Armed agents of the Police intervention unit have raided the premises of the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) this Monday morning to enforce a government directive that orders the reinstatement of the suspended KMC Chief Executive Officer of the Council, Sainabou Martin Sonko. The KMC council suspended Mrs. Sonko on allegations of corruption.
Equally swept by corruption allegations, the Deputy Mayor of KMC Musa Bah resigned from his position two weeks ago.
However, the Ministry of Local governments and lands invoked a procedural defect in KMC and Mayor Talib Bensouda’s handling of the Chief Executive Officer of the Council’s case and objected to the suspension of Sainabou Martin Sonko.
The government then ordered the Council to restore the suspended official to her initial position.
As the KMC and Mayor Talib Bensouda refused to comply with the Local governments and lands order, the tug of war shaping between the two entities finally reached new heights this Monday with the Police invading the KMC premises to reinstate Sainabou Martin Sonko.
A brief brawl ensued between the Police intervention unit personnel and agents of the KMC municipal police.
Reacting to the government’s move, KMC Mayor Talib Bensouda posted on his Facebook feed that “KMC is under siege this morning!“
But Mayor Bensouda seems to carefully trade to avoid a new escalation that will get him and his council having to confront the Police along with the suspended CEO, Sainabou Martin Sonko, and her support from President Barrow’s administration.
“The PIU who are good partners to the council have communicated that they are under a directive from the Executive Branch to install the CEO in her office who has been put on leave via council resolution after confessing to her crimes … this attempt is to install the CEO by the use of force, therefore, Usurping the decision of the council!”
As he directly accuses the Minister of local government Musa Drammeh of undermining the KMC council’s autonomy, Mayor Bensouda recalled that sections of the law allow for dispute resolution between local and central government.
“However, this demonstration of brute force is an example of a dysfunctional society where the rule of law doesn’t prevail,” according to the Mayor of Kanifing who says he will continue to exercise the powers from the mandate of the people.
Mayor Bensouda also called on President Adama Barrow, who is head of the Executive, “To withdraw the police from council rounds and respect the council’s decision.“