and after Reliance spends fortunes to expand them? Will it mean increase in taxes and daily paid dues? How long will Reliance manage the markets’ revenue before KMC take full ownership? But above all, I believe, KMC needs to have open bids if they want to enter into a public-private partnership. This will ensure they choose the one with favourable terms and conditions – be it Reliance or any other company.

 

Bakary Badjie
Virginia, USA

 

 

Who qualifies as a Gambian citizen?

Dear editor,

Personally, I don’t mind much how someone becomes a Gambian citizen. I think anyone born in The Gambia should be a Gambian citizen if the parents wanted their child to be a Gambian.

What is the point denying someone citizenship who is born in The Gambia and wanted to become a Gambian citizen? The question is who gets to exercise political authority over the people?
Certain specific legal requirements are amended for someone to serve in certain position of public life notably the presidency. Both or one of your parents must be a Gambian for someone to become the president of The Gambia.

Otherwise it’ll look ridiculous to deny someone citizenship who is born in The Gambia and wanted to become a citizen. The more the merrier.
The Gambia is big enough to welcome anyone who wanted to become a citizen.
Gambians are welcoming people and I suspect that they would want to welcome anyone in their midst who wanted to become one of them.

Most of the people dragging their feet about who can become a Gambian citizen are looking at the question from a political angle. But there are legal safeguards to prevent “foreigners” from becoming the president and the Commander In Chief of the country of their citizenship due to certain sensitivities associated with that highest office and how their citizenship was acquired.
Only rabble rouser citizens of sorts would want to become the president of a country that is not the country of birth of any of their parents. The question about citizenship is about human rights.

Any human being who is law abiding and living in a country working and paying taxes after a certain period of time should be allowed to become the citizen of that country if s/he wanted to become a citizen much more children who were born in The Gambia to parents living in The Gambia. It doesn’t matter whether country X is doing it like that or not. It’s common sense.

Just for a minute, put yourself in that situation and think about it again.
What makes you think that another person should have to go through that unnecessary hassle just to become citizen of a country that s/he is living in?
I don’t see a sudden deluge of foreigners scrambling to become Gambian citizens just because the law says anyone born in The Gambia is a Gambian citizen.
Most people like to maintain the citizenship of the country of their birth and of their parents.

The debate about who becomes a citizen of The Gambia is a storm in a tea cup.
Some of the alarms being raised by some of the people about who could become a Gambian citizen are simply blown out of proportion.

Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang
Brikama

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