EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Kanifing Municipal Council market committee and The Gambia Police Force traffic unit, Monday commenced the implementation of a long-time plan of evicting vendors along the streets within the Serrekunda market and the Serrekunda health center.
The Municipality, accommodating a population of approximately 500, 000 people, representing about 25 percent of Gambia’s total population is encountering road saturation by street vendors whose occupation of the streets is causing traffic congestion and obstruction to emergency pass ways, including for ambulances.
“This is long overdue, but we have given them enough time and created space for them that can accommodate more than 200 to 300 people,” chairman of the council’s market committee and councilor of Bakoteh ward, Lamin K Jammeh told Eye Africa TV.
Mr Jammeh said the eviction was in the best interest of the Municipality and a move to avoid fatalities, saying just last week, a woman had to deliver in a taxi because the car could not access the road to the Serrekunda health center due to the vendors occupation of the street.
He said the street that links from the Babung Fatty junction on the Brikama-West Field high way to Serrekunda market and to the Sandika and the other one from the Serrekunda central mosque to the health center are all saturated with vendors which is causing serious difficulty for movement of both people and cars.
Kanifing is one of the biggest Municipalities in The Gambia. The Council used to be headed by former President Yahya Jammeh’s Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) party mobiliser, Yankuba Colley, who is now replaced by Talib Ahmed Bensouda following the 2017 Mayoral election.
Mr Bensouda promised to transform the cosmopolitan region into a modern world-class Municipality, with job creation and face-lifting of the entire area as two of his first priorities.
Market chairman Jammeh said it is in the interest of the public for the streets to be cleared for free passing of vehicles and people, saying the eviction is connected to many factors because they are concerned by the manner in which vendors are occupying the streets along the Serrekunda market and health center. “It is our responsibility to free the roads because there are approximately 500, 000 inhabitants in the Municipality. So few people cannot take advantage of the majority.”
He said when the alternative was designed for the vendors by providing a shade that can accommodate sitting space for up to 300 vendors, the vendors themselves were allowed to inspect the shade and they suggested that the tables were short and they –market committee- complied and put things the way they wanted it. “When we call for the allocation of sitting places under the shade, many came but until now they don’t want to move there.”
Mr Jammeh said from now, they will only allow vendors to sell in the Sandika but selling outside the place will not be tolerated, saying they are taking the move with clear consent and in the interest of the entire municipality.