Following the award of certificates to councilors and the chairman elect in the Western Area Rural District by the National Electoral Commission, Chairman Elect, Al-Hassan Cole, has spoken of his plans for the district in ensuring the council brings development to the district.
Speaking during an interview with Awoko, Cole said, as a strategy to generate more funds for the council, they are going to “employ council police who will go round to enforce tax payment and we will also have inspectors of council, to be checking who have paid license and other revenues to council and we will increase on the number of our market keepers.” Cole said lack of notice boards in the wards of councils will create a lot suspicion, which will lead to people thinking that council is not transparent. “Every month we will post our council minutes, our financial statements,” he said. “Whatever council is doing, the people should know.” Speaking further, he said the council, under his chairmanship, is going to be “a council of change.”
“It is going to be a council of difference,” he said. “We cannot be sitting down without creating an impact .With the new breed of councilors, we are sure of succeeding.”
Cole said the recent election was a process where at least somebody won and that it is a win-win game where there is no loser. “I believe all those who wanted to be council chairman had good plans which are to develop the district,” he said. “Elections are over and we need to come together as a team and plan for the development of the district.”
On his plan to empower women in the council, Cole said the council now has four women and, as such, he was going to ensure women are encouraged in the running of council. “We are going to give greater attention to women so that they can feel part and parcel of the council,” he said.
Speaking on further plans on revenue mobilization, Cole said the council has a lot of constraints. “We are not too capacitated liker the Freetown City Council,” he said, “but by and large, we have put measures in place and we have began seeing success to an extent that the council was in deficit but I can now assure you that we don’t have a problem even to think of staff salary.”
He disclosed that if the council is to harness its resources, they have to visit. “They need to increase the work force of the council,” he said, “and we also need to ensure the council’s presence in all the twenty wards is felt and we are going to have sub-offices in the wards so that we can employ people who could be collecting our revenue.”
Cole revealed that, with his experience as acting council chairman, he was going to make sure that, his style of administering the council becomes a different one. “The first council meeting will be held in the council headquarter but subsequent meetings will be taking place at the various localities,” he said. “That is one way of taking council to the people and people being involved in the running of council.”
Earlier while presenting the council members and chairman elect, the National Returning Officer of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Christiana Thorpe said the new council officials have a lot of tasks to accomplish with regards the development of their district. After four years of the current councilors and chairpersons, they would either be voted out or in, by the electorate, depending on their [councilors’] performance,” Thorpe said. “When you assume public office, it is a serious responsibility: Work according to your conscious and God.” She called on all the councilors to work towards the development t of the district as they were no longer APC, SLPP or Independent candidates. Thorpe said Waterloo is her hometown but was not happy that the district is not developed.
By John Baimba Sesay