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Friday, April 12, 2024

Talib Ahmed Bensouda clocks 100 days in office

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Talib Bensouda

By Momodou Janneh

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After being elected in office through the 12th April 2018 Mayoral Elections where he emerged victorious with 29,325 votes from the ballot boxes, here we look into the pros and cons after being sworn into office on the 21st May 2018 which today the 28th of August marks his 100 days in office as Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council.
Following his inauguration and the commencement of his term in office, we reflect back on his first 10 days in office.
The following key milestones have been achieved by the Lord Mayor:
1. The Lord Mayor signed a GMD85 million contract with GAMWORKS for the development of 2 key roads in the KMC, Bundung Maternity Ward and the new KMC Council Building. This was a 90% matching grant funded by the OPEC Fund for International Development.
2. The first steps into the constitutional audit, human resource and capacity review as well as organization reform of KMC have been commenced. To this end the council has established a Finance Committee and an Establishment and Appointment Committee made up of experts in finance, law, public sector governance and human resources.

A promise was made by the Mayor that in the next few months they will report the outcomes.
3. Council members have commenced a direct study into the key revenue generating areas, license fees, market duties and property rates to explore practical solutions of accounting for this revenue while removing leakages.

4. Nominated members are being reviewed for establishment of all remaining Council Committees.
5. The Board of Directors of the Bakoteh Fish Market has been reconstituted to non-partisan and qualified members who have the ability to turn around that vital institution.
6. All contracts, agreements, MoUs and official correspondents have been suspended pending further review. Going forward all new agreements are now been approved by the Mayor. This will ensure that Council engagements are synchronised and consistent with Council policy instead of proliferation of agreements of which the council may not even be aware of.

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7. Pending the outcome of the reorganisation, the Council took it upon itself that all expenditures and procurement must be approved by the Mayor. With this, it has immediately impacted the high expenditure cost recorded daily.
8. The Council has also suspended the hiring of new staff pending the outcome of the review and reorganisation.
9. The Council sittings have now been scheduled twice a month and sitting allowances have been discounted.
Congratulations Mr Lord Mayor.
On the 7th of June the Lord Mayor visited Finish Profiles to see samples of vendor spaces for markets and streets. In a similar vein he promised the team that his council would seriously look into engaging them and would put high stock on any of their proposals as long as they employ youths.

On the same date the Mayor visited some of the communities within his Municipality: The list is as follows:-
v Bakau Community Centre
v New town Community Centre
v Kotu Botanical Gardens
v Kotu Park
v Bakoteh
v Dumpsite
v Cape Point Central Septic Tank
v Finish Profiles Factory.

These visits were made to see the conditions of the dilapidated facilities under his council and he has gone onto making promises to upgrade the facilities in his first term in office.
On 10th June the Lord Mayor launched “Operation Clean the Drains”. In his quest to bringing an end to the excess flooding that persistently occurs during the rainy season, the Mayor has come up with a routine quarterly exercise consisting of 100 council staff and 100 temporary workers that will be responsible to clean out over 25 drains and various illegal dumping sites for 2 weeks. This is just a short term relief by the Mayor to mitigate the flooding and promised to look for long term plans to fix all the drains within his Municipality.
20th June, under his leadership, Kanifing Municipal Council instructed the dredging of the Jeshwang waterway. The place is believed to be one of the biggest natural drains in the Municipality which is the cause of flooding in Jeshwang and Kanifing Wards for so many years.

On June 28th, the 3rd General Council Session was held and the Council under his leadership passed resolutions as follows:
v The indefinite suspension of staff loans and to encourage staff to go to their credit unions and/or banks.
v Resolution to establish – Agriculture, Development, Youth & Sports, Arts & Culture, Environment & Public Health, Contracts and Education Committees.
The Mayor emphasised to Councilors the need to finalise the members of their Ward Development Committees (WDC) ensuring they engage their communities and guarantee equity in representation from all groups.

29th June marks the first of its kind in the Kanifing Municipal Council in the history of The Gambia as being the first Municipality to officially nominate a Councilor representing the Society of the Differently-abled and Physically Challenged people in the name of Mr Ebrima Colley.
This is my own pick from your entire first 100 days in office, because the differently-abled and physically-challenged people belong to the society and are part of us, so giving them that honour and respect for them to have their own councilor is worth commending and I honorably applaud you for that. Bravo Lord Mayor.

On a final note, I am reminding you that steps shall be made to complement your municipality’s developmental blueprints through relentless efforts in undertaking challenges thus meeting the deadline of the various initiated visions, aims and objectives which are crucial to sustainable development. There is power in a group of people working together for a common cause and I reaffirm my full commitment and support to you and your council. I will like to wish you all the very best of luck and your municipality in your endeavors to fulfilling your promises and transforming KMC.

Good luck!
Long live The Gambia!
Long live the mighty KMC!

Yours in national and community development

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