By Adama Tine
The mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) Talib Ahmed Bensouda came into office to make the council a more service driven institution with motivated staff who have the capacity to deliver services over and beyond the expectations of the people three years ago in May 2018.
In a statement issued over the weekend to observe his three years anniversary, Mayor Bensouda said the council made tremendous efforts over the years to make sure KMC is a more liveable municipality as its slogan states: “we want to live a better KM than the one we found”.
He disclosed that the council has engaged in disaster mitigation exercises to ensure there is no flooding during the rainy season as well as extort in routine cleaning exercises to ensure a more clean and conducive environment. He said the council also engaged in many beautification projects, upgrading of parks and recreation facilities of the community as well as invested tremendously in the waste management capacity of the council.
As waste management has been one of the burning issues of the Gambia for decades, Mayor Bensouda said KMC came about the unprecedented “Mbaliit Project”. The project he said is to ensure that 500 tons of waste within KM which goes towards gutters, riverside areas or dumped indiscriminately in the communities is all collected and taken to the dump site. He said KMC has also striven to ensure illegal dumps disappears by not only clearing them but putting skip bins that ensure those looking for illegal dumps find a place to put the waste.
Mayor Bensouda added that the KMC has also invested significantly in waste processing by ensuring that the Bakoteh Dump site has a perimeter wall and ensuring that infrastructure is put in place to better manage the waste.
Beyond the Mbaliit Project, which boasts of 20 compacted trucks, four support trucks, eight skip bins and 100 staff, he said the KMC has invested significantly in its strict cleaning capacity as their sanitation unit now boasts of over 200 staff with over 10 trucks of their own and over 20 tricycles.
Mayor Bensouda said the sanitation staff operate very early in the mornings and late at night to ensure residents of the municipality wake up to a clean and conducive environment.
“The most valuable resource in our community is our people, as a result, we have therefore invested significantly in women and youth through youth initiatives led by the youth councilor and the women initiatives led by the women’s councilor,” Bensouda revealed.
In that regard, he said KMC has ensured that the council projects find their way to youth and women to ensure they receive the vital resources they need to develop themselves and the municipality. He said KMC also initiated the “TUK TUK” to ensure the youth have an opportunity within the transport sector.
According to Bensouda, the council is also working on reviving all the council’s community centers to bring about more parks as well as the first municipal library within the municipality.
The council, he went on, has brought about micro-finance facilities to the tune of D20 million which will enable the youth to borrow on a revolving bases to grow their businesses.
For women within the municipality, whom he said are the backbone of the community, Bensouda revealed that the council has initiated a D100 million women empowerment fund on a revolving bases to enable women’s groups grow their businesses and ensure that they can provide for their families.
Mayor Bensouda noted that the council also supports women in business and invest in market infrastructure and they have expanded eight markets.He said in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, the council came up with initiatives to stop the spread by helping communities and supporting them with food aid and other income generating measures.
Considering the fact that 25% of the Gambian population are living within the Kanifing Municipality and hosting most of the major businesses within the Gambia, Bensouda pointed out that KMC is the commercial and tourism hub of the Gambia.
“KMC as the heartbeat of the Gambia and melting pot with all ethnic groups living harmoniously together, the council has striven to make KMC even better by ensuring the adoption of a mantra dubbed ‘KMC For You and a KMC For You By You,” he concluded.