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Oct 20, 2016, 10:16 AM
The newly-elected mayor of Banjul, Abdoulie Bah, has vowed to transform the capital city during his tenure by devoting his time on the pressing challenges facing the city.
Lie Bah, as he is widely called, was speaking yesterday during his swearing in alongside nine elected councillors and three nominated councillors for the Banjul City Council, BCC.
The ceremony was held at the BCC conference hall presided over by Momodou Aki Bayo, Minister for Regional Government and Lands.
Mayor Bah, who once served as a councillor for Campama ward from 1987 to 1994, stunned the whole country when he defeated former mayor Samba Faal, after polling a total of 4980 votes as an independent candidate, against Samba Faal’s 3811 votes in the Local Government Election held on 4th April 2013.
Addressing hundreds of his supporters after taking the oath of office, Mayor Bah said Banjul is indeed at a defining moment and, as a patriotic citizen of Banjul, he is determined to bring about unity, patriotism and voluntarism, and to vehemently struggle against retrogressive tendencies and all other ills that threaten the peace, unity and progress of the city.
According to him, he would work towards the rehabilitation of roads, and put in place a proper drainage system in Banjul; establish a mechanism for proper use of taxes; launch an audit to determine how the resources generated from taxes were used, among others.
‘I would also create, during my tenure, a forum for dialogue within Banjul; launch a proper garbage collection system in the city; strengthen sports organisations in the city; and promote a vibrant local and regional economy to stimulate job opportunities for youths,’ he stated.
“I am committed to bringing the diverse people of Banjul into one strong and sustainable community, and determined to stay focused on core values and on the strategic priorities that will make the city stronger and sustainable,” Mayor Bah emphasized.
He commended President Yahya Jammeh for creating the enabling environment, and for the unflinching support he continues to render to the people of Banjul.
Momodou Aki Bayo, minister for Regional Government and Lands, welcomed the newly-elected mayor and the elected councilors, citing the new task ahead of them and assured them of his ministry’s readiness to work with them.
According to him, President Jammeh and the entire government accepted the election results and respect the voice of the people of Banjul.
‘Consequently, we wish to assure the new mayor and his team that the government will support and work with them by responding to the needs and aspirations of Banjulians; after all Banjul is the capital city of the entire Gambia and, therefore it is incumbent upon all Gambians to take interest in the welfare of the city,’ Minister Bayo stated.
He added that as far as his ministry was concerned, they have an open door policy, and the new councillors can count on them for guidance at all times.
‘The elections are over and you are all Banjulians; you have a common objective and common destiny. You have to be united and see Banjul and nowhere else. This is the desire of President Jammeh, who is also a resident of Banjul and, therefore, interested in seeing people of Banjul in unity,’ Bayo stated.
Alhagie Mbye Chaw, outgoing chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the Banjul City Council, said despite the challenges given the short duration of their mandate (three months) and magnitude of the task before them, they were able to register a breakthrough, even though modest but crucial.
According to him, during this period, the committee focused on three main areas of intervention, namely environmental sanitation, electricity supply for street lights and the financial health of the council.
‘This was jointly conceived and implemented with the management of the cleansing services, and according to feedback we received, this has resulted in the marked improvement of the general cleanliness of the city,’ he stated.
He noted that the interim management committee mindful of the indispensable and fundamental role of both financial and human resources in the delivery of quality essential services and its sustainability, relentlessly invested time and effort to the best their abilities in ensuring the financial health of council.
He used the opportunity to welcome the new breed of councillors and the mayor, and assured them of their support.
After taking the oath of office, councillors unanimously elected Aji Awa Sillah-Njie as the deputy mayor of the Banjul City Council unopposed.
The ceremony was moderated by Dawda Jones public relations officer at the Banjul City Council, while Mustapha Batchilly, Chief Executive Officer of the Banjul City Council, administered the oaths.