At least 19 ward candidates vying in the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) under the ticket of the United Democratic Party (UDP) have had their nomination accepted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Thursday.
The candidates are fleshing their muscles for the April 12th local government elections, the first to be held in the New Gambia.
The UDP had an overwhelming victory in last year’s parliamentary elections, winning all the seats it had contested in the KMC.” Our expectations are high. We are really hopeful that all the candidates will make their way to their seats at the KMC,” UDP Parliamentarian for Bundungka Kunda Hon. Bakary Njie told this reporter.
The district elections provide an opportunity for Gambia’s leading political party to test its popularity in the new democratic dispensation. As the country’s largest municipality, KMC is confronted with huge challenges and a good number of districts are struggling to make sure that services are sustainable and delivered without delay.
Hon. Bakary Njie said UDP is moving ahead with a clear agenda that would bring change in the municipality. “UDP wants to make a difference in many areas. We want to make sure that there would be accountability and that people get services they deserve from the KMC,” he said, in an apparent attempt to strike an optimistic tone for the ward elections.
He decried the fact that the outgoing Council failed to deliver on expectations because people have been paying taxes without getting good services. “That is why I have been volunteering to do the job the Council was supposed to do. If these candidates are voting in, they will definitely change the KMC! ” Hon. Njie added.
He expressed the candidates’ resolve to find a remedy to the problem of refuse management, one of the biggest challenges facing the Council. “Under the UDP control, KMC will be one of the cleanest municipalities in the Gambia. We are hopeful that all these issues will be addressed if we have the majority in the Council,” he assured.
UDP KMC Mayoral aspirant Talib Ahmed Bensouda, who has thrown his support behind the 19 candidates for the forthcoming ward elections, acknowledged the fact that outgoing Council has not done a lot in terms of improving city services delivery for the KMC populations.
“For us, we have a five-point plan, starting with restructuring of the municipality, bringing in the capacity that is needed to carry out the services. Secondly, we intend to build the budget from 90 million dalasis to 1 billion dalasis; hardly is to invest in environment and health management with priority being given to the relocation of the Bakoteh dumpsite to a landfill outside the community.”
He confirmed that key part of their plan is to bring infrastructural development in the KMC.
Isatou Ceesay, an UDP candidate for Bundung Muritani Ward, told reporters that if elected she will make sure the Council’s objectives are achieved through better service delivery.
As one of the rare female candidates vying for the position of Councilor, UDP’s Isatou Ceesay appeared determined to conquer her district. She vowed to ensure political viability becomes the order of the day.
Other candidates are listed below:
Binta Jammeh Jallow (Bakau New Town/Fajara); Lamin Dibba (Bakau Old Town/ Cape-Point); Abba Gibba (Manjai/Kotu); Lamin B.Jammeh (Bakoteh); Momodou Drammeh (Dippa Lunda); Junkung S.M Dukureh (Old Jeshwang); Ansumana Bayu (Latrikunda Sabiji); Bassiru Sarr (Kanifing South); Habib M.L Ceesay (Ebo Town); Musa Bah (Latrikunda Yirrigania); Lamin Darboe (Bundungka Kunda); Baba Jabbi (Fajikunda); Tobaski Sidiq (Serrekunda Barres); Alieu Sayo (London Corner); Musa Badjie (Talinding North); Karamo Ceesay (Talinding South), and ebba Ngumbo Sima (Abuko). They all reiterated their resolve to serve in ‘total commitment’ of their respective wards.