As Brikama Area Council plans to impose water fee charges

Brikama residents Vow to Demonstrate up to the State House!

Jobe Dumbuya Accuses President Jammeh of betraying his coup promises to the people of Brikama!

Chief Santang Bojang warns Dubuya to “Shut UP.”

By Our Correspondent Wise Man, Banjul.
Paid for and Commissioned
by the Freedom Newspaper.

Brikama was the scene for bitter quarrels and threats of a possible showdown if the Area Council should go ahead with their planned move to charge residents water fees. A controversial comment  made by one Jobe Dumbuya about President Yahya Jammeh’s betrayal of his coup promises of ending water problem in Brikama angered the local chief Santang Bojang, who warned the speaker to shut up. Addressing a well attended meeting in Brikama Mr.Dumbuya said one of the reasons advanced for the July coup was the water problem in Brikama, which resulted to a major demonstration by the residents of the area during the First Republic. To his surprise, Dumbuya said water problem still persists in Brikama and there was no indications that things would change for the better in the short term. Dumbuya who refuses to be intimidated by chief Bojang told his audience that ” Yahya  Jammeh told us that we the Brikama people necessitated the coup in 1994 because, he did not want us to buy water from the Jawara government,  which is inhumane. He also cites rampant corruption during the PPP government as a reason for the coup. How  comes that he wants us to buy water from the Council now? Dumbuya angrily asked. From that juncture chief Santa Bojang stood up and said  to Jobe Dumbuya to keep quiet, as he knows nothing. There was shouting all over the meeting from the representives. It was a complete stalemate to cut a long story short. Dumbuya who was hailed for speaking out against the system also said  the “Area council offices itself has gone without lights and water for more than two years. So how can they settle the problem in hand, if they cannot fix their lights and water problems? We will do whatever  to resist your new plan to impose water fees. We will not accept it.” Dumbuya stressed.

Mr.Dumbuya who went on the attack by accusing the Gambian leader of involving in sand mining deal charged”This very  Brikama  Area Council said Yahya Jammeh has taken charge of sand mining ,gravel mining and again the collection of taxes from the vehicles around  the Western Division, how comes that  he Yahya Jammeh expect you the Area council to pay all your debts you  are having? Dumbuya then put it to the committee that the entire  of Brikama residents were aware of what Jammeh’s government was planning, which is selling of water to its local people in the Brikama. He told the committee  that ” If  Yahya jammeh told us, we the Brikama people  inspired  the coup in 1994 was incorrect. Bojang said the residents of the area continues to live in abject poverty with little or no indication that their livelihood would change for the better under Jammeh’s watch. He deplores the Council’s open neglect  of  the people of Brikama and therefore demanded accountability in the activities of those tasked with the responsibility of collecting taxes in the name of  the locality.

His critical comments against the Jammeh leadership followed a meeting organized by the Brikama Area Council to chat a way forward on how to find a lasting solution to the current budgetary and water crisis confronted by the locality. The Council also said it wanted to discuss with  the local residents on the  mode of payment plan of debts owed to the Council by the populace. Local family heads known as “Bulanda” council of elders in Brikama were in attendance at the meeting. The council elders headed by chief Bojang recommended at the meeting to come up with water fees, which never went down well with the inhabitants.

During the meeting, a senior official of the Council Serign Modou said the Brikama Area Council has a debt of of D12Million dalasis. Such unpaid debts said Serign Modou, was hampering the Council’s development al activities. The Council he went on, was required to pay over D300,000 dalasis each month to service the new street lights provided by NAWEC, a major electricity company in the Gambia.Serign Modou said NAWEC has been mounting pressure on them to settle the unpaid debts. As a result of such pressure, he continued, they deem  it imperative to convene such a meeting to discuss the matter with the residents of the area. The meeting was convened at the residence of the Kombo Central chief Santang Bojang  and was attended by “Kabilos”, Council officials and the Freedom Newspaper roving correspondent Wise Man. It was agreed that residents who use public taps would from now on be paying money or otherwise they cannot have access to the said  public taps.

Shortly after the heated meeting our Correspondent spoke to the Brikama “Dunjon” group and ward groups to sound their opinions on the proposed water fee charges to be imposed by the Brikama Area Council. A Brikama youth man vowed that they would demonstrate up to the state house, if President Jammeh went ahead with the planned move to sell water to the people of the community.

Suma kunda Donjon said ” This is totally unfair. Why would the Government always want to test anything on the people of Brikama before implementing it country wide?  We would make sure that we demonstrate more than how we did in 1994, when the Jawara Government wanted to sell water in Brikama. We would rather die,  but we will not buy water in this town” For their part the Brikama Mansaring youths  said “This cannot be true. We don’t believe it. Let see if it  is going to work. Brikama  is going to be the talk of the world, if the Government wants to impose such water bill charges. Bear  Youths remarked” You see if you talk they said you are an opposition, but this is not politic. It’s beyond politics.  This is about our town. We will not accept any public tap water fees. Where did you see that in the world?” Nyambia youths are also furious with the Government’s move to impose water fees” I dont listen to rumors. Jammeh is not crazy to do that. If he allow the council to sell water,  then his time of removal into office has come”.They stressed.

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 (Archive on Monday, June 18, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

Copyright 2006 (c) Freedom Newspaper,
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