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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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NPP rebuts KM mayor

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By Omar Bah

Kanifing municipality mayor Talib Bensouda has said that although Gambians celebrated the anniversary of independence, the people are facing major concerns like “the skyrocketing of prices” and cost of living.

On Sunday the mayor wrote on one of his social media pages: “Gambians are becoming poorer and poorer everyday – the inability to feed their families, pay for their children’s school fees, and afford quality healthcare is becoming increasingly difficult.

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“We must challenge the government to do all they can to ensure Gambians can pay for their basic needs. Security also has become a major challenge in most of our neighbourhoods and communities. Gambians no longer feel safe because on a daily basis we hear about murders, gunshots and domestic violence. This is not of Gambian nature and again we challenge the government to make sure The Gambia gets back to where it was and the reason it was called ‘The Smiling Coast’. Our youths feel destitute because the country is not providing them with the needed opportunity.”

All sushi no substance

In reaction, the ruling National People’s Party chided Bensouda for making “misleading and politically motivated” comments, saying it was all sushi and no substance and “resonated more with rhetoric and demagoguery than the spirit of the independence day celebration”.

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In a statement shared with The Standard signed by Sulayman Camara, the party contended: “Instead of focusing on paying tribute to the freedom fighters who paved the way for the nation’s independence, Mayor Bensouda chose to politicise the occasion, diverting attention from the true essence of the day.

“In a display of misplaced priorities, Mayor Bensouda launched into a political rampage, emphasising issues like the skyrocketing prices within the country. However, he conveniently ignored the broader context of the global economic turmoil affecting nations worldwide. The mayor hypocritically highlighted the high cost of living expenses in The Gambia. This is not true when it comes to basic commodity prices in the sub-region; The Gambia ranks the cheapest.

“Furthermore, Mayor Bensouda dedicated a portion of his speech to the deportation of Gambian youths from Europe. Rather than presenting concrete plans his party has to tackle this issue, he merely engaged in rhetoric, leaving the audience questioning their commitment to addressing the problem,” it added.

The ruling party charged that despite collecting over D300 million in revenues annually over the past five years in his municipality, Mayor Bensouda has yet to demonstrate significant efforts in elevating the status of the youth.

“His tenure has been marked by ‘flower bash politics’, photo ops and lacks tangible initiatives to empower and support the younger generation, reflecting a disconnection between his rhetoric and actions. In the true spirit of independence day, citizens expected the mayor to kindle patriotism in the youths, encouraging them to serve the nation. However, Mayor Bensouda’s politically charged speech missed the opportunity to inspire positive change and unity, instead perpetuating a divisive narrative. As The Gambia moves forward, KMC hopes for leadership that prioritises the well-being and aspirations of the nation over political grandstanding,” it stated.

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