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Gambia’s 59th Independence: Mayor Bensouda Highlights Poverty and Security Concerns

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Mayor Ahmed Talib Bensouda of KMC

By Buba Gagigo

In a speech commemorating Gambia’s 59th independence anniversary, Kanifing Municipal Council Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda urged the government to address the pressing issues of poverty and security.

Bensouda highlighted the rising cost of living and its impact on Gambian citizens’ ability to afford basic necessities like food, healthcare, and education. He emphasized the need for the government to take concrete steps to improve living standards for the Gambian people.

“Today is February 18th 2024′ Gambia’s independence. It will make 59th years since we have our independence. Of course, we are happy and celebrating our nation’s independence and this is by far the most important day in Gambia’s history. However, Our citizens have major concerns. The first is the skyrocketing prices and cost of living. Gambians are becoming poorer and poorer every year. Their ability to feed their families to pay for their children’s school fees. To afford quality health care is becoming increasingly difficult. We must challenge the government to do all they can to ensure that Gambian’s money can pay for their basic needs,” she said.

Security concerns were also addressed by Bensouda, who expressed the growing fear and anxiety felt by residents due to rising incidents of armed robberies, stabbings, and domestic violence. He called upon the government to restore Gambia’s reputation as a safe and secure nation.

“Gambians no longer feel safe on a daily basis. We hear about armed robberies, stabbings, domestic disputes, gun violence. This is something that is not of Gambia nature. And again, we challenge the Gambia government to ensure that Gambia goes back to what it was the smiling coast where people wake up every day safe, where their children can go out to play without second thoughts, where you can leave your property and have no fear of it being stolen,” Talib said.

The plight of Gambian youth was another key point raised by Mayor Bensouda. He emphasized the high unemployment rate and the dangerous journeys undertaken by many young people seeking better opportunities abroad. He urged the government to implement programs that create job opportunities and address the root causes of youth migration.

“Majority, near 70% of people in our country, are below the age of 35 years. However, our Youths feel destitute. The country is not producing enough jobs. Many leave on a dangerous journey for greener pastures. Many perish on the way, and those who make it become destitute and lose their dignity in the streets of Europe on a daily basis. We also see flights coming at midnight, youths are coming back deported, embarrassed and come back to nothing. This is something that is of great concern. And we again challenge the Gambia government to ensure that this map is addressed,” Talib said.

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