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‘If You Are Confident That You Will Win, Bring Your Candidate’ Talib Urged Govt. To Desist From Violent Politics

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Talib Ahmed Bensouda, Mayor KMC 

By Buba Gagigo

Talib Ahmed Bensouda, the Mayor of Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC), in a recorded audio message sent to residents of KMC, has urged his opponents in the incumbent government to select their candidate, campaign vigorously for the candidate, but warned them to refrain from violence in politics ahead of the local government elections.

“The people trying to stir up violence should know that the 2023 local government election is not far. If they are confident that they can beat me and win, they should engage in clean politics, peaceful politics, politics of selling your agenda, to get it done and not utilized politics of violence, personal destruction, and vindictiveness. If You are confident that you will win, bring your candidate, and do a house-to-house campaign, sell your agenda to the people and if they buy it, they can vote for you and remove me from the council. All these tactics you’re deploying to create chaos for the elections are counterproductive,” he said.

Talib Ahmed Bensouda made these remarks while responding to a government statement on Monday. The Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs asked Kanifing Municipal Council Chief Executive Officer, Sainabou Martin to resume work tomorrow, saying any attempts to obstruct Mrs. Sonko and other persons affected in any form or manner from gaining access to their offices will face the full force of the law.

“We have seen the ill-tempered statement coming from the government saying they will use the full force of the law on KMC to ensure one person enters the council. KMC has never denied anyone from entering the council. For the last three months, this individual has entered the council three times, and she came to my office and discussed matters with me. I told her KMC is not Talib Bensouda, it is not the mayor, but a Council. What the council decides, I cannot overrule. 

“I told her to sit and wait until the council convenes on Wednesday, 21st of February 2023, where, at a general council sitting, the council will table the matter based on new updates we received from the Local Government Services Commission. So, if we saw an ill-tempered statement coming from the ministry, saying KMC denied the CEO entry, and they were ready to use soldiers, guns, government powers to ensure she entered, that statement was a shocking surprise to us. It is a harsh and draconian statement meant to create fear and violence. Let’s not allow that to happen in our midst because it is not a good thing for our municipality. It is not a step that a leader should not take,” Talib said.

The KMC mayor also accused the government of playing politics, saying the matter should have been investigated since day one.

“They should have taken their own inspector’s report, applied the recommendations to solve the problem. The issue wouldn’t have taken a full day, much more than two years. The reason they brought it up today, two months before the Local Government election, is not about the law or efficient administration, it is about politics. It is about the 2023 Local Government elections. The desire to have your party win elections shouldn’t push you to destroy your country, and I will not allow that. And I will not follow or allow anyone to do that,” he said.

The Kanifing Municipal Council Mayor also called on the residents of Kanifing Municipal Council and his supporters to desist from violence in the name of the council. 

“I am urging the people of KMC and those coming to the municipality to come in peace and for development. Do not come to visit violence upon our municipality. Tomorrow, no one will prevent anyone from entering council, but no one can force us to work with anyone. I heard a lot of people saying they will come out to fight on behalf of KMC, to do violence on behalf of KMC. I am urging everyone saying that to stop. There is no problem in KMC and as far as I am there, I will not allow any problem to happen there. We worked in and for KMC, and the work we did since 2018 is too valuable to be destroyed in a fit of rage.

“People appreciated us, and they appreciated how we’ve turned around the institution, they appreciated how we are moving forward. Let’s not allow anyone to destroy that excellent work or to tarnish our good image. I want everyone to do it for our 58th Independence Day celebration, where we reflect on what our forefathers did for this country. And we are also looking forward to what we can do for the future generation. Let’s not allow anyone to destroy our country or our municipality,” the mayor said.

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