By Yankuba Jallow
President Adama Barrow while addressing the people of Kanifing Municipality on Friday July 27th in the ongoing Presidential Tour, said unlawful protests will not be tolerated in the country.
“The power and the laws that were here under the past regime, are still the same laws and power in the country. So I am warning all those people who will embark on protests, to follow the due process of the Law. Otherwise anything that happens to them, is their fault,” Barrow told the people; that for 22 years of the former regime’s iron fist rule, no one was there to challenge Jammeh’s administration; that now that he came with democracy, the people want to abuse it by embarking on unlawful protests.
“I want the people to respect the police and the rule of law, because they provide the country with security including myself as the President of the country,” he said.
Still on protests, the President told the gathering that there were some people who plotted the protest regarding the situation of electricity some time ago; that those people were just there to create havoc.
“When Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and co. protested against the former regime, where were they? When Imam Baba Leigh was arrested, where were they? When Solo Sandeng protested against the former regime, where were they? Now that I came they want to take advantage of my silence and embark on unlawful protests. They should always know that we have our laws,” he said. President Barrow continued with his promise that Serrekunda will have modern roads alongside a well-constructed drainage system with overhead bridges; that his National Development Plan has attracted a pledge of 80 billion dalasi from the Donor Conference held in Brussels, Belgium recently; that currently, KMC is supplied with 24 hours of electricity and in three years, the entire country will have adequate and sufficient supply of electricity.
Speaking at the gathering, the Mayor of KMC Talib Ahmed Bensouda, said the Municipality faces a lot of challenges; that his Council is confronted with inadequate vehicles to collect garbage.
“We spend D200,000 daily to collect waste within the Municipality. There is illegal dumping going on in the Municipality. We wrote to you Mr. President, to help us with thirty five tractors from the Commission of Inquiry, to ease our work because we will give it to our ward development committees and the tractors will collect garbage on a daily basis. We are also faced with poor drainage,” Mayor Bensouda said.
The Mayor urged the President to construct 90% of the 400 km road in his Municipality, referring to it as the heart of the nation; that there are about 500,000 inhabitants in KMC and twenty one markets.
Nominated Councilor Ibrahim Colley, urged the Executive to pass the Disability Bill to the National for it to be made into Law and requested for the disabled to be provided with a land to establish a soap making factory as a source of employment and funds for the disabled.
“We call on Government to rescue the National Rehabilitation Center, which is in a dying state. There are no more wheel chairs for the disabled and we buy them on our own. We cannot afford to buy wheel chairs on our own. The Ministry of Health is close to the Center. So I am appealing to the Minister of Health to visit and familiarise herself with the conditions at the Center,” Colley said.
In her response to the plight of the disabled, Dr. Isatou Touray, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, said her Ministry has a policy which includes disability access; that the Disability Bill will be soon passed to the National Assembly for enactment. Dr. Touray further stated that disabled persons have rights as any other person; that those rights will be adequately protected by Government.
On his part, the Minister of Agriculture Lamin N. Dibba, said agriculture in the Gambia has died and they are in a process to revive it; that almost all the sectors of his Ministry died including the Pest Management and Control Unit. “We will revamp the Agriculture sector by making mechanizing it, where we will feed ourselves adequately and export the excess,” he said.