By Kebba AF Touray
The National Assembly Member for Wuli East Constituency Suwaibou Touray has ended a tour of his Constituency on Wednesday January 1st 2020 where he reached out to almost all the communities with a view to sharing and receiving information from his constituents.
Issues relating to the new draft Constitution, the 2016 Coalition crisis as well as the 2020 Appropriation Bill were discussed and clarified.
Touray told his constituents that the National Assembly established a Commission to work on their behalf and to consult the citizens within and outside the country as well as experts in constitution building to come up with a Draft Constitution that should reflect the aspirations and wishes of all Gambians.
He explained that the first Draft Constitution is ready and has captured the much talked about presidential term limit, the absolute majority principle for Presidential election, decentralization of Local Administration, women’s participation in the decision making processes of governance, the issue of disability, democracy, good governance and human rights among others.
He informed his constituents of the near to completion of the Lamin-Koto/ Passamas main trunk road and the recommencement of the Baja Kunda/Boro Kanda Kasseh road. He also informed them about the water supply projects for the area, the NEMA garden project in Sutukoba and Foday Kunda, the construction of a Senior Secondary School in Baja Kunda by MRC Holland Foundation and the construction of the Fatoto bridge which is in high gear.
The Constituents in turn informed their representative of their problems relating to the NEMA project which they said is slow in progress and the need for more horticultural projects in the area, the lack of security for them, their animals and properties in general, and the lack of cooperation of the security units in the area to curb the massive theft of ruminants and cattle rustling.
Touray was also informed about the contribution of the community of Foday Kunda in the rehabilitation of the old buildings for health service workers which he visited; that the Health Committee reported the lack of electricity for want of repairs; that health personnel now use torchlight to help deliver women and the water system needs repair to stop water from being splashed in the delivery room, the offices, toilets and on the walls of the hospitals rooms because of bust pipes; that this requires swift action to remedy the already decadent situation. He said the Ministry is aware of the problem and would make a quick follow up so that it can be solved as soon as practicable.
In the border areas of Wuli East, the constituents complained of the main feeder road from Chamoi to Macca Masireh and Foday Kunda, as well as the road linking Macca Masireh to the main highway at Sutukoba as well as the Mureh Kunda water crisis.
On the issue of the hippo menace, the communities of Sutukoba and Boro Kanda Kasseh, asked their representative to appeal to the authorities to help in seeking for a lasting solution to the conflict between them and the hippo population over land and habitat. Touray informed them that he has raised all these issues at the National Assembly and is making follow-ups to ensure that they are adequately dealt with.
He explained that the issue of security is very important to him; that he has spoken about it in almost every occasion at the Assembly; that there must be some kind of collaboration between the Gambia and Senegal in the area of security sector to ensure mutual cooperation to safeguard the protection of the people within the border areas. He asked his constituents to change their attitudes when it comes to the protection of their properties; that the old way of leaving one’s animals to roam endlessly without a herdsman during the dry season without anyone tampering with them, is no more possible; that people must be alert and consistently guard their livestock and ruminants within and outside their homes. He said there is need for what he calls the policy of ‘community policing’ which is done in collaboration with the security units within the area to ensure Law and order and the protection of their properties from theft.
Touray further dilated on the conflict of hippos and people over agricultural land and habitat and said this has been raised with the Agriculture Minister as well as the Minister of Environment so that they could work together with a view to solving the impasse; that he has suggested to the Agriculture Minister to engage the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to see if they could provide some technical assistance in the creation of a buffer between farm and graze lands for hippos not only in Sutukoba, but also in Boro where hippos have turned a fish pond to a permanent habitat which has been the main source of protein for the inhabitants.
On the issue of lack of portable water for some villages, Touray said there is expectation that the Japanese grant for the provision of water will soon commence as well as the 20 boreholes catered for by the 2020 budget. He expressed hope that a few other communities in Wuli East will also benefit from those projects.
He informed that the National Assembly has ratified a loan agreement of over 10 million dollars for a ruminant production project that should affect all districts in rural communities; that at least one community in Wuli East shall benefit from this project.
The Wuli East Member also visited the Passamas/Fatoto bridge, the Baja Kunda/Boro Kanda Kasseh road construction site, the MRC Holland Foundation built Senior Secondary School project, the newly constructed Fire Service Station at Baja Kunda which are ongoing projects within the area.
On whether he is satisfied with the projects, Touray said he has some questions regarding the Lamin Koto/Passamas road construction project; that the access roads for some villages to the main trunk road are inadequate and farmlands that were used to mine gravel or sand, requires rehabilitation. He said he is now satisfied with the work being done by the new construction company ‘Chinogam’ on the Boro road as well as the progress registered by the MRC Holland Foundation School project.
He expressed disappointment regarding the Fire Service station built by Gam-Works which he said has not catered for fire service workers which he said is part of the contract worth over 18 million dalasi. He observed the lack of access roads for fire ambulance trucks on the main highway; that he has earlier queried this and the Ministry of Works and Chief of Fire Service officer were supposed to work on this to solve the anomaly; but that he has not seen any action towards this so far.
Suwaibou Touray finally wrapped up his Constituency tour with a live radio broadcast on the regional Basse radio station where he translated some parts of the draft Constitution and clarified issues of concern to listeners. He also visited the regional health department in Basse where he discussed the issue of Foday Kunda health center.