United Democratic Party has lashed out at the Minister of Local Government and Lands for establishing a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption at the Kanifing Municipal Council.

In a statement the opposition party said: “The United Democratic Party Executive and its membership have learned with dismay the blatant abuse of authority by the Minister of Local Government and Lands in his pursuit to establish a commission of inquiry against the elected Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council his Lordship Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda.

“The United Democratic Party advocates for open governance and the reduction of the incidence of corruption at all levels of government in The Gambia. 

“However, the actions of the Minister are not only politically motivated but vindictive against the person of Mayor Talib Bensouda. 

“The Minister is reminded that the office he occupies is not personal to him or any other holder.”

The statement continued: “KMC under the leadership of Mayor Bensouda lodged a complaint against the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) on allegation of graft and corruption several months ago. 

“Instead of the Minister investigating the matter, he belligerently demanded the return of the CEO to work with armed Police officers escorting her to the council premises. 

“In the absence of a strong Local Government Act, UDP have expected the unelected Minister to use best governance practice to defend the rights of the citizen of the municipality that elected the mayor rather than usurping the rights of the citizens of KMC by wilfully going against the resolution of council.

“Citizens of the municipality will go to the polls in the coming months to elect a new mayor and the actions orchestrated by the Minister have political undertones that aim at using instruments of state to derail Mayor Bensouda’s bid for re-election. 

“Gambians across the political divide can attest to the good work being executed by Mayor Bensouda over three years in terms of revenue mobilization, sanitation, rehabilitation of Bakoteh Dump site and google mapping of the municipality, etc.”

“We urge the Minister of Lands to publish the report of the Inspectors assigned to look into the affairs of the erstwhile CEO. 

“Corruption in all its forms must be fought resolutely and the Minister of Local Government should start by policing departments under his portfolio particularly in the area of land administration if fighting corruption is his objective of setting up the so-called Commission,” the party added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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