By Buba Gagigo
President Adama Barrow says the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) didn’t follow the due process in the suspension of KMC CEO Sainabou Martin and colleagues.
“We wanted to do this a long time ago (setting up a commission) but we are tolerant and democratic, and we respect the law. If you remember, there was a problem in KMC and the leader there said, there was corruption. He said that should be addressed and said a lot of things. They selected people and made a resolution and suspended those people for that corruption. But is that the right procedure? You just pick on one person and sack the person. If that was the right procedure, by now I have sacked a lot of people. That’s not the right way,” president Adama Barrow said during an interview with Star TV.
He said the ministry of Local Government and Lands told him (Mayor Bensouda), he didn’t have the power to do what he did and asked him to allow them to return to work so that the local government service commission can do its work.
“He said he will not do it. He knew the government will take it’s power, he went to court to block the lady from resuming work. We accepted and said, now let’s set up a ministerial commission, we set up the ministerial commission they ran to court and blocked it. They reduced the powers of the ministerial commission using the law,” the president said.
President Barrow said that it was at that time he sought advice from his ministry of justice to look at what the law had given them to use;
“For over two years, the lady is not working. We challenged them at court and the court said they cannot decide whether the lady cannot work. And that’s the end of the judgment. People say president Barrow should take the lady back to work. But we always follow the law. I sought advice, the minister of Justice told me the judgment did further say you can reinstate the lady, and it is the service commission that can write and tell them to reinstate her. We can use the machinery, but it has no use for us, we see to it that we are not fighting with them because we are working for the same Gambia. I don’t even know the lady, I don’t have any personal relationship with her, she doesn’t know me and I have never seen her. I only saw her during the problem,” he said.
President Barrow says when the Service Commission wrote to the Deputy CEO at KMC, they used a delaying tactic and asked the service commission to write to the Mayor instead;
“To delay the issue, they wrote back and said the service commission should not write to the deputy CEO but the mayor. The Service Commission told him, you are the right person to write to because you are the highest authority. Not Talib, but you. We knew it was time for the government to step in, we came, opened the door and got the lady in.
“They made resolution that they will not work with the lady, they won’t give her files. We are still having that problem. We wrote to him, but still the files are not going to her. They refused. They told him (Deputy CEO) to make ways to reinstate the lady, but they refused to give her office. Using power is not good, if it is power alone, I am more powerful than everyone right now and that is done by God. The constitution gave it to me, but I don’t like using power and everyone knows that about me,” he said.
He said that was part of the reasons for setting up a presidential Commission that has High court powers to investigate all the councils;
“The lady is there, we said now we will set up a presidential commission that has High court powers. All of them will answer to that commission, including the lady, to clear themselves,” the president concluded.