As Local Gov’t Polls Draw Nigh
Expectations are riding high among many residents of Banjul as both the electorate and candidates brace up for the oncoming local government elections in the country.
With barely a fortnight to go before the much-awaited polls, this paper went out and about Banjul to sample the views of Banjulians and, if the views expressed are any guide, dwellers of the island city look set to be very cautious with their voting pattern.
“We need a candidate who has all it takes for such a position of trust like Mayor. The people of Banjul need a candidate who has the mettle, caliber and timbre to preside over the affairs of the city council. A functional and more responsive council is what we need,” said Harry Johnson, a senior citizen of Banjul.
“We need a council that would help in the enhancement of the quality of lives of Banjulians. We need a mayor that would conduct the affairs of the council in a non-partisan manner; a mayor who would make Banjul favorably comparable to other cities across the world. This is why it is all the more prudent for the people of Banjul to be cautious with the way they vote in the forth-coming elections,” added the 72-year-old Mr Johnson.
“Banjul is in a sorry and dismal state. I sometime wonder what the people at the town hall are doing. Why do we have to suffer from problems of streetlights, poor drainage systems and many more inadequacies? We need gutters and the existing ones are in need of rehabilitation,” said a 42-year-old lady who spoke to this paper on condition of anonymity.
Sheikh Faal, a youth, told this paper that the time has now come for the youth of Banjul to make a wise decision. “Youths need to be very prudent with regard to their choice of candidate. The present state of affairs in Banjul is neither admirable nor enviable. We need amenities and for them to be provided, the right man must be elected. We want our tax and rates to be more judiciously managed and this cannot be done if the right man is not elected,” he observed.
Meanwhile many residents who spoke to this medium pointed out that they would vote for a personality who would provide them public toilets, taps, a good road network, spacious markets and other utilities.
However, just as others are upbeat about the forthcoming elections, some are apprehensive and cautiously optimistic.
A senior civil servant summed up his view thus:“ There is no wisdom in voting in a person who could be removed at any point in time. If the National Assembly can pass a law that could empower the President to remove any head of a local authority and others, then what is the point in going to the polls. Power of the people should always assert itself but this single action of the members of the legislative body is enough to dampen spirits vis-à-vis the fast-approaching elections.”