By Dawda Baldeh
Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Lord Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) said the Permanent Secretary at the ministry of Local Government’s response to KMC was based on politic and not technocratic. Speaking on a range of issues such as why Mayors and Chairpersons should not take orders from regional Governors and how they were forced to pay D13 million to get their trucks out to carry out the cleaning services, the D120 million imposition on council and more. He made these remarks in 2019.
“I have nothing personal against the PS but his response to the council was based on politic and not technocratic,” he said.
Speaking at Council premises in 2019 , he revealed that the 100 million dalasi was a street light bill imposed on KMC. Bensouda said the former regime wanted to put the street light project within the country and they didn’t know how b to pay for it.
The Mayor clarify that the 120million bill imposed on council will not be paid for, as the street lights are under the domain of Central Government and not council.
“I didn’t said this for politic but the PS response was political and not technocratic. I will leave this office one day no matter how long I serve. I don’t want my children to grow up and find the country with the same problem. I will do my best to bring development in the country,” he said.
He said KMC revenue is going up to 200,000 millions dalasi and 25% of that will be 30 millions which should be given to the council. “As a Mayor, I will learn from countries like America, Senegal and others because those countries are more developed. This will help us to do more for the development of our dear mother.”
“Our finance and audit Act said government cannot take any liability and imposed it on the council. We will not pay for the project because we did not ask government to take it on our behalf,” Talib Ahmed Bensouda said.
“I am not an enemy to the ministry and I am not an adviser to the central government. If I succeed, they too succeeded because we are all serving the same master that is The Gambian people,” he said.
Mayor Bensouda said if KMC failed the people will suffer. “We are not here to create stories he said. Speaking about the trucks for their waste collection, council went from house to house to get the people’s mandate about the trucks and how the work can be done.
“We are democratic elected Mayors with a mandate to change things by coming up with a reform agenda. The 1.3 million we were ask to pay for the trucks by GRA was an order from the ministry who said we will not get our trucks if we do not pay the money,” he said.
“We cancelled two roads just to get our trucks because the money they ask us to pay is huge,” Mayor said. “If they (governors) said they have no intention, they could have allowed our trucks to come out.”
He said Governors should not oversee the council because Governors are appointed while council’s members are elected. “You will not see that anywhere in this world were regional Governors over sees councils,” he said. He added governors can exist for central government.
The KMC, Mayor said elected Councilors are not answerable to the regional Governors but they can report to the National Assembly because it is the people who elected them. On the issue of capacity building, he alleged that government will organize trainings and ask the council to pay for them, so where have they built our capacity?