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Time for Kombo South to Graduate to An Area Council Status as BAC Appears Incapable to Deliver

OPINION: Tuesday 25 August | Lamin E. Fatty

Time Is Ripe for Kombo South to Graduate to An Area Council Status as BAC Appears Incapable to Deliver.

A thorough examination of the political discourse within the corridors of power in the Brikama Area Council, will undoubtedly highlight the need for the mineral rich coastal Kombo to be accorded the status of an administrative region for the purpose of bringing development closer to the masses inline with the spirit of the "Local Government Act 2002".

For far too long, the revered land of Kombo South, which is not only a bread basket of the nation, but undoubtedly a mineralresource endowed, has been milked and left to be a shadow of her self with poverty, unemployment and exploitation being the order of the day.

It is not only shameful but equally sad to realized that for a district of almost 33 towns and villages with more than a hundred thousand inhabitants, there has never been a government, nor an Area Council funded tartiary institution providing either professional training or skills aprentism ; no government funded sports facility for use by the tens of thousands of sports enthusiast; no standard market that could protect the hard working innocent women from the scourge of the heating sun and rain, to provide them dignity as they struggle on daily basis to provide meal for their families.

All this embassing reality is on the backdrop of the fact that Brikama Area Council (our defacto government) receives a whopping two hundred million plus in revenue annually, mostlyfrom taxes paid by people who sacrificed their meal to fulfilled their civic duty.

As a result, I wish to call on the attention of the Independent Electoral Commission to start giving a serious consideration to this matter in anticipation of their increase powers enshrined in the 2020 draft constitution.

The matter is not cast on stone thus can be worked out in good faith relying on the provisions under section 3, 4 and 5 the of the Local Government Act 2002, which states as follows: "the Independent Electoral Commission shall seek the views of the local inhabitants of the area to be demarcated, and shall disregard any consideration of the Electoral ethnic origin of the inhabitants and shall consider factors including : (a) the density of the population; (b) geographical features;(c) the boundaries of existing Local Government Areas; and(d) economic potential".

Premised on the intent of the above clause in the act, it suffice to state that Kombo South has all it takes to flourish and sustained an economic growth as an area council especially with the substantial number of elites and enterpreneurs that the region continues to produce.

I must hasten to state to the pessimists who may doubt our ability to survive that even the Gambia in 1965 was termed by British as animprobable nation but devied the odds to not only survive but continue to grow, thanks to persevarance and faith and this is our spirit in Kombo South!.

One of the fundamental task prescribed to councils under the law that established them includes in section 61, 67, and 71 respectively,to provide quality educational facilities, effecient agricultural services and the management of our national resources, including the environment and biodiversity but it appears the Brikama AreaCouncil doesn't have anything to show in these crucil sectors.

This reality is not only a travesty to a just soceity, but a betrayal to the intent and purpose of the phosophy that creates area councils in the first place. As such, this reality must be arrested and one such way is to make Kombo South area a distinct Council of its own that can manage the resources being extracted daily from the several sand mines, revenue collected on the hundreds of canoes that dock in the area, to the precious minerals being extracted in Bato-Kunkuand other villages and the cooperate tax levied on the exploitative fish meals operating in the area etc.

This argument is not influenced by a malicious intent or prejudice towards the reputation of Brikama Area Council, but a genuine expression of a deep seated concern on the plights of a people who for decades, has been living under a gradiose State negligence and Council's inefficiency.

Section 90 (1) of the Local Government Act 2002 states that "everyCouncil shall be the planning authority for its Area and may plan and implement any programme or project for developing the infrastructure, improving social services, developing human and financial resources and for the general upliftment of the community". However, a diagnosis of the statement will give the conclusion that BAC doesn't have the pedigree  to deliver as the law mandates, even if the intention might be there and thus the urgency to look for feasible alternatives, one of which is an independent area council for the area of Kombo south.

Author: Lamin E. Fatty

Editors Note:

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