The Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council, Yankuba Colley is accusing environmentalist, who shut down a dumping site of sabotage.
Colley said the activists that held several protests and blocked operations at the Bakoteh dumping site are abusing the country’s new found democracy.
“They are disgruntled people and government should not be allowing a few disgruntled people to hold everyone at ransom,” Colley said.
“There is democracy but that doesn’t mean we should take the law into our own hands…. This is sabotage against all the progress made by the Council over the years.”
Colley is facing a strong re-election challenge next year. The defeat of his party in last year’s presidential elections means he is likely to lose.
The Bakoteh dumpsite has been a concern for residents in the area around the SOS Children’s Village. Activists have for long called for its closure.
Colley had signed a €2.2 million with a so-called Italian company, JMP to restore the Bakoteh dumpsite and manage waste. The contract was never implemented although expenses were reported.
Colley argued that his Council has in the past engaged numerous international partners but none of them materialized, saying “we are unable to find genuine partners.”
KMC produces about 400 tons of waste a day and due to technological shortfalls, they found it hard if not impossible to manage.
The KMC has always failed in collecting trash that ends up becoming heaps of garbage.
Businesses in Serrekunda Market and residents in neighborhoods like Marche Tayal complained of uncollected trash by the council.
The Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council, Yankuba Colley has said that the closure of the Bakoteh dumpsite can degenerate into an environmental disaster in the KMC unless a solution is found as soon as possible, reported a local paper.
“If the government continues to be silent about this matter things will go very bad for the KMC because at the moment waste is being dumped everywhere without any control and the Council doesn’t have the capacity to dispose of them all,” he said.
Colley is blaming the new government, which defeated his main sponsor, ex-dictator Yahya Jammeh of not stepping up to ending the standoff between him and environmentalists.
“During the former regime [of Yahya Jammeh], the Council was not faced with such difficulties, but since the coming of the new regime, things have radically changed in terms of attitude, which I believe should stop now,” he said.
Jammeh’s regime suppressed protests and refused to give permits for demonstrations.
Gambia has seen a wave of environmental protests over pollution and the country’s National Environment Agency dragged a Chinese-owned company to court for polluting Gunjur.
Environmentalists are refusing to have the Council continue using the dumpsite unless proper trash management procedures are followed in a manner that will lead to the total closure of the site.