By Ousainou J Sawaneh (Ojee)
The Public Relation Officer of the Banjul City Council Momodou Lamin Bah has reiterated great concern over the 2002 local government Act, which he described as “seriously tampered”.
He made these remarks in an interactive consultative workshop on the review of the Local Government Act 2002, held on Thursday 28th November, 2019 at the Cathedral Hall in Banjul.
According to him the emergence of a new dispensation is need for nurturing and strengthening of democracy, good governance and socio-economic sustainability adding that requires the articulation of good laws, policies and programs that govern and guide the operations of the city council.
PRO Bah said councillors should be paid salaries so that they have access to allowance. He added that they should be given some benefits at the end of their term “you cannot serve the council at the end of the day, without taking anything home” he said.
Bah also spoke at length saying it is important to come to the community level to seek people’s opinions and concerns over the local government Act of 2002.
He revealed that at the end of the process they will come with a position document that will be in a very articulated format and will be presented to the ministry of local government and lands.
He also described the review process as part of the Constitutional review process adding that the local government Act is part of the Constitutional.
Bah raised concern over the appointment of the Finance Director which he said are appointed through the public service Commission adding this can be done by the council itself at the level of the council.
He reiterated that when there is autonomy the council will work effectively and they will do wonders as far as there operations are concerned, “we are advocating for autonomy and decentralization” he said
He pointed out that members traveling outside the Gambia should not require approval from the Ministry.
He alluded that authorities will make sure whatever is discussed at the process, reflect the thought of the people.
“The Banjul City council will write a position document that will be submitted to the ministry of local government and lands for consideration”.
He also said the CEO and their deputies are appointed by the ministry of local government and lands adding that needs change “we are saying as council and Banjulians that needs to change” he said.
He argued that when councils are dissolved , there should no need for interim Committees saying the CEO and management can continue the work.
On his part the CEO of the Council Mustapha Bachilly underscored the importance of the process. He said it is important for the participants to actively take part in the process, so that they will have a document that everyone will be proud of.
Delivering his presentation on the critical sections for review, Bachilly said there are critical sections in the 2002 local government Act that needs urgent attention and should be reviewed.
He said section 22 (5) revocation of nominated members, Minister in consultation with the mayor to be reviewed adding that nominated councillors should be done by interest groups supervised by the IEC.
He indicated that allowances for council members being determined by the council, adding that committees of the council should include climate change and environment, culture and education, gender and youth.
Speaking on behalf of the community Sulayman B. Njie urged the members of the community to actively take part in the process, adding that there are critical sections in the local government Act which he said needs urgent attention.
Deputy Mayor of BCC Omar BJ Touray commended the participants for their turnout