By Biran Gaye
Women residents of Bundung-Ka Kunda Constituency protested against water shortage in their community on Wednesday, 6th September 2023 as President Adama Barrow’s convoy arrived in Bundung. President Adama Barrow had visited the New Model Bundung Police Station to preside over its inauguration; however, he was welcomed by women with empty buckets chanting “we need water” and “gio, gio” which translates to water in Mandinka.
It can be recalled that the Hon member for Bundung-Ka Kunda, Hon Sulayman Jammeh, had pledged to resign over the water shortage plaguing his community. Our reporter spoke to Hon Jammeh who had an audience with President Barrow at the inauguration. Hon Jammeh explains how his encounter with President Barrow has resulted to meetings with the NAWEC Director and some progress towards addressing water shortage in his Constituency.
Our reporter also spoke to one of the women protesters, Fatou Jallow, who revealed that they “are really suffering here in Bundung. We did not come to cause any problem but our mission on the road is to tell the President about what we are going through. We felt that this was an opportunity for us to express our concerns,’’ she added.
Another protester, Rohey Cham, said for months they have not had water in their taps. Instead, they only get water from the boreholes outside of their compound. “I wake up at 4 a.m. and follow my colleagues to fetch water. It is very difficult for us here. I also believe that coming out with our empty buckets on the road to express our nightmares to the President was a great thing to do,’’ she said.
The women complain that NAWEC only supply them inadequate water late in the night when they are already asleep, making it difficult to meet their daily water needs for domestic consumption. “The protesting ladies were stopped by some soldiers as they attempted to advance towards the Police Station, where the President was,” Bakary Jadama said.
NAWEC is the country’s only National Water and Electricity Company which has the monopoly of supplying water and electricity to Gambians.
Hon Jammeh met President Adama Barrow on the day of the inauguration and raised the concerns of the community on the water shortage. According to Hon Jammeh, President Barrow promised that he would call the Director of NAWEC right away which Hon Jammeh said he did. This was evidenced in the fact that the NAWEC Director and an Official from the Ministry of Petroleum contacted them in the same week. After meeting the President on Monday, on Friday the NAWEC Director and his team presented their plan to address the water shortage issue in Bundung to Hon Jammeh and his team. It was agreed that a borehole will be drilled in Bundung which will be connected to the existing water grid so as to boost the supply of water in Bundung.
Hon Jammeh explained that the following day on Saturday, NAWEC Officials took samples of water at some selected locations to determine the quality of water and the location to drill the borehole. It is envisaged that water shortage will be a thing of the past if the borehole can sufficiently boost water for the community of Bundung-Ka Kunda.