Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEM, THE POLITICS AND THE CHALLENGES OF MUNICIPAL WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE GAMBIA

July 18, 2017

Author: Abdoukarim Sanneh, London

By Abdoukarim Sanneh, London

According to United States Politician Bernie Sanders stated election days come and go. But the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the one percent-a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice-that struggle continues. Environment issues in our national political discourse and activism is taking a root in our political landscape. Environmentalism or environmental rights movements from Kartong, Gunjur, Bijilo and Bakoteh comes with our new widen the space of democratic participation and governance. From Kartong Sand mining protest, Gunjur and Kartong/ Chinese Golden Leaf Factory protest about illegal discharge of untreated sewage waste in aquifer, Safe Monkey Park protest and recent demonstration by Bakoteh and Manjai residents demanding the closure of decades old open space/landfill solid waste dumping site are all clear indication that advocacy or work toward protecting the natural environment from destruction or pollution cannot be neglected in our national political issues.

Gambian politics is now open to a new era of environmental activism but unfortunately with two years of democratic advocacy on different sphere that Yaya Jammeh’s authoritarian quasi democratic regime had inflicted on livelihood diversification, it shameful that there is no single Political party with a clear policy statement or political manifesto commitment on issues of environmental governance. Life for is daily living on the edge with environmental problems and challenges such land degradation, erosion of our marine and fisheries resources, urban air pollution, poverty, poor housing and sanitation, population growth, chronic energy and water shortage etc.

Gambia is a natural resource dependent economy and our environmental resources are a major contributor to national accounting indicators such as Gross Domestic Products. Recently many natural resource dependent economies are moving away neoliberal Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis of economic growth at the expense of environmental quality by putting in place strong regulatory framework. Environmental protection improves quality of life and social wellbeing of the people. For many years environmental issues such as the way and manner we harvest our natural resource never take a centre in our national political discourse but with emerging wave of ecological activism, green political issues and movement is a future in our budding functional and participatory democratic process. The aim of the article discuss the local environmental challenges of growing urbanisation and the reason behind ineffective local government response municipal waste management system.

Municipal waste dumping is big environmental challenge for Gambia’s Local Government authorities such as Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council and Brikama Area Council. For many years not much work is done by our Central Government and National Environment Agency to implement Local Agenda 21 which aimed at building local government capacities in effective response to local environment and development challenges. Gambia National Environment Agency need to reform its approaches and work effectively to help our urban Local Government Authorities to developed, coordinate and implemented environmental management systems such integrated waste management strategies to address urbanisation and its environmental problems.

During the political transition from Military to Civilian rule in1996 to early 2000, The Government of the Gambia through UNDP and European Union Technical Assistance came with Decentralisation project that aims to strengthen local democracy with a local government reform agenda, but unfortunately totalitarian regime of Yaya Jammeh and its lukewarm approach was unwilling to widen the space for local democracy through Local Government Reform agenda.

Gambia up till today is centralise state and so-called Local Government Reforms was watered down leaving Local Government Administration ineffective and still with operating in its old fashion unaccountable revenue collection system and not much of that revenue collected plough back to the communities for development purposes. Today these are part of the reasons why Bakoteh Solid Waste landfill dumping is in a state of disgrace and the municipal authorities cannot be their social responsibility and social contract to tax payers. For the past decades, we constitutionally empowered the President and gave him the absolute power to dictate the work of every local government authorities which is a mockery spirit of decentralisation and local democracy. Our elected Councillors have no power and local government administration becomes littered with corruption, inefficiency and no accountability.

Gambia Local Government Administration needs to be empowered to come with some form of collaborative Municipal waste Management Framework Directive. It is about time that start to realise that urbanisation comes with waste generation due to pattern of consumption and production of resources. With demand for spatial land use and growing population, we need to move away from open space waste dumping especially in densely populated municipalities in Greater Banjul Areas. Human/urban habitation comes with waste production and waste is any discarded material and substance.

For years I have been writing about the impact of Bakoteh Open space/ landfill site solid waste. Open space landfill site dumping of solid waste comes with health and environmental hazards. With increase in our urban population the volumes of municipal solid waste being produced are increasing and it is time to realise that volume that waste is open space landfill site is source of groundwater pollutant in foreseeable future. The Semi Arid nature of climate, rainfall causes erosion and that could increase the possibility of surface and ground water contamination from landfill solid waste disposal site such as that of Bakoteh site. Another environmental problem related to Bakoteh dumping site landfill gas emission and this is noticeable when you few distance away from these waste dumping landfill site.

The volume of organic waste disposed into the site during decomposition forms gaseous products. When the bacterial decomposition process of these organic waste slowly moves to use of oxygen known in biological term as aerobic condition to non use of oxygen knows as anaerobic condition, the carbon dioxide level continues to be high, gradually falling as methane concentration builds up. Other than methane and carbon dioxide other gases being generated during decomposition in landfill waste dumping site include hydrogen, nitrogen which has potential fire and explosive hazards. Landfill gas emissions have a number of pollutants which are of concern to human health and environment. Solid waste disposed in landfills is usually subjected to series of complex biochemical and physical processes, which lead to the production of both leachate and gaseous emissions. When leachate leaves landfill and reaches water resources, it may cause surface and groundwater pollution.

Because of Methane associated with Landfill gases emission, Bakoteh Land fill site and other landfill sites in the country are significant contributor to our national green house gas inventory because of amount of methane it generated into the atmosphere as a green house gases. Apart from emission of methane, waste dumping can contaminate the soil and also groundwater table/aquifer with pollutants. Land remediation work even when Bakoteh landfill is closed after years of been used for waste dumping can be expensive and even when the groundwork is done it could have a potential effect if used for human settlement. Recent studies in Lazio region in Italy published in the Journal of Environmental Ecotoxicology indicated that living near 5 km of a landfill waste dumping site could damage your health. The research of this study associated health implication such as exposure to air pollutants can lead to lung cancer and respiratory diseases.

The Gambia Government should find solution to the problem of urban municipal waste generated in Banjul City Council, Kanifing Municipal Council and Brikama Area Council. The Environment Agency should support local government agencies to come with waste management strategies and framework that can reduce the volume of waste sent to landfill site. Gambia need small effective sizable incineration plant to recovery energy generated from our municipal household waste that end up in landfill sites. The volume of waste we sent to landfill site could be recycle, recovered before finally disposal as solid waste. Our citizens need waste management education and recycling programme and project to reduce the bulk of waste into dumping sites. It is only through effective waste management strategies with introduce cost benefit analysis which in environmental economists called polluter pay principles that Local Government Authorities can reduce the waste hierarchy into landfill sites. In many part of developed and developing countries now incineration of municipal waste is another form of alternatives to open space dumping. Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion or burning of organic substance in waste to produces energy that is supplied into national grid as electricity. With the volume of municipal household waste produced in our urban areas this cam be part of the solution to open space landfill site dumping.

Gambia’s local government authorities will not be able to be responsive to need of our citizens without proper accountable democratic reforms. For five decades local government administration is reduced to unaccountable tax/revenue collection and neglected community development challenges that comes with urbanisation. With level of administrative corruption the executive officers are not even answerable or accountable to democratic elected councillors. In our national pathway to widen the space of democratic governance it is fundamentally important for Gambia reformed in local government administration if we are to meet environmental and community development challenges that comes with urbanisation.

HELLO MR PRESIDENT . . . SEPERATING THE WHEAT FROM THE CHAFF

July 18, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Ba

In light of the revelations coming from the leaked audio of a conversation between Lawyer Sheriff Tambedu [who has rightly recused himself from the case] and Mrs Ndoura Jawara Badjie, it has become apparent that there are people in your government who are still sympathetic to the previous regime. It was revealed in that audio that some officers at the National Intelligence Agency [which was headed by Yankuba Badjie] are giving information to Mrs Badjie purporting to say that no evidence will be found. Are they implying that they will bury or destroy the evidence?

Similarly, one observes that there are many who were in the previous regime and are gradually edging into your government. These people will do anything for position. These were the people who ignored their conscience and worked with the former president to suppress, repress and oppress the people of the Gambia. These were the people who stood in solidarity with the former regime when they tried to subvert the will of the Gambian people. What can we expect to gain from such unscrupulous people? All they have is a sweet tongue! Shun them!

Mr President, you have a clear mandate from the Gambian people. We wholeheartedly entrusted you with the affairs of the state. We authorized you to run our government the way you deem fit. You have all the powers that you need to succeed. You are not under any obligation to appoint anybody, particularly those who sserved in high places in the former regime. They colluded with others to visit the population with untold suffering and now they want to destroy your government from within as well. Do not let them.

A proper and thorough combing should be undertaken to ensure that anyone who has sympathies with the former regime is given the sack. It doesn’t matter how many of them you sack, there are many people who have the ability, expertise but most importantly, the integrity to replace them.

Let us start with the NIA. These people are intelligence officials and have the ability to unearth or bury or even manufacture dangerous and damaging information. So if we have some unscrupulous individuals in the NIA, only Allah knows the damage they can cause.

We must separate the wheat from the chaff. Let’s use a fine comb to weed that place and restructure it; or if necessary, close it down!

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

END OF AN ERA: THE ENIGMATIC YAHYA WITH AN ILLUSORY LEGACY? THERE ARE MISSED REASONS TO CELEBRATE AND REMEMBER JULY 22!

July 18, 2017

 

Author: Alagie Yerro Jallo

By Alagie Yorro Jallow 

There are reasons to celebrate the July 22 Revolutionn and remember President Yahya Jammeh in a simple way. This may be with national prayers in churches and mosques to heal and reconcile a divided and polarized nation, to move on from the whole aspect of nation-building, or to give it a more positive outlook and more positive understanding, whether it can best be described as amoral not immoral, but amoral in the Gambia’s history. The Gambian people are not blind to the darkness and oppression of the Yahya years.

Although controversies and unsolved cases marred Yahya’s 22 years rule, what will also be forever engraved in The Gambia’s history are his contributions in infrastructure development. Infrastructures were built that were unprecedented in the history of our country that provided a venue for Gambians to highlight cultural heritage, propagate arts and culture, generate tourism, improve and contribute to economic growth.
Remembering the July 22 Revolution might speed up the process of reckoning. This can start with the retelling of the horrors: the knock on the door before dawn for an arrest without warrant, the rape, regular beating, and water cure, the cigarette burned through flesh, the wires attached to genitals and breasts for mild electric shocks.
The struggles are worth retelling. It is the responsibility of those who lived through those difficult days to keep the memories alive for the future generations, to ensure that the abuses are not repeated. Those who dared challenge the dictatorship often paid the ultimate price. This is worth celebrating, as democracy has endured despite numerous attempts and persistent threats to civil liberties. The greed that gave rise to the word dictatorship has been tamed. The systematic violation of human rights is over.

Beyond the physical horrors, there was the insatiable greed for power and wealth, with the dictatorship confiscating opponents’ businesses and handing these over to cronies. As the nation is seeing, the alleged amassed wealth is mind-boggling, with 86 bank accounts, 131 movable and immovable properties, and $50 million in accounts alone, impossible for a salary of 22 years. Basically, the thrust of remembering this day is moving the nation forward from just looking back at what has happened in the past and encouraging everybody to cooperate in nation-building.
Yet, President Adama Barrows revolution is unfinished. Corruption remains rampant at all levels of government and democratic institutions are weak, including the police and judicial system, which has failed to make anyone accountable for the abuses of President Jammeh except the NIA Nine and the few Jugglers. Millions have not been recovered in ill-gotten wealth, and no one has been sent to prison for amassing such wealth.
According to Freedom House the Gambia’s political rights rating improved from 7 to 6 dues to Adama Barrow’s victory in the December 2016 presidential election but the regime shows little respect for personal rights and civil liberties, there is urgent needs for improvements.
The cumulative outcome and costs of President Jammehs dictatorship are incalculable. He was not content with simply being a president who had been reelected to four terms of the Gambian presidency. However enormous, his plunder of the nation’s wealth is only one of the costly consequences of his evil rule.
During his 22 years in power, the Gambia fell far behind several neighboring countries in West Africa in the pursuit of development, becoming the basket case in the region. Democracy was destroyed, the economy was in ruin, and a culture of corruption, violence, and cynicism arose.
Hundreds of Gambians were killed, imprisoned, tortured, or displaced from their homes and communities, or they simply disappeared without a trace. Also with impunity, women were raped and degraded by the military, police, and other criminal elements known as the Green Boys and the Jugglers.

President Jammeh’s economics of debt-driven growth was disastrous for the Gambia. His regime was not interested in inclusive development, long-term state-building, or the genuine social transformation of the country, despite its Vision 2020 Blueprint rrhetoric. Instead, President Jammeh was mainly concerned with perpetuating his personal hold on power by favoring family members, friends, and other cronies. Thus, he simply created new elites or oligarchs rather than abolish them — supposedly one of his main justifications for dictatorial rule. Those who dared challenge the regime’s monopoly on power whether politicians, businesspeople, political activists, lawyers, farmers, the urban poor, journalists, or students — young or old, rich or poor — were intimidated, imprisoned, kidnapped, tortured, or summarily executed.
Section of Gambians have branded President Jammeh as merciless and even a criminal, true, but let us not forget the achievements of Jammeh’s administration before everything turned sour. Its not always easy to see the good despite the bad, particularly because there are events which happen that we may never fully understand. The infrastructures that Yahya’s administration has left us is a reminder that we should all start building something good despite hard times. A good foundation with the right maintenance can lead to productivity

In his one of his speeches, he made a promise to make the nation great again and in a way, he did. Infrastructures were built that were unprecedented in the history of our country that provided a venue for Gambians to highlight cultural heritage, propagate arts and culture, generate tourism, improve and contribute to economic growth. A lot of Yahya’s infrastructures today still stand like the Gambia university, Gambia Radio and Television Services, and other infrastructural developments, Kombo Coastal roads networks bridges, schools, the Supreme Courts complex and amongst others, because the people behind these infrastructures still believe that the mission of either providing a venue for performance, giving aid to the sick and connecting people is not over. Until now, these infrastructures continue to help our economy in their own aspect. Some of them are recognized landmarks that help sectors of the economy like the real estate market by increasing the value of homes or properties nearby or accessibility to establishments.

Today, the Gambian people must refuse to forget the atrocities committed by President Jammeh’s regime, and we renew our demand that the perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice. We also reiterate our position that the government of President Barrow should relentlessly pursue and reclaim all the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by President Jammeh’s family and its cronies. Moreover, the victims and their families should be given justice and compensation in full. Any call for unity, reconciliation, and forgiveness, which bitterly divided the country, will be empty and meaningless unless truth and justice are upheld.
The Gambian people must affirm their commitment to telling the truth about the horrors of President Jammeh’s dictatorship so that it can be remembered as one of the darkest periods of the Gambian history.

The Gambian people must reject the argument that democracy does not work in the Gambia and that only a dictatorship, benevolent or otherwise, can bring our country to prosperity. We must instead encourage and harness the full democratic capacity of our people and institutions to progress as a nation. Although inequality and injustice continue to persist, we believe the solution to these problems lies in deepening our democratic institutions and practices, empowering the marginalized, and exacting accountability from our leaders and ourselves.

I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the attempts by some individuals and particularly public figures to whitewash President Jammeh regime’s wanton violation of human rights and to distort its political and economic record. I call on all our politicians to take a definite stand on the abuses of President Jammeh’s dictatorship. I challenge them to join our call to never again allow the conditions of tyranny to take root in our society. I demand that candidates who directly or indirectly participated in and benefited from the regime apologize and, if necessary, make restitution for their role in the regime or their support of it.
I joined the Gambian people aspire to keep alive the ideals and heroism of the many brave Gambians who fought the regime. For as long as we remember and share these stories, and I believe that future generations of Gambians will learn the lessons of the years of struggle leading to the defeat of the dictatorship during the People’s Power Revolution on December 1, 2017.The fullness of democratization, especially the creation of a political and socio-economic order, which respects the dignity of all Gambians, has yet to be achieved. It is our responsibility now to continue and complete this unfinished struggle and start with the truth.

THE RHETORICAL LETTER!

July 13, 2017

Author: Dr.Muhammed Teks Tekany

By Dr. Muhammed Teks Tekanyi

To: The African Leaders,

Cc: Fellow Africans.

Dear all,

Some of you may not agree but I’ve always thought of HUNGER, IGNORANCE (and POOR HEALTH) being the main problems of our Africa!

For the hungry can do ANYTHING (which could include crimes, corruption, etc) to relief the hunger.

And the ignorant on the other hand, knows NOTHING on the difference between right and wrong (and are as well unaware of the consequences) in as much as what is done is satisfying.

Thus, the ANYTHING and NOTHING singly or combined can result to POOR HEALTH and as well INSECURITY which both are the drainage of our economy!

Hence the need to educate and feed our people in order to solve our centuries old continental problems which will give a resultant reduction in our expenditures!

Yours in hope and prayers,
Muhammed.

NB: Not copied to donor agencies!

 

HELLO MR PRESIDENT… DISASTER RELIEF

July 12, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

In the Wolof Language they say, ‘xoddeeku balaa ngai laka le’, a crude translation of this will be ‘prevention is better than cure’. Every year, when the heavens open up, many Gambians are affected by floods or storms and their houses are destroyed. They lose a lot of their valuable belongings and are certainly traumatized. This is something that can be minimized, if not completely eradicated.

If we have the proper planning and get ready to preparation for the long term, we will ensure that the places that are prone to flooding would be identified and then measures taken to guarantee that we don’t just react; rather, we should plan ahead of the rains.

There is a Department for Physical Planning which is under the Ministry of Lands which needs to carry out a broad study of the land in the country and demarcate residential areas in a way that no houses will be constructed in sodden areas which will always cause houses to collapse. It is true that it is very difficult land for residential purposes and as such if someone acquires a land already, it will be very difficult to stop him/her from erecting his/her house there; especially those who have already struggled and put up buildings.

Of course such people may not want to leave their houses or stop constructing houses because they might have invested their lives’ savings in those lands or houses. But nothing compares to human life. We see in the developed world that when a disaster is about to happen governments evacuate residents, sometimes forcefully, just to ensure their safety. The first priority of a government is to protect its citizens, sometimes even from their own actions.

Our laws should therefore cater for such a contingency. For instance, where someone intends to build a house in a place that is known to be prone to flooding, government should have the power to stop such a person. If it does, then how, and how far can the government agencies go in enforcing this law? If this law is already present in our Constitution, then why is it not being implemented?

These are a few of the things we should start thinking about to reduce the number of disasters that are experienced by our people. I call on you to put in place measures which will reduce the damage caused by these disasters in our country.

Have a Good Day Mr President….

Tha Scribbler Bah

A concerned Citizen

GOOD MORNING PRESSIDENT BARROW

July 10, 2017

IGP KINTEH

PRESIDENT BARROW

Firstly, Mr President, allow me to commend IGP Kinteh for his brilliant interview on GTRS on Friday. Undoubtedly, he did rise and shine in all his answers. Watching him drizzles flashes of a hopeful future for the Police under his supervision if he remains bold, steadfast and true to his ideals.

Hypothetically, it is a prerequisite on law-enforcers to be seen abiding by the law. As a consequent, Police officers must at all times exercise great care in ensuring the legality of their actions. Albeit this may sometimes register slips and falls owing to undue pressure from politicians, the public and corruption to conveniently quick fix selective situations, society is best served and protected when the police dutifully patrol within corridors of the law. That will, definitely, renovate its dilapidated image, pep up public confidence and resuscitate trust in our police service.

Despite all the worrisome clouds hovering over our Police Force, appropriate and bold conditions can disperse them to pave way for a brighter future marinated with stunning professionalism. Mr President, for the sake of clarity, let me affirm that I am not here claiming to possess all the medicaments for the police malaise but have a reasonable grasp of its seeming intractable multi-faceted virus. Some of my readers will recollect when Momodou Sabally was appointed Secretary General, I wrote him an open letter admonishing as a colleague I regard very highly and suggested possible means he could utilise to preserve his integrity. My concerns did outlive the termites of time. IGP Kinteh is my squad and we shared many experiences. Consequences, I want his legacy to be a success story.

At this juncture, Mr President, one is charmed to query why is the Police Force so enmeshed in shameful maladministration peppered with blatant corruption? In an effort to avail factual response, I will confine my argument mainly on Organisational Structure, Command and Control this morning. Until 1994, the GPF Organisational Structure was tailored to hone and harness command and control. There were only the IGP, DIG, AIG Operations, AIG Admin and CMC assisted by 5 CSPs, 10 SPs and 21 ASPs as senior officers which included Immigration as it was administered by the Police. Major Police Stations such as Banjul were manned by either a Chief Inspector or an Inspector assisted by Sergeants as Relief Commanders. Corporals formed the core of Supervising NCOs. Then arrived the “Electronic Broom” of the monster which swept many senior officers into oblivion. 1994 also witnessed the scrapping of the AIGs positions. And in 2001, came the Commissioner ranks.
The second coming of some of the swept officers brought with it the unwitting littering of the commissioner ranks. Today, The Gambia Police Force has more commissioners than the UK, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. IGP Kinteh needs to carefully look into the organisational structure and water down the littered ranks. As a starter, the likes of Ousman Gibba, Edu Sambou, Famara Jallow, Modou Sowe and Modou Gaye all had once served as DIGs before receiving their marching orders and only to be later reinstated with demotion. The truth be told, all these men have seen their best-before dates and have nothing more to offer the police. As a result, they should be retired with benefit to scale down the excessive and unnecessary Commissioner ranks.

Command and Control is less effective due to the liquidation of the ranks, unthoughtful deployments, sexual favours, corruption and political interference. A succinct illustration is the scenario of Commissioners Demba Sowe and Buba Sarr. By service, Sowe seniors Sarr. Sowe got deployed to head Interpol while Sarr was appointed CMC. Operationally, CMC oversees Interpol, Prosecution, Serious Crime and Fraud Squad. Thus, making Sowe answerable to his junior which gravely compromised command and control. Similarly, if an IGP sleeps with Sergeant and/or Private Enchanting in Banjul station, how does the State Officer expect her to fall in when he orders? If the Station Officer isn’t careful with her, he will find himself in Fatoto within the blink of an eye. This too erodes command and control.

The creation of irrational positions is another toothache of the police. For instance, when Tijan Badjie got reinstated after been fired and locked up, the position of Deputy CMC was created for him perhaps to compensate his prosecuting of Ex-IGP Ben Jammeh. It has been brought to my notice that the position of Pateh Bah which I highlighted on my Friday series was actually Regional Crime Co-ordinator for Kanifing and not CMC-Kanifing. Very smart in deed. Who are we fooling here? What happened to OC CID in each of the Police Divisions? To me the RCC is an identical twin of the OC CID unless their operational roles are not overlapping. Albeit the RCC is answerable to the CMC, his role replicates that of the Divisional OC CID.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

I SALUTE GAMBIAN WOMEN

July 9, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

After the Eid-ul-Fitr feast, I wrote using this and other media to express the hope and potentials we have in our society. Our culture of being one people, one nation, and one Gambia expressed through the jovial relationships we have between tribes, ethnic groups, regional groups and even clans is a great recipe for peace and progress.

Today, we witnessed another aspect of this communalism when women in the ‘Kombo Tubab Bankoo’, or urban area if you like, desired to get rid of the huge piles of waste in our markets and streets and they were joined by many of the menfolk. Indeed this is worth celebrating and we need to commend our womenfolk.

What do we Learn from this Set-Setal?

It is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. In fact there is no godliness without cleanliness. Every religion stresses on cleanliness and if someone is desirous of being godly, most certainly such a person should be clean both physically and spiritually. Well we know that the outward appearance of a person affects his or her inner feelings. A clean person could therefore be said to be pure inwardly as well.

 

This makes cleanliness extremely important therefore. This cleanliness however, does not only have to be in the pefact but also the environment. A clean person cannot live in a dirty environment. We can see therefore that keeping our surroundings clean is of absolute necessity.

Who is responsible?

Primarily, we [the people] are responsible for the cleanliness of our bodies and our environment. If each one of us takes it upon him/herself to ensure that you and your surroundings are clean then the waste and rubbish can be at various locations for further discarding by the right authorities. It is here that the role of the government [through the municipalities] comes in.

It is the responsibility of the municipalities to ensure that the waste is collected periodically and disposed of properly keeping in mind the hygiene and health of the people. For this reason, we pay tax to the local government/municipalities. They collect this money to ensure that our waste is collected and disposed of. But because for the past 22 years we had a dictatorship and a repressive government that did not care much about the people, that money was politicized and used for other things. As such, the work for which the taxes were meant was not – could not – be done. Today, we are all facing the consequences.

The Kankfing Municipal Council under the leadership of Mayor Yankuba Colley wasted out resources on politics and some other nonessential ventures and now, we all have to suffer for it. This has to change. We need to start taking responsibility and doing what we are supposed to do.

I wrote once that a man once thought that I was a fool because he saw me carrying an empty can drink for a long distance. He asked why I didn’t just throw it away? I replied that I couldn’t because there was no dustbin around. He said I should throw it away anyway because everyone does it.

This is our problem. Many people do something so we also do it even if it is wrong. If we don’t stop that behavior, progress will be difficult.

We have to make a conscious, concerted effort to ensure a change in attitude. We didn’t only vote for a change of the name of our president, we voted for a system change which has to be all-pervasive. Everything has to change for us to register the progress we are yearning for.

It seems our womenfolk want to lead that change! That is a good thing. I salute you, O women of the Gambia!

Tha Scribbler