By: Kebba AF Touray
John Charles Njie, the Chairperson of the Association of Non-Governmental Organization (TANGO), has said that corruption must not be encouraged in any way and in any form.
He said this during the KMC’s general meeting, which brought together stakeholders, the council and the mayor to a discuss the way forward in the council’s D12 million case which brought misunderstanding between KMC and the Local Government Ministry.
“Our position has always been to ensure the rule of law is followed to the letter. Let us know the facts and what the law says and then move forward in advocating that the right thing is done,” he said.
Njie said the fight against corruption must be a fight that every Gambian must take seriously and that as civil society, they stand with any institution that stands against corruption. He appealed to all the parties to comply with the investigations and allow due process to take its due course and implored all the parties to have course for redress.
Mr. Salieu Taal, President Gambia Bar Association, said in line with their duty as Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), they thought it was important to get and ascertain all the facts and information and do their utmost to contribute to resoling the process in the interest of ensuring accountability, respect for rule of law and good governance.
“In our engagement with the Minister (Lands), we discussed the issue of the PIU and he informed us that it was not his instruction or the executive, who deployed the PIU Officials. We reminded and advised the Minister, that whatever dispute there maybe, in terms of who has what power, between the KMC, Public Service Commission and the Council and that matter should be solved in accordance with the law and due process,” he said.
Taal said the Minister told them that he (Minister) will continue to engage the KMC on the basis of the powers vested in them on the Local Government Act. He said after meeting with the minister, they also met with Mayor Bensouda and the Council and reiterated their concerns to them as well as sought the view of the mayor during which he gave them a detailed explanation on his position and that of the council.
Taal appealed to all parties to resolve the differences and disputes with decorum, respect and in line with the law.
“Anybody who feels that perhaps your rights have been violated, there is a place to go to resolve that dispute and that is the court,” he told the aggrieved parties on all sides.
He expressed his belief that the council will continue with their investigations into the matter- looking at all the facts impartially- to ensure that there is accountability, due process and respect for law,” he told the gathering.
Mai Ahmed Fatty, leader of Gambia Moral Congress, said procedures should be followed to resolve the crisis.
Photo: Mai Ahmed Fatty
“There are legal procedures and administrative processes and procedures that could effectively handle this apparent fiasco. But when politics supersedes national interest, it is myopia that triumphs over vision,” he said.
Fatty said every meaningful Gambian should stand with the people of the KMC, adding that the matter is not a partisan conflict between political parties, but a neutral ground where all the political interests are represented among the residents of KMC.
“At crux of this matter is allegations of corruption and we must tackle corruption at its root. When there are significant allegations against any public officer, not only law but morality demand that you recuse yourself from the seat and the environment in order to allow an impartial atmosphere, that will enable the investigators to reach at a conclusion that is fair and just to all parties concerned,” he said.
Fatty urged the KMC to continue on the part of law, principle and administrative justice. He also urged the state not to overreach its hands in the matter, adding that there are laws in the country which can be used to peacefully resolve the matter.