Talib Bensouda takes oath of office as the mayor of Kanifing Municipality on Monday morning, breaking two decades of APRC control over the institution.
The lord mayor of Kanifing Municipality has vowed to end decades long problems of the institutional inefficiency and politisation of the works of the council as he took oath of office on Monday.
Gambia’s biggest municipal council, Kanifing Municipality, has seen decades of mismanagement and corruption which plunged the institution into what observers said is its biggest waste management crisis since independence.
The candidate for the former ruling Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction party, ex Mayor Yankuba Colley, has been accused of using the office as a campaign platform for his party before they lost presidency in December 2016.
“While I cannot promise turning the Kanifing Municipality into a perfect metropolis within this time (4 years), I can promise you the following: I shall turn the council into a service-oriented institution for all residence of the KM. This institution shall no longer be a political bureau. Instead this office shall be a place of hard work where professionals come to serve the municipality and deliver the much need service for the people,” Bensouda said.
Bensouda is a candidate for the United Democratic Party, a former main opposition party under the autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh. UDP now has 12 seats in the council and 4 more to be nominated by the Lord Mayor.
APRC has 4 seats in the council and People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism has 3 seats. Musa Bah, the UDP councilor for Latrikunda Germany was unanimously elected as the deputy mayor for the municipality.
“My only motivation is to give the next four years of my life to natives of Kanifing Municipality…,” Talib promised, to the cheers of the crowd.
Kanifing Municipality currently faces numerous challenges including a huge debt burden and massive waste management and environmental problems
The ex-interim mayor for Kanifing Municipality, Bakary Jammeh, who handed over the mantle of leadership to Talib said “Bakoteh dumpsite still remains the biggest challenge to the council”
“The site is in a critical situation posing serious threats to the lives of residents and passerby,” Jammeh said.
Jammeh said KMC owes NAWEC a staggering figure of over D103 million.
“Only seven out of the KMC’s 28 fleet of (waste collection) vehicles are currently on the road…,” Jammeh said.