Mayor Bensouda should redirect his focus

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Dear Editor,

Talib Bensouda, the mayor of Kanifing municipality should have been more measured in his recent political statements in the media. In the interest of cordial and fruitful central and local government relations he should stop throwing unnecessary tantrums and uncontrolled venom at the central government. And except the naïve gullible and deluded, who is he trying to impress with his misleading and half-baked statistics of The Gambia’s comparative development in the world?

Unless he is reading from data cooked in his own kitchen, in the latest World Bank ranking (2022) The Gambia is not among the 10 poorest countries in the world by GNI, as he tried to portray and not even among the 10 poorest in Africa. It baffles me actually how any one can be so disenchanted that you could debase the public image of your own country so low, even if in your mind, doing so is the only way out to your political future.

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The mayor needs to come to terms with reality and embrace the democratic path and positive development trail that President Barrow is blazing in The Gambia. As a local government leader he must eschew political grievances and cultivate the spirit and culture of dialogue and consultation with the central government. The role and mission of local government in our laws in summary is to promote local democracy, and local development as in local infrastructure, local industry and local services, under the purview of the national policy framework, as directed, supervised and coordinated by the Ministry of Local Government. He needs to focus on facilitating these critical needs and objectives, seek to enliven a consultative process and environment with central government, constantly seeking policy support and guidance, and engage effectively with his constituents with meaningful and targeted projects linked to the national vision for local democracy and development as enshrined in the ongoing National Development Plan. He should desist from entangling himself with matters of local government policy, and leave that to the Ministry of Local Government. That is where the mandate is.  The people of Kanifing municipality need his full attention and concentration, there is more than enough on his plate there. This is a more progressive use of his time than continuously trying to lock horns in confrontation with central government. Delineating the structure or process of local government is not under his purview. If The Gambia is, or should create satellite councils or make any restructuring of local government entities that is not his area of competence. If he has any ideas or suggestions to make in a direction like that he should seek the appropriate environment and make them to the Ministry of Local Government, not to conduct his feelings in a parallel voice in the public media.

The laws he keeps harping on in defence of his defiance against central government are the same laws of the republic that place Kanifing municipality as constituent region of the republic under the overall political and policy authority of the head of state. He cannot interpret the law as if councils are separate entities from the sovereign republic as powers on their own. There is only one local government policy framework in The Gambia, and the only authority for monitoring, supervising and coordinating this is the Ministry of Local Government under the direction and guidance of the president, not in any local government authority.

Kemo Conteh

NPP Executive Member

Secretary, Research, Strategy and Development

Re: Mayor Lowe says Barrow was misled on funding of BCC office

Dear Editor,

Adama Barrow is desperate. Now he is trying his chance to make people feel he is working so that people will love him.

My question is: Why didn’t President Adama Barrow complain about this when it happened and only now as the local government elections are drawing nearer?

Adama Barrow has forgotten that he bypassed Mayor Rohey Lowe on the Banjul Roads Rehabilitation Project. He neither informed her nor showed her the project documents. That was not fair at all.

Mayor Lowe, please keep strong and be ready to defend your project to the max. Don’t allow anyone coming from anywhere to distract you.

Jawando Jallow

Serekunda

Dear Editor,

Mayor Lowe did not say anything sensible. The question is how much did the council contribute? World Bank represents every government in the world and will never fund any project without the blessing of a government. President Barrow is very right when he said government funded the largest part. Why does Mayor Lowe always go on a rampage of denial of something that is true?

Yes as council you are elected to identify your needs. Everyone knows that the council is struggling to meet its basic mandate much more to embark on that big project. Let Mayor Lowe tell Gambians how much the council contributed towards the project and stop beating about the bush.

Mayor Lowe must learn to appreciate and work with government. BCC is not her private fiefdom. She has no respect and needs tutorials to teach her good and best practice for running a council. President Barrow wants to involve everyone to partake in the development of The Gambia. Lowe was elected not because of her competence. She is the most useless mayor in the history of BCC. But her days in BCC are numbered. 

She cannot teach President Barrow about life after the presidency. Let her teach herself about life after her mayorship. 

‘Gambia Forward Ever’

Banjul