By Halimatou Ceesay
Mr. Lamin Cham, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Returning Officer on Tuesday, 24th April, 2018 accepted the nominations of UDP, PDOIS and several Independent candidates, including the only female contestant for the Kanifing Municipal Council Mayoral seat, at the Kanifing Municipality (KM) regional office.
The nominated candidates include five independents, namely Francis G. Gomez, Assan Martin (commonly referred to as Lawyer Assan Martin), Bakary Badjie and Fatima Sarr. Adama Bah for PDOIS, Bubacarr Senghore Independent, Talib Ahmed Bensouda for United Democratic Party (UDP).
The candidates were each accompanied to the election house by hundreds of supporters who were dressed in their various party colours, singing, dancing and chanting victory for their respective candidates as they present their credentials before the IEC officials.
Speaking to the waiting Journalists, Mr Francis G Gomez said during his tenure as the acting Mayor of KMC, the Bakoteh dumpsite used to be managed attractively and the revenue generate on used to be attractive too. He promised that if elected again he will use the same management system like he did before.
Reacting on the allegations that some candidates are being backed by foreign Oil Company, Mr Gomez said his candidature is not backed by any company and his source of funding is from himself, family and friends.
Lawyer Assan Martin an independent candidate said after a long period of mal-administration and mismanagement at the KMC, the people want to make a new era of change in the 21st century for KMC.
He said “as a citizen of KMC, I am directly affected by the mismanagement of the KMC.”
According to Lawyer Martin his track records are there to proof that he is the right candidate for the changes needed in the KMC. ‘I am the right candidate, I was a human right advocate and my work in the public sector is not in question.”
On solving the current difficulties in the KMC, Mr Martin said it requires competent person and following the right policies.
Adama Bah contesting under PDOIS ticket said he is contesting to give selfless service to the people of the Municipality and he has the maturity, the experience, honesty and he has been in administrative management over three decades. He said he has been keeping money and that there is no way he will he be corrupt.
He said every citizen of KMC according to the law can go there and enquire about the accounts of KMC. He said what was happening before was lack of transparency and that is why everyone is saying that KMC is corrupt but that people need to examine things carefully.
Talib Ahmed Bensouda UDP Mayoral candidate responding to the allegation that Gam-Sense is been backed by an oil company which is financing his candidature, said “Gam-Sense project have been with Far-limited way before I was elected to become UDP’s Candidate. The funds are not for my campaign is for the community and the Gambian people so these are rumours and allegations against me.”
He said KMC is confronted with lots of financial challenges. “I have a three point programme which is environmental health management, infrastructure development, Jobs and economic growths,” he said.
Bubacarr Senghore an Independent candidate said if voted into office, he will bring the kind of development that KMC is yearning for.
‘‘I have been a social worker for about forty-years and I know how to tackle social problems. I am among those that initiated youth action for food self-sufficiency. I am also responsible for managing Serekunda and Gadafi mosque,” he said.
According to Mr Senghore, it is important for the council to be man by a competent and experience person in order to bring the much needed development. He said KMC has a lot of challenges including waste management, revenue collection and so on.
Bakary Badjie an independent candidate said KMC for the past years lack the leadership it required to be able to drive it to intentions and the aspirations of the resident of the municipality, and “I have the required knowledge and experience to handle KMC and lead it to what the resident of the municipality aspire.”
Bakary said he is the right candidate for KMC because he is a resident of KMC and also he has been working with young people, NGOs and the Municipality which he said gives him the background to know what KMC wants. He made mention that previous leaders in the municipality is more of politics than development which will be address when elected.
Fatima Sarr Independent Mayoral Aspirant said if elected she will address the issue of the Bakoteh dumpsite, road network especially security in KMC. She said she have been campaigning since 2017 but maintained a low profile. She said as a woman she is aware of the problems of women in KMC which includes Market and storage facilities and she has plans to work on that.