By Mariama Marong
A representative of NAWEC and other stakeholders on Friday, 8 August held talks with women protesters in Bundung to resolve the shortage of water in the community.
The women of Bundung have been calling on Gambia Government through it’s company, NAWEC, to provide them water. The town, Bundung is a heterogeneous settlement comprising two local government areas. It is surrounded by Serrekunda, London Corner, Bakoteh, Sukuta, Latrikunda and Tallinding. It has a National Assembly seat in their name.
The community interface, which was held at Bundung Six Junction, brought together Bundungka Kunda NAM Hon. Sulayman Jammeh, a representative of the managing director of NAWEC, the Ward Councilors for Bundung Borehole, Bantaba Ward and Bundung Six Junction Ward, together with the various women groups of Bundung.
Buba Badjie, who spoke on behalf of the director of the National Water and Electricity Company Limited (NAWEC), informed the gathering that they are working very hard to put a definitive end to the water shortage at Bundung. He said the company intends to provide services to every citizen, including the residents of Bundung, but noted that Bundung is not the only affected community in the country. He said water is very crucial in the lives of human beings and all Nawec customers have a right to access water at any time of the day.
“We are making plans to address the challenge and we shall provide adequate water supply as soon as possible to the people of Bundung and all other affected areas because this is what we owe you as your National Utility Company,” Badjie said, adding that NAWEC is fully aware of the situation of Bundung residents and all other affected areas. However, he urged the people to exercise patience during these difficult times as they work toward addressing the problem.
On his part, Hon. Sulayman Jammeh, the National Assembly Member for Bundung Ka Kunda dilated on the importance of water for human existence and commended the women for expressing their plight to the presidency in a peaceful manner. He further noted that Bundung as a community within the KM region should not lack water for months, calling on NAWEC to adjust to provide water for the people.
“We have provided enough community stand pipes but still people are not getting water. I really do not know where the problem lies. Even as your representative, I do not have a NAWEC water supply in my compound. What I have is a borehole which is serving my immediate surroundings, which does not reach many people,” he said, noting that due to the water challenges within Bundung, many homes have dug boreholes to ease these challenges.
Hon. Jammeh pledges that he would provide more boreholes within strategic locations in his constituency to ease the water challenges for all those who have been marginalized by what he described as an “unfair and unjust treatment by NAWEC”.
The Councilor for Bundung Borehole Ward Lamin Darboe said the water crisis should be addressed with urgency because people cannot live without water.
“Women are exercising their rights, and they should be applauded for this great move because it is high time the Government knows their constraints,” he revealed.
He said his ward residents are the most affected by the water challenges and called for an immediate response to address the matter.
Mr. Darboe promised that he would work with the National Assembly member for the area to ensure that the problem is adequately addressed.
Joko Njie, the Ward Councilor for Bundung Bantaba expressed similar remarks and called on the company to address the water crisis in Bundung.
“Things like this water crisis should have been history by now if the Government really wants to mitigate the problems of women,” Ms Njie said.
Isatou Ceesay, a resident of Bundung dilated on the need for NAWEC to resolve the acute water shortage in Bundung as soon as possible as she called on the Government to find an immediate solution to the high usage of drugs within their community.
“Bundung, which is known for peace, has now become a haven for drug abusers, and our young children are fully engaged in the act, which is alarming,” she said.
Fatou Badjie, also a resident of Bundung, added that NAWEC should work on how to reduce their pain by providing them with a potable water supply and stop making excuses for supplies not meeting the demand of their customers. She said the water problem in Bundung has long been overdue and almost getting out of hand.
“We need action for this problem to be solved, and we want to see water flowing freely from our home taps during the day time and not when people are asleep during the night. NAWEC should know that we (customers) pay their salaries and they should deliver services as expected,” she said.
Binta Camara also conveyed that they are tired of complaining and would protest if the situation continues to persist. She warned that they would not relent until they get what they want.
One Amie Jatta said what Gambian women do to improve the welfare of people, should be recognised by all, particularly the Government and its agencies, whom she urged to speed up the efforts geared toward solving the water crisis in Bundung.