By Amie Sanneh
We have been publishing a summary of the stories that we published in 2015. We continue to summarise stories relating to the provision of services by public bodies. It is important to note that public service is not a privilege but a right enshrined in the Constitution. Indeed section 26(c) of the Constitution stipulates that every citizen of The Gambia has the right to have access to public service in The Gambia.
APPLICANTS COMPLAIN ABOUT NON-ISSUANCE OF ID CARDS
In early July 2015 Foroyaa published complaints from the members of the public concerning the non-issuance of national identity cards (ID) to applicants for the two months in some places.
Alh.Cherno Ass Jagne, one of the affected applicants, showed his receipt of payment of D220 which was dated 2nd April 2015.
“After submitting my application with all the necessary documents on April 2, I was asked to collect it after six weeks. When I returned after this period, I was asked to come back the following week and that every time I go there they would ask me to come again until I finally told them that to contact me to come for it whenever it is ready,” explained Mr.Jagne.
Another complainant, OusmanNjie, explained that the Immigration officials at the GAMBIS ID Card issuing office in Kanifing had even refused to take his application and payment. He said they told him that they are not issuing the ID Cards now.
In fact this situation continued till the end of 2015.
VAN DRIVERS CALL FOR REHABILITATION OF BANJUL ROADS
The commercial drivers of passenger vans did call again to the authorities to help during the rainy season to rehabilitate Primet Street, their main access route to the capital city, in order to prolong the lifespan of their vehicles.
This appeal was made in an interview with some drivers after the heavy downpour during the rainy season.
A van driver complained that it is always very difficult for him to enter Banjul when it rains as the roads, especially Primet Street, submerge in water and thus making it dangerous to navigate one’s way. “It is unmotorable when it rains,” he said.
He said the Banjul garage committee has been coming up with temporal measures such as filling the large craters and potholes in the street with stones and broken cement block pieces.
“We are appealing to the City Council to help in leveling Primet Street and some areas at the car park in order to eliminate the potholes and stagnant water and save our vehicles,” he said.
Omar Ceesay, the president of the car park committee, said their main worry is during the rainy season when some parts of the car park are virtually inaccessible because of the stagnant water.
When the concerns of the drivers were raised with the Mr. Abdoulie Bah, the Mayor of Banjul, he said that they have plans to address them, adding that the Council is also working hand in hand with the works ministry to ensure that there is a lasting solution for Primet Street.
BANJUL SEWAGE, ROADS NEED URGENT ATTENTION FROM GOVERNMENT
MuhammedNdow, a resident of the capital city of Banjul, called on the Gambia Government to address the deplorable state of the sewage system and major roads which, he said, need urgent attention to make life and movement easy for both the inhabitants and visitors alike.
He said these two issues are of major concern to the people living in Banjul but that because of the “culture of silence, we are not speaking up for them to be addressed”.
On the sewage, he said the system is in bad state and often releases waste water onto the streets which emits unbearable stench and poses a threat to the health of the people.
He added that in addition to the unimpressive physical appearance of the country’s capital city, the poor condition of the roads also affect economic activity and the free movement of people.
He also talked about the muddiness of the main streets such as Primet Street and the unfinished works at Box Road which, he said, has been under construction for many years now.
NEMAKUNKU RESIDENTS DECLARE ROAD CONDITIONS A ‘STATE OF EMERGENCY’
The disturbed residents of Nemakunku, a settlement in Kombo North District, West Coast Region, have lamented their poor road conditions for commercial vehicles to have access to transport passengers when it rains.
They have urgently called on the government and relevant stakeholders to come to their rescue. When heavy rain falls, the terrible road conditions make it seemingly impossible for not just passers-by and taxies but even bigger vehicles like vans to use the road. This situation prompted the commuters of the area to raise up their voice and seek for any form of assistance in order to make transportation easy for the residents especially women and children. It affects mainly residents from JolaKunda, Koign Bi, NemaMisira and Nemasu (the new settlement between Nemakunku and Sukuta).
MariamaKujabi, believed to be in her 50s, told this paper that rainy season who she sells vegetables at the Latrikunda Market said vehicles used to run until 9pm but that now that has changed as they stop working as soon as it rains. She said that even though the place she lives is very far from the market and her load is very sometimes, “I load it on my head and walk up to my home,” she narrated.
One ModouLaminDaffeh, a classroom teacher, expressed how difficult is it to go to school in the morning when it rains at night. He said on certain areas, water levels sometimes rise as high as one meters. “As a result of this, only able bodied men and women can easily cross this. It is very dangerous for children, older men and women or pregnant women as certain portions of the roads are water ways and that the running water flows turbulently sometimes,” he sadly said.
Lamin F.S Drammeh, a youth leader, said “The road conditions of Nema are in a state of emergency. When heavy rain falls, there is no way that one can have an easy access out. Imagine what will happen if a pregnant women is badly in need of urgent medical attention and there is no vehicle around? Even to have a town trip is a problem. Drivers usually charge an unreasonable amount of money banking on the fact that they may get stuck and stranded on the way,” he said.