Human Rights News Politics

Open letter to Yankuba Darboe, Chairman-elect of the Brikama Area Council

Dear Yankuba Darboe, the Chairman-elect of the Brikama Area Council

As you get poised to assume the mantle of Brikama Area Council, I would like to first and foremost extend my heartfelt congratulations on winning the trust of West Coast Region residents who have given you a massive mandate in the recently concluded Mayoral and Chairmanship elections hoping that you are the right person to live up to their aspirations. West Coasitans are looking up to you to transform their region, which has been on the periphery for a long time.

During elections, politicians make all kinds of promises to the people of the West Coast, only for them to realize that those promises are meant to win votes. Questions have been raised about the viability of the Brikama Area Council, which continues to collect taxes without impacting the lives of the people the Council is supposed to serve. The masses have been wondering where the tax money ends up. Though Brikama is a major settlement and probably the most populous town in The Gambia and the largest city in the West Coast region, it is the country’s most neglected, backward and underdeveloped. You only need to visit Brikama during the rainy season to corroborate this claim. Brikama market, in particular, though it serves as a provincial market, is plagued with dirt, filth and foul smell. Essential services are lacking. You cannot find even a decent restaurant in the town. Many streets in the West Coast are impassable and narrow.

The drainage system is either dilapidated or literally non-existent. Proper waste management is lacking. Vendors who pay taxes on a daily basis barely find space for their produce, coupled with a lack of storage toilet facilities. Mr. Chairman-elect, I would like to remind you that in 2019, the OccupyBAC activists gathered to express their resentment and frustration with the state of affairs. The protesters were simply demanding that BAC deliver.

However, as usual, they were met by force by the paramilitary forces. The protesters were rounded up with some sustaining injuries. They were arrested because the police denied them permission. The protesters have argued that they did not require a permit since no public address system would be used. Mr. Chairman-elect, History shall never forgive you if you fail West Coastians who pinned their hopes on you as a man with a track record of hard work, integrity and honesty.

During one of your interviews before the elections, you said you are ready to change people if they don’t want to. People are habitually resistant to change, so you must use your mandate to change them, or you are doomed. Expectations are astronomical . As such, come up with innovative ways of collecting taxes and using them judiciously and purposefully. In the process, you will be fought, too and nail, so fight back and keep the interest of your voters at heart. Take off your partisan hat and remember that you now serve everyone in West Coast. Deliver to the best of your ability, without fear or favour, and history will eternalise your legacy as the fist young reformist chairman of BAC. As a West Coast native, I wish you a successful tenure in office!

Basidia M Drammeh

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