Nominations have begun Monday for the control of Gambia’s biggest and richest conurbation as the mayoral election is heating up in the Kanifing Municipality. Independent candidates Modou Jenkins, Papa Momodou Njie, Ousman Jatta (Rambo) of the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) and Papa Njie Girigara of Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) have filed their nomination papers at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), located along Kairaba Avenue. They all vowed to win the hearts and minds of the electorate, promising a harsh battle in the coming days.
“I have a proven track record of 24 years of social engagement with the youths, women as well as a good number of grassroot organisations,” Papa Momodou Njie told reporters shortly after filing his nomination papers.
The mayoral race in the Kanifing Municipality has been announced as
one of the toughest electoral battles in the country’s political history. Independent candidates are the hegemony of traditional political organisations in their own strongholds.
Papa Momodou Njie said no one should be fouled by new comers pushing ahead with hidden agenda. “They should be asked what they have done for their community,” he added.
He expressed his resolve to find solution to the mounting problems the municipality is confronted with. “I have the solutions, and everything will be outlined in my manifesto.”
Njie announced that he will put an end to corruptions in making sure that taxes are paid through the banking sector.
The APRC, former governing party, has vowed to maintain their supremacy in the KMC, and has fielded Ousman Jatta (Rambo) to take on the fight for the control of the municipality they led during these past two decades.
“I was a councilor who served for two two terms,” Jatta told reporters while indicating that he has a credible plan geared toward bringing development to people’s doorsteps.
He went further to say that details development plan are highlighted in a manifesto he is going to launch very soon.
Businessman Papa Njie Girigara, who is running under GDC banner, said one his leading target will be to close the dumpsite that continues to pose environmental hazards to the people of Bakoteh, Manjai and the surroundings.
He then added that cleaning the streets and repairing feeder roads will also top his priorities.
“KMC cannot only depend on taxes. If you look at last year’s tax revenue, it was about 100 million dalasis,” he said. “Today KMC owes over 200 million dalasis to NAWEC.
Girigara said this shows that tax collection are only destined to pay debts, and made it clear that there is an urgent need to design other means of getting money for the municipality.
When asked how he is going to do to increase KMC’s financial potential, Girigara outlined two options that would help to make change a reality.
He announced plans to make some investments that would generate revenue for the KMC such as building town halls, recreational facilities carrying the logo of sponsors etc.
Girija said he will also venture in tapping into some financial opportunities around the world. He promised to make best use of his
contacts – he was able to establish over the past 40 years.