GAMBIA: FRESH CONGRESS TO RESOLVE THE KAFUTA VDC DISPUTE-FINDINGS FROM THE KAFUTA VDC CRISIS REVEALS

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SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS ON KAFUTA VDC CRISIS

The VDC/WDC Conflict Resolution Committee received a petition letter dated………..from the Concerned Youths of Kafuta on………,. The VDC sub committee engaged the VDC executive members on one hand, and the Petitioners on the other hand . The VDC sub committee further proceeded to engage the Alkali and the Kabilo leaders in a bid to hear their story as well as inform them about what we gathered from the two engagements with the VDC and the Petitioners. However, the task before the VDC sub committee is to respond to the petition letter from Kafuta by enquiring how and when their VDC was formed, and whether the VDC is indeed accountable and answerable to the larger community of Kafuta. The registration of Jarisu Social Development Enterprises as private liability company and the VDC development activities.

The documents before the VDC sub committee indicated that the VDC was formed in 2017. The Constitution of Kafuta VDC has no provision for a  tenure of office or term limit. The documents also showed that the VDC executive members were selected by the Alkali and the Council of Elders. This is contrary to section 93(1) of the local Government Act 2002 which states thus:

A VILLAGE DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE SHALL CONSIST :

  • A chairman selected from among the members of the committee.
  • One male and one female representing each Kabilo in the village, selected by the kabilos.
  • One male and one female representing each community based organisation.
  • A representative of Youth groups in the village.
  • Such other persons as the VDC shall determine.

This has not been the case in Kafuta. The above mentioned section defines or explains a legitimate formation and composition  of a VDC anywhere under the local government Act.

The records before this sub committee also  indicated that the VDC was formed in 2017  but they have not held a single AGM. A VDC demonstrates its accountability or answerability to the larger community by holding an Annual General Congress during which the community is updated on various activities, developments and challenges,  as well as tell the people how their funds are being judiciously managed. It is also the appropriate time to review and amend the Constitution.

On the issues of development, records has shown that some developments have taken place , and the records highlighted the following interventions;

  1. Changing of streetlight bulbs
  2. Construction of a three classroom blocks at the Arabic School.
  3. Construction of a perimeter fencing at the community field.
  4. Donations to Schools.
  5. Providing Uniforms to the needy students.
  6. Upkeep of the Salary of the watchman at the Health Center.

Despite the records showing that the VDC under Malang Jatta came in November 2017, the recordings in the cashbook revealed that the old VDC was in charge of the financial transactions from November 2017 to June 25th 2018.  During this period , a total sum of D12,250 was withdrawn by the old VDC without any corresponding explanation. Only names of persons are recorded against the withdrawal in their cash book, and it is disappointing to note that the VDC did not submit their bank book to us.

On the allegations of registering a Private Company, there is no official document to suggest or establish that Jarisu Social Development Enterprises indeed belongs to the community of Kafuta. However, it is registered with the name of the current VDC Chairman – Mr. Malang Jatta, and the Company name of JSDE. Verbal explanations suggest that the Company operates for the community of Kafuta, nonetheless there should be an official Document or affidavit to indicate or officially confirm that JSDE is a public company owned by the village through VDC, and that all the revenue accrued entirely belongs to Kafuta.. upon further inquiry, it is now discovered that the members of the VDC have registered themselves as shareholders of the company  _ each has paid a sum of money  as their share contributions. This inform is derived from the registration documents of this said company.

In view of the above information, the VDC sub committee hereby recommends the dissolution of Kafuta VDC with immediate effect. The formation and composition is not in line with the dictates of the LG Act, and this incorrect formation has served for over three years now without any AGM. The VDC has to step down with the following terms and conditions ;

  1. The VDC hand over all their documents and authority to the Alkali and Kabilo heads.
  2. Call a congress within one or two months from this notice.
  3. Review the constitution
  4. Form a new VDC according to the provision of the LG Act.
  5. Training of the VDC shall follow.
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