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City of Banjul
Thursday, November 26, 2020

Manjai market vendors battle water shortage

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The vendors at Manjai Market on Monday grumbled about the water shortage they have had to endure for years. According to them, they started experiencing this difficulty shortly after the former regime left office.

Njaga Chaw said they have lodged several complaints to Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), but they only get empty promises in return. He recounted that there was a period they got frustrated and refused to pay their dues to KMC, after which the council promised to provide them with a “machine.” Describing the men’s toilet as “completely dark,” smelly and unhygienic, he said this compelled him to close the toilet permanently, for fear of someone contracting an illness.  Further explaining their ordeals, he highlighted that each vendor spends at least 40 GMD each day.  Doing the math, he explained that 10-20 GMD could be spent on 1 or 2 gallon (s) of water in the morning, D10 paid as dues to KMC and another 10 GMD on a gallon of water in the afternoon.

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Fear of coming in contact with infections due to the poor hygienic conditions of the toilet is a concern raised by Jakong Jobe. She added: “We would have to buy water. If we do not buy water, the cleaners do not clean the toilet for like 2 weeks at times.”

Muhammed Jallow expressed disappointment over the countless promises KMC has failed to keep. He said they were even promised a borehole, but they are yet to see that become a reality. He added that few days ago, KMC brought a “machine” to the market, but the tap did not still function, and they (KMC) did not return since then.

Also recounting the time they refused to pay dues to KMC as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction, Anta Chongan contemplated the idea of doing that again, questioning the use of constantly paying dues, when they cannot even get access to water.

The Standard has seen the female toilet (the only functional toilet), which looked deserted. There was very little ventilation, a very unpleasant strong urine odor and parts of the white squat toilet were dark and flies circling around.

The concerns of the vendors were related to Musa Jarju, who was identified by the vendors as a KMC plumber they were familiar with. Over the telephone, he said:  “First time, there was water from Nawec direct to the machine. At that time, it was working fine. But Nawec problem, all the time there is no water from Nawec. Their neighbours, there is no water around. So now, we discussed with somebody. Then maybe by next week, we are going to fix a borehole there. But right now, the man is at the Serrekunda Market. He will finish there maybe before Saturday. Maybe by next week, he will start at Manjai Market. It will be possible maybe next week, In Sha Allah. Then, they will have water.”

Asked if this was another promise that would not be kept as it is always the case, according to the vendors at Manjai Market, he responded: “No, it will be possible, In Sha Allah. I promise you that next week, we will start there.”

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