Written by Bakary Fatty #OccupyBAC
Ever since the political dust gently settled down, many people virtually forgot or are care-less about the
assertive pontifications projected by our political aspirants on their beautiful manifestoes during the
Well, I don’t forget. I could still vividly remember the promises made by our chairman (B.A.C). Of course,
he had beautiful plans on how to make Brikama market great again: admirable, neat and economically
vibrant. He also wants to do something about the poor road networks especially the feeder roads linking
the market to the rest of Brikama. Waste management system was another plan on his manifesto. What
a tremendous facelift if implemented.
Well, one needs not to be a rocket scientist or a student of quantum physics to grasps some basic facts;
neither do you need a weather man to tell you where the wind is blowing. Some basic things are clearly
written on the walls.
I can’t get a word to describe the current precarious situation of Brikama market. Calling it pathetic or
disheartening is an understatement: it’s plain shocking.
The reason why am more particular about the market is not anything peculiar but because of the revenue
it creates for the council. I keep wondering where all the millions of revenues collected from the vast
business entities go to. Of course, not forgetting the daily D5 Dalasis collected from young girls selling
pure water and even from the wheelbarrow porters in the market. Calling a spade, a farm implements
doesn’t describe it, it can’t be even called a garden fork BUT only a spade, period! If the huge revenue
collected from Brikama market cannot make Brikama market a conducive and a healthy place, then
something is obviously wrong somewhere. Any interested observer might wonder if it is a case of
misplaced priorities or poorly defined strategic thinking.
What is even more frustrating and heart aching is when it rains for just two minutes; the gutters are turned
into disgusting eye shore emitting highly obnoxious odour which permeates the environment. The
drainage cavities are virtually all blocked, slurry amassed, thus rendering our footpaths impassable. It is
apparent that the waste bins are not strategically located for easy collection and the waste is not sorted
There has to be a technology to desegregate waste into organic, inorganic or toxic before disposal to allow
for proper management. Sometimes vendors do a general cleaning of their area of the market, I want to
tell them ‘congratulation’. I can’t cast the blame on the junior officer who collects tax (duties) daily or the
sellers in the market, but I have to blame the custodian of the market.
From my own viewpoint, the conditions of this great market are NOT quite different from its previous
status. Each time it rains, people keep galloping and limping like horses and frogs on pieces of stepping
stones just to avoid muddy stagnant waters found at all nooks and cranny of the market. Sometimes I felt
like cancelling my purpose of going to the market but to go to the chairman’s office and tell him ‘Sir what’s
your real plan for our market, after almost more than a year in office?’
When I compared and contrast the modus-operandi and modus-Vivendi of Kanifing Municipal council and
my own Brikama Area council, I do not only get tongue-tied, but also bemuse with the huge disparity.
Leadership is summarised in one keyword which is ACTION.
As a leader of our noble council, your only difference from the rest of us is your capacity to make
DECISIONS and the opportunity you are privileged with to make ACTION. Mr. Chairman, the only
difference that distinguished you from any Tom Dick and Harry is the onus that it is with you; nothing else.
Always remember THE PEOPLE who confidently casted their marbles in your metallic ballot drums, while
they sit patiently, wishing and praying that you will ultimately become a knight in a shining armour to
salvage them from their unbearable conditions. I can’t really tell why things are so slow in transforming
the market, but you and the Chief Executive officer (CEO) of the council have to work closely. If there are
corrupt officers in your council, sack them. But remember; discipline cannot discipline discipline, if
discipline is NOT discipline. Be the change you want to see first as Mahatma Ghandi rightly put it.
Of course, I can imagine the enormous challenges you might be confronted with, because even in the
house of masquerades, human reside. If there are staff in your mist who wish nothing but to back pedal
your progress, relieve them. Most importantly, if there are pentagonal pegs occupying octagonal holes in
your noble council, I can tell you without an iota of doubt that we are NOT moving fraction of an inch to
sustainable progress. In fact, the latter is the most paramount, simply because for any organisation to
attain its goals; the human resource should possess the prerequisite level of competence, ingenuity, skill
and attitude to steer the wheel of that very organisation. Mr. Chairman, I wouldn’t just highlight the
deplorable nature of our precious market without advancing my little ideas on HOW to mitigate the
challenges and move forward.
I understand clearly the nature of the market because I criss-crossed there daily and also observe with
keen precision. Looking at the market from the Engineers’ and Planners’ microscope, it has a major
Engineering and planning errors, yes it does. A market can’t be plan like Joko night club where people
come in, dance and go home. A market is a SYSTEM of interwoven activities. There is a term in principles
of planning called ‘ZONING’ where every section of the market has it specify function and purpose and
nothing else. Let me give a quick example. If Nfamara Fofana comes to buy a book and a pen in the market,
he should not bump into Musukuta Nyaranding Maraneh who came to buy fresh tilapia fish for her
husband since they came for a completely different purpose. Even in an organisation, there is usually
zoning of offices like record office, account office, human resource office, public relation office, facilities
office, internal audit etc. Now let’s assume all these offices are in one main hall, what will happen? That’s
a similar behaviour you see in our unplanned market.
Because the market is not zone, so everybody has to be searching like a retire police detective spotting
what he or she wants to buy.
Some people might argue to say that the market is too small and over populated that is why nothing can
be properly organised. However, I want to debunk that theory and build my argument from a different
spectrum. Our market is not well PLANNED and it lacks a SYSTEM. The best time to do that is NOW. Yes,
now, I mean. Looking at the growth rate of West Coast Region is alarming; it’s a growth pole rapidly
growing which can be closely associated with the current menace in the market. Therefore, planning the
entire orientation of the market from its genesis to revelation is quintessential.
Market policies and regulations need to be enforced without fear, favour or ill will. The allocation of selling
spot needs to be revisited. Since one will just wake up one morning and see a desperate business man
erecting an ugly canteen at one corner of the market without taking precursory measures. Usually they
don’t care whether they are building on gutters and drainage cavities meant for water to pass.
There are government residential quarters in the market too, which I believe when moved can create
market expansion. The various entrances and foot paths in the market should have specify dimensions,
putting into perspective architectural anthropometric and frequently monitored; but it will be difficult to
maintain that if some officers take bribes from business men to allocate them places meant for passage
of customers, water or waste collection trucks.
Building a fish market in the heart of an already congested and polluted market was a monumental
mistake and still serves as a painful scourge than a blessing. I wonder whether the feasibility studies and
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was done properly (OK someone might be thinking WHERE WERE
YOU when it was built) because nothing smells more hazardously even from miles away, than that fish
market. It needs to be moved for the market to make good use of itself.
It’s indeed a piety to see cleaners from the area council to be cleaning without protective gargets to safe
themselves from the harmful waste. Mr Chairman, you have to protect and motivate your staff if you want
to get the best of them.
PHOTOS FROM THE PEACEFUL PROTEST