By: Jankey Touray
During her second day visit to the flood victims in Banjul, Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe on Saturday 7th August 2022 expressed her disappointment with the Banjul road contractor.
Speaking to this medium, Mayor Lowe said she is hopeful that after this, the government will consult the local authorities before taking any decision, as one cannot go to someone’s house without informing the landlord.
She said that she has called the contractor about the work at the beginning of the road project and the contractor responded that he has nothing to discuss with her, which left her disappointed. Mayor Lowe added that she later went to the Ministry and had a discussion of the project showing him that there are machines that were included in the project to be bought which has not been bought and that they also discussed that a problem will arise as there is a risk Banjul would flood which the minister told her that he will get to the matter and seeing the ministers step proves that he will get to it.
“The people who say the custodians of the project is the Banjul City Council, you cannot say the Banjul city council is not among and then if Rohey Malick Lowe starts to talk you got angry and say that she is always in a position to talk back at critics. One thing is that being a woman among men, running a city and people looking down on you is hard. So, to the people saying I talk back at people, I do not have that time because I have a city to run and my people need me and I cannot sit back without saying or doing anything.” Said, Mayor Lowe.
Speaking further, the Banjul mayor went on to say she has never taken credit from the Central Government to say she is the one rehabilitating the Banjul roads, however, roads the Council has worked on are the ones she always speaks about for future reference, adding that if you are a politician and you want to just keep quiet, then you should leave politics because people cannot vote for you and you remain silent while they are suffering and dying.
She went on to say there should be a steering committee in every project, just like the EU project where they have a steering committee to oversee the work; adding that, she had formed a shadow Steering Committee who were also engineers and elders of Banjul to help guide the project. However, they wrote to her that the project was none of her business, which leads to the flood in Banjul, she claimed.
“If I were in the position of the President, I would have called the contractor, Council, and the Mayor and told them this is how I want to work from now on, but they are the only ones who know what they are hiding and that is none of my business. My only interest is for them to show me a project document, which is what I have been asking them for because that is what will tell how many roads are to be built, how many centimetres, who the technician are, the supervision, and the one surveying the project with the sketch plans and so on which they denied me access, why?”
She emphasized that what is painful serving as a mayor to almost the end of your tenure and you still cannot access a project document that was built under your term. She said when the project started some people were against her and discerning her views of the project, which led them to where they are today, indicating it was politicized.
She said collective responsibility is essential in running a nation. Arguing that there was a lot of money spent on the project and that people were not expecting floods in the Capital.
Responding to opinions that there should have been a method put into place by the Council to avoid flooding before it happens, the mayor said when the project came it was spelt out that drainage, sewage, and road construction were all packaged and given to one person and that person is not part of the Council. “What do they want the council to do?” she asked.
She explained that she cannot give out a token that she does not have for quick disaster response and that she has gone through the right protocols to tell the President her findings. She said she is not in direct contact with the President and she cannot force herself to have direct contact with the President as the President gave his direct contact to those he wishes.