The Mayor of the Kanifing Municipality Yankuba Colley has accused the supporters of the Coalition government led United Democratic Party (UDP) of littering the premises of his Municipal Council after he Colley, was part of a community group, cleaning the vicinity of the Serre-Kunda market on Saturday, the Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mr. Colley said the disgruntled UDP supporters were wearing the party’s yellow color t shirt at the time of the incident. Couple of trucks were filled with garbage waste and dumped in front of the Mayor’s office allegedly by the UDP supporters in protest of the poor environmental sanitation at the Serre-Kunda market. Mr. Colley tells Freedom Radio Gambia, in an interview that the conduct of the UDP supporters was not only illegal, but reprehensible. He wants the police to press charges against the offenders.
“ While entering the KMC offices, I saw a truck filled with trash and was dumped into the premises. The UDP supporters were behind the littering. They said they wanted to register their dissatisfaction against the situation of environmental sanitation at the Serre-Kunda market. We were all at the cleansing exercise; cleaning the market and its surrounding areas. To my surprise, they decided to dump the collected waste to the Council premises. Well, this is not the way for one to register his, or her resentment against the Council. They have broken the law and should face justice,” Colley said.
“The Inspector General of police came to me and asked me, if I would want to press charges against the accused person, and I replied in the affirmative. I want charges to be pressed against them. They have committed littering,” Colley added.
Mr. Colley’s allegations against the UDP supporters of littering the environment could not be independently verified. The UDP leadership could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Colley said the opposition environmental vigilantes even called for his resignation. Although, he says he has no intention of resigning before his term ends in December of this year.
“I am not going to resign. The people of KMC voted me into office in a democratic election. I see no reason why I should resign. I am not going to run for public office once my term expires in December,” Colley remarked.
Regarding the high piles of waste around the Serre-Kunda market, Mayor Colley said Council is doing its very best to keep the municipality clean. He blames the problem to lack of waste disposal site.
“We have been stopped from using the Bakoteh dumping site. This is the only waste dumping site in the locality. The ban didn’t come from the government. Some residents of the area protested that they wouldn’t want the site to be used for waste dumping. We have since relocated to Banjul, next to the prison; that’s where we dump our collected trash,” he said.
Mr. Colley said he is personally worried about the situation of law and order in the country. He says some people are in the business of enforcing the law in their communities without police sanctioning.
“What is happening in this country is worrisome to say the least. Imagine, a given community stopping the KMC from using the Bakoteh dumping site, without government’s approval? We have been using that site for years, but now some citizens have decided to stop us,” he lamented.
Mr. Colley also says some of the criticism levelled against the KMC, is biased and unjustifiable. He said Council workers are using the meager resources at their disposal to collect garbage in the area.
“I am one of the poorest Mayors in the world. I have nothing. I am working for my council wholeheartedly and yet some folks are busy crucifying us daily in day out. We were audited recently, and the books were in tack,” he said.
Tukulorr Sey, a Gambian American based in the United States, phoned in during the show to confront Mayor Colley. She told Mr. Colley that he and his Council have woefully failed the people of KMC—given the scattered trash all over the market and elsewhere around the regional town. She said Colley should consider resigning or else, he might be asked to step down by environmentalists, including concerned citizens. Ms. Sey said Gambians cannot continue to wait for Mayor Colley to stay on the job until his term ends in December.
“You should just pack and leave. You have nothing to offer to the people of KMC. Your Council’s inability to keep the KMC clean and environmentally friendly goes to show your gross inept to run that Council,” said Ms. Sey.
Ms. Sey said no law would be broken by asking the Mayor to resign. She said common sense dictates that if Colley cannot deliver the goods, he should just honourably resign from his job.
Political activist Pa Samba Jaw supported Ms. Sey’s call for Colley’s resignation. He applauded the environmental activists for their courageous move for littering the Mayor’s office.
“ I want to commend them for dumping the waste at Mayor Colley’s office. This will serve as a lesson to Colley and his cohorts that poor sanitation should not be condoned. People are paying taxes to the Council, and one would wonder where are they spending the money that they collect from the market,” Jaw said.
Mr. Colley told Freedom Radio that the council is inhabitable at this time due to the waste dumped at the premises. He said by Sunday, they will collect the trash.
Pa Samba Jaw said Colley’s statement goes to show that Colley is only after the environmental sanitation of the Council and not the residents. He said he is monitoring the situation to see if Colley will collect the trash on Sunday.
Mr. Jaw said Gambians should stop paying taxes to municipalities if services are not delivered to them. “No taxation, without representation. People should stop paying taxes to the KMC since they are no collecting waste in their localities,” he said.
A caller from the UK, who goes with the name Jankaywalley, said what’s happening in the Gambia amounts to selective justice. He referenced the Kanilai incident, in which protesters were shot at; and detained, while no one has been arrested so far in connection with the KMC littering case.