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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 19 Apr 2017 : 15:32:40
Building The New Gambia
By Madi Jobarteh
Where is the 2.2 Million Euros for Bakoteh Dumpsite?
Without doubt the Bakoteh dumpsite is not just an eyesore but constitutes a crime against the surrounding communities for the dangerous fumes it releases into homes and schools, particularly the SOS Children’s Village everyday. Many citizens in these communities suffer from respiratory diseases because of this dumpsite, which keeps burning day and night unabated. Why the Gambia Government and KMC would allow this site to exist until today is indeed a gross irresponsibility for which the National Assembly must take urgent steps. This dumpsite is an intolerable health hazard of enormous proportions and must not continue to exist in that place.
Therefore one of the first businesses of the new parliament must be to open an enquiry into the case of the Bakoteh dumpsite. Such an action would see them fulfill their duty to protect the right to health of residents surrounding this deplorable place.
For that matter there is no better place to start first than at KMC. In July 2015, it was reported in the media that KMC Mayor Yankuba Colley signed a 2.2. million euros contract with the CEO of JMP company Mario Pratolongo from Italy. The National Roads Authority together with the Ministry of Works was tasked to oversee the implementation of the project. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dodou Senghore, DG of NRA at the time said the project was a huge relief for his native Bakoteh. Yankuba Colley himself said this was a special project aimed at finding a lasting solution to this pressing problem. The singing ceremony was witnessed by KMC councilors and community leaders.
One year later in April 2016, this project did not still kick off. Nothing was happening and when concerns were raised about the delay, the KMC public relations officer Fatoumatta Sillah amazingly told the media that KMC was not responsible for the delay. She told the Point newspaper that since KMC signed the contract one year ago, the Italian company was still transferring its equipment to the dumpsite in order to start work.
Fast forward to March 2017, which marks almost two years since the signing of the contract. Now the KMC through its Environment Manager Dodou Jallow speaking to Foroyaa newspaper said after all KMC never received the 2.2 million euros! This information came out after Bakoteh and Manjai committee members confronted KMC for failure of works to start.
The question now is this: Where is the 2.2. million euros that KMC Mayor Yankuba Colley signed with Mario Pratolongo in the presence of KMC councilors and community elders in the KMC offices? How did the story change from that signing ceremony to the transferring of equipment and finally to no money given to KMC? Where is the money? Meantime Bakoteh dumpsite continues to release dangerous smoke into our communities making our families sick in the middle of the biggest city in the Gambia?
Here is therefore the first task before the National Assembly. There must be a public parliamentary enquiry so that Gambians can hear from the horses’ mouth about who and what is responsible. That contract was real and the truth must come out. Those responsible must be held to account. That dumpsite must be removed.
I hereby call on the residents of Bakoteh, Manjai Kunda, Dippa Kunda, London Corner, Sanchaba, Kotu, Sukuta and environs as well as the schools and businesses in the area to pursue their NAMs to bring this matter to the parliament. These communities must also pursue Mayor Colley and their ward councilors to tell them where the 2.2 million euros went. Social justice activists must rise up to solidarise with the residents of these communities to demand justice and accountability.
If our NAMs, Councilors and the National Assembly fail to respond, let us come together to get a lawyer who will take the matter free of charge as a legitimate public interest case to the courts. If in the past we were afraid to pursue our legitimate public interests because of fear of arrests and harassment by the APRC Tyranny, let this new Gambia be a new dispensation where we will not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that justice prevails everywhere everyday. Let us demonstrate to ensure that the Government and KMC act on this dumpsite right now.
The continued presence of this dumpsite is already a violation of the right to health and human dignity of Gambians. Its continued presence is an act of impunity, which must not continue anymore. Let us organize to ensure that this dumpsite is removed by the government now. Youths, women, everyone, stand up for justice in your community!
God Bless The Gambia.
|4 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 24 Feb 2021 : 19:19:37
Feb 24, 2021, 10:58 AM | Article By: Fatou Bojang
SOS Children’s Village in partnership with Kanifing Municipal Council with funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) on Tuesday launched a national project worth over D42M.
The sustainable waste management scheme is designed to reduce child rights violation at the Bakoteh dumpsite. The project also seeks to protect the families and children in the area from health, environmental and economic risks. The main beneficiary communities of the two years project are Bakoteh, Manjai and Dippa Kunda, targeting 200 families including 1000 children and 50 youth.
At least 10,000 people will be sensitised by the project.
At the launch, Fatou Kinteh, minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, while giving her remarks, said SOS Children’s Village came to the country over 30 years ago to complement the efforts of government in protecting the welfare and rights of children. She described the project as big, adding that they were aware that the dumpsite has become a health and environmental hazard to the people who live around the dumpsite.
“What needs to be done now is to make sure that we manage it well so that it no longer becomes a health and an environmental hazard. People who live around the area have a right to their health and their welfare so it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that we live in a clean and a healthy environment.” She emphasized
She thanked the German cooperation and all the partners for supporting the project.
Ahmed Talib Bensuda, mayor, KMC, in his deliberations, said the day marks a significant mile stone for their municipality, adding that the Bakoteh dumpsite remains the largest challenge facing KMC. He expressed optimism that the collaboration that they have with SOS will enhance the management of the Bakoteh dumpsite in order to improve the lives of people of Bakoteh, Dippa Kunda and Manjai.
“The value of the project is over D42M with some highlights including construction of two access roads within the dumpsite to enable waste collection, improve emergency response through the installation of multiple fire hydrants.”
He added that the project also seeks to enhance security through the provision of 30 solar lights and mobility for the Kanifing Municipal police, improve health and safety for those working on the side and others.
He thanked the German government and SOS for their partnership.
Guided by the spirit of the UN convention on the rights of the child and The Gambia Children’s Act 2005, Mariatou Sallah, the national director, SOS Children’s Villages The Gambia, said SOS Children’s Villages advocates for the rights of children and believes that a child’s development is best achieved in a conducive environment.
She highlighted some of the projects that SOS had implemented, saying that the sustainable waste management to reduce child rights violation is their latest project and that they have a number of beneficiaries of about 1.2 million for the past 38 years that SOS has been in operation.
Speaking on behalf of the children of the beneficiary communities, Kanny Sowe thanked project sponsors for treating them as important stakeholders in the project.
“The Bakoteh dumpsite is a big problem especially for us the children. During the raining season the dumpsite becomes heavily flooded causing very bad odor which makes it very difficult for us to breathe.”
Stagnant water, she added becomes perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes after heavy rains causing diseases.
||Posted - 22 Jul 2017 : 11:07:40
Next step is down to the administration.Personally I would have missed out the word "beginning" which appears on the second line of this Editorial from Foroyaa
QUESTION OF THE DAY
The heaps of waste indiscriminately dumped at the Bakoteh Dumpsite are definitely beginning to become an eye sore. The blame game is over. Activists were blamed for keeping the gates of the dumpsite closed and thus leaving the council helpless.
On the other hand, those who expressed concern had indicated that the state made promises which they did not fulfill. Now that the state has opened the dumpsite the concerned residents of the area are displaying the wait and see game.
It is left to those responsible for waste management to take a proactive stand in developing ways and means of developing the waste at the site.
There is no doubt that if the waste is left unmanaged, the odour, the flies and the smoke which could disturb the lives of the residents in the area would continue as before. Foroyaa would repeat again that it would be a great shame to display all that force to open the dumpsite only to fail to make maximum effort to manage the waste so that it does not have ill effects on the lives of the residents of the area.
||Posted - 21 Jul 2017 : 14:24:40
An explanation from the K.M.C. :
The chief executive officer (CEO) of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), Pa Kalifa Sanyang, has stated that his council had never received a single butut from the 2.3 million Euros project that it signed with an Italian company on behalf of the government in 2015.
The council’s CEO made this disclosure on Thursday morning in a Daily Observer interview at his office, at KMC. According to CEO Sanyang, the KMC signed a contract with Italian company on behalf of the government of The Gambia, which came in a form where the KMC was never involved in any negotiation or any contractual agreement.
“The only time that we were exposed to this was when I received a letter from the Office of the President during the former regime that I should sign a particular contract on behalf of The Gambia government and without delay. It was an executive directive, so the company came here with the National Road Authority (NRA) and we signed the contract. The NRA supposed to be the supervisory body and the KMC supposed to be the beneficiary institution on behalf of the community,” hae noted.
Mr. Sanyang added that couple of days after the signing of the contract, they went to the Bakoteh dumpsite and handed over the site to them as they do in any contract with all the expectations that this beautiful project would come to be, “but to our dismay several months after the signing there was no sign of the company.”
“I must emphasise that not a single penny. I repeat not a single penny was ever remitted to the KMC in respect of this particular contract,” he said, noting that at some point, he even wrote to the Office of the President to enquire from them that after several months after the signing, they have not heard from contractors and that he was in constant communication with the NRA and they also have similar concern. “We have arranged for so many meetings with the contractors but they never appear,” he revealed.
CEO Pa Sanyang stated that they have clearly mapped out a five years waste management plan for the municipality, saying as part of that plan, they have generated a comprehensive budget proposal for the complete rehabilitation of the Bakoteh Dumpsite into a sanitary land field which should be equipped with incinerators for modern days waste management standard.
According to him, they are talking with the government and some development partners seeking means of getting assistance to conduct that project.
by Momodou Jawo
||Posted - 15 Jul 2017 : 22:16:49
This posting from APRIL 2017 is of interest to the NATIONAL Assembly's debate currently taking place
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