By Mariama Marong
Women living in Bundung-Ka Kunda Constituency have informed this medium that they will protest against the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) for not supplying them with water for a couple of weeks now.
The residents threaten to take to the streets on Saturday, September 2 if nothing is done to alleviate the situation.
Mrs BintaCamara, a resident of Bundung Six Junction Bantaba Ward, said they will come out to showcase their discontent against the authorities and the company in charge of water supply (NAWEC).
“We are protesting on Saturday because our rights have been violated and our freedom to have access to good drinking water is also violated,” she added.
Madam Camara said their situation is worse than before as they have not had a single drop of water from the NAWEC Taps for more than two months, noting that the only place they access water from is at Nusrat Senior Secondary School, which she said is not accessible at all times.
“All Women in Bundung Central are suffering due to lack of water. We are going to face our representative Sulayman Jammeh, National Assembly Member for Bundung-Ka Kunda, and we will tell him about our concern and ask him what he can do to address our water challenges. We will come together as women and we will approach Sulayman because he is our mouthpiece.”
She lamented that accessing water is a challenge for them and market prices are hiked; adding that there are no good roads in Bundung. “Aren’t we part of Kanifing Municipality (KM) or even the Gambia, why is our case different from the rest? What have we done to deserve such bad treatment?” she angrily quizzed.
Fatoumatta Trawally, also a resident of Bundung who is in her 50s, decried that she and the children endure huge challenges in fetching water from long distances.
“We have been living with this condition for more than three decades or even more, but the situation has gotten worse now.
“NAWEC alone is not to blame, but the state as well because the government has heard about our challenges but turned a deaf ear to our problems,” Trawally added.
Another complainant, Isatou Ceesay, also residing in the same place, expressed similar sentiments. However, she said their right to access clean drinking water is constantly violated by the authorities and NAWEC and that they can’t withstand it anymore.
“We have to put an end to this injustice that we are faced with, why can’t our kids have the same privilege as other kids in the Gambia or better still in KM? Why do our children have to struggle for water before going to school, and after school as well, these difficulties have to stop because not everyone has the means to dig boreholes in their compounds,” she decries.
She highlighted that they have to hold their representatives and government officials accountable. “We have been suffering for decades now; we need a permanent solution to our water crises,” she said.
She urged the Gambia Government to address these water challenges that the people of Bundung Central are confronted with.
Mr MomodouTrawally, a community elder and compound head at Bundung Six Junction, lamented that women are not the only ones suffering from lack of water, describing the situation of Bundung Central as disheartening and alleged lack of proper representation.
“I have not had a single drop of water from my Tap in my compound for over a month, and just recently, NAWEC brought a bill amounting to three thousand five hundred Dalasi, and when I went to their headquarters, they claimed that it was a mistake. I have not accessed water for months and they have not made a mistake in bringing water, but made a mistake in making the bill high even though I have not benefited from their service. We have been denied our fundamental human rights,” he said.
Mr Trawally said he is in support of the planned demonstration the women of the area plan to stage because their rights have been violated, and as taxpayers, they are demanding action to remedy the situation.
“How can we even practice our religious obligations in the absence of water, why are we denied our right to bath, drink and clean ourselves?” he inquired.
Jainaba Jabbi, commonly called Mba-gaye, said they have taps in their compounds but there has been no single drop of water coming out from them.
She lamented: “Our school-going children have to wake up early in the morning in search of water to drink or take a bath because all parents and children are in this difficult situation.”
“We cannot live without water, we need it for our day-to-day activities and it is injustice for the Barrow-led administration to turn a blind eye to our problem. Women are more affected by this problem. We are going out on Saturday to protest against the injustice that is happening here and our first place will be at our NAM’s residence. We want Sulayman Jammeh to ask NAWEC why they are depriving us of water.”
Mrs NyimaHydara, a 25-year-old lady and a resident of Bundung Six Junction, alleged the government is aware of the situation, but failed to address it based on political reasons.
“This is not about any Political Party; this is about people of different political Ideologies wanting to address a common problem that is affecting both the young and old.”
She noted that First Lady Fatoumatta–Barrow launched the access to water program in the country, but said they forgot about Bundung which has been isolated for a very long time.
Miss Hydara emphasised that NAWEC officials should all resign from their positions because they have failed the people of Bundung.