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Barrow Leads, As His Government Re-launched Nationwide “Set-setal”

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President Adama Barrow, Mayor Bensouda and other officials at the set- Setal at KMC.

By Ramatoulie Jawo 

His Excellency, President Adama Barrow led Cabinet Ministers and a cross-section of the residents of Kanifing Municipality, as his government re-launched the discontinued nationwide cleansing exercise locally called “Set-Settal.” 

The President upon arrival at Westfield was joined by the Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), Talib Ahmed Bensouda, and his ward councilors. 

President Barrow led the team in a cleaning exercise from Westfield to Serrekunda in the country’s first Set-Settal since the change in government took place in 2017. 

The cleansing exercise was a mainstay during the last regime. It was first introduced by the exiled President Yahaya Jammeh and was a monthly routine during his reign. 

However, the monthly exercise was discontinued after the regime change in 2017 with folks complaining about the restrictions it had on movement and commerce.

Six years into the tenure of the current president, the Minister for Environment Climate Change and Natural Resources,  Rohey John Manjang, last month announced the re-introduction of the national set-setal with a twist- no restrictions on people and movements will be enforced this time around.

Speaking to Journalists shortly after the completion of the exercise, President Barrow describes the re-introduction of the national set-setal as timely. 

“It is very timely for us to come out and do the cleansing exercise. Because littering is too much in our environment. I think if we can implement anti-littering laws, it will take care of at least 50% of the problems. So I called on the institutions who are responsible for it, to make sure and implement the anti-littering law. When we talk about democracy, is all about laws and processes. If that is in place, I think it is time we start to implement it,” President Barrow said.

President Barrow further called on the public to come out and volunteer not only every month but every day by cleansing their environment daily. 

“I am very happy to see people coming out in their large numbers and volunteering. I think that is the most important thing about it. Sometimes you can use executive orders but we don’t own the people. So we can’t force them to come out. So the best thing is for people to come out in their numbers volunteering to join us and clean the nation. Because cleanliness is health and health is wealth. I think that is very important. 

“It has taken us a long time before we re-introduce the ‘set-setal.’ We were considering everything about it. In a democracy, when you want to do certain things, you can be challenged by the people and you are a servant of the people. But we think that it is time for us to come out and clean our nation,” Barrow added. 

The Mayor of KMC, Talib Ahmed Bensouda, expressed his happiness for the re-introduction of the “set-setal.” 

“I am very happy about the exercise. ‘Set-setal’ is very important to clean the nation. It used to happen every last Saturday of the month. After years of the new dispensation, it has been relaunched and is very important for it to continue to happen. KMC has done a ‘set-setal’ before. It used to be household waste. But now, KMC collects all household wastes. So I think that’s one step forward but we would like to encourage people to come and KMC will always deploy,” He said. 

Ousianou Gambia, an environmental activist who advocates for the protection of the environment called on the public to make the “set-setal” sustainable. 

“The start is important but sustainability and consistency are what is more important to me. So if we can just make it sustainable it will be very good. Because the clean and green environment that is what I always advocate,” He urged.

Several Gambians both in the Greater Banjul area and the rural Gambia took part in today’s cleaning exercise as evidenced by pictures posted on social media from different parts of the country showing people cleansing their various communities. 

It is important to note that the reintroduced national cleansing exercise unlike the previous edition has no restrictions on businesses and the movement of people and vehicles.

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