‘Blatant Abuse of Authority’- UDP Accuses Local Government Minister

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By: Christian Conteh

Gambia’s main opposition the United Democratic Party (UDP) has accused the Minister of Local Government and Lands of blatant abuse of authority. This is in direct response to the minister’s decision to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of corruption at the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC).

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The party holds the view that the minister’s action is not only politically motivated but vindictive against the person of Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda.

“The United Democratic Party advocates for open governance and the reduction of the incidence of corruption at all levels of government in The Gambia. However, the actions of the Minister are not only politically motivated but vindictive against the person of Mayor Talib Bensouda,” a statement from the party’s secretariat read.

It could be recalled that KMC under the leadership of Mayor Bensouda lodged a complaint against the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KMC on allegations of graft and corruption several months ago.

UDP notes that instead of mounting an investigation into the matter the minister demanded the return of the CEO to work with armed police officers escorting her to the council premises.

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“In the absence of a strong Local Government Act, UDP expected the unelected Minister to use best governance practice to defend the rights of the citizen of the municipality that elected the mayor rather than usurping the rights of the citizens of KMC by wilfully going against the resolution of the council,” the UDP statement states.

The party further claims that the actions of the Minister have political undertones that aim at using instruments of the state to derail Mayor Bensouda’s bid for re-election.

The United Democratic Party used the opportunity to commend the mayor for what they think is a good work over three years in terms of revenue mobilization, sanitation, rehabilitation of Bakoteh Dump Site and google mapping of the municipality among others whilst reassuring Mayor Bensouda of their unflinching and unreserved support now and in the future.

“The National Executive of the United Democratic Party will be following with keen interest the developments emanating out of the establishment of this Commission and will institute necessary remedial actions if there is any attempt to thwart the rule law.”

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