Over Moving Karene HQ town to Batkanu… Local Govt. Minister & Top Govt Officials in the spotlight

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Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Tamba Lamina

By Foday Moriba Conteh

The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Tamba Lamina and some top government officials within the New Direction Government are allegedly accused of playing a double role in trying to move Karene District Headquarter town to Batkanu simply for political gains.

It was also alleged that the New Direction Government is using the move of the District Headquarter town to Batkanu in order to convince the people of Batkanu to vote for them in the upcoming Bye-Election which many consider to be cheap politics and doesn’t match with modern day democracy.

This allegation came prior to his interview on Radio Democracy 98.1 Gud Morning Salone Program on Wednesday 5th February 2020 during which he disclosed that his Ministry will be coming out with a white paper that will be presented to Cabinet on their findings as to whether the District Headquarter Town of Karene District should remain in Kamakwie or moved to Batkanu, adding that stakeholders in Batkanu made a request that they should visit them in order to listen to their submission on the said issue.

He said Kamakwie is a little more built but Government doesn’t have structures to host offices like the District Council, Local Council etc. while Batkanu have structures but they should be rehabilitated.

According to an indigene, he disclosed that all over the world Government structures cannot move to places by magic but rather they are built by Governments and according to findings Kamakwie has a vast piece of land to host a lot of Government offices which the stakeholders are ready to donate to Government in order to build Government structures.

He said that the structures the Local Government Minister was talking about in Batkanu are dilapidated that can even cost Government a huge amount of money to rehabilitate compared to Kamakwie. In order to set the record straight, he said, Batkanu is never more accessible to other chiefdoms in Karene District and as indicated on the map the new Karene District is 9.070855- 12.847177 making it one of the longest districts in the country.  Because of the difference in boundaries, Batkanu is no longer the central location of the new Karene District as the new district stretches onto the Guinean border in the north.

He said to say that the choice of Kamakwie by the past Government might have been politically motivated is a demonstration of narrow- mindedness and that if it was politically motivated Kamalo should have been the District Headquarter Town of Karene because Dr. Samura Kamara was the Presidential Candidate for the APC by then but that the decision was the right decision by the past Government which this current Government wants to reverse It is this kind of argument that Socrates, in his wisdom, had in contemplation when he said, “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.” Kamakwie is geopolitically, strategically placed and its central location in the new district gives it an edge over any other town. Its multi-ethnic character is an ace. The town is well positioned as it stands astride the trade routes between Kambia, Falaba, Koinadugu, Bombali and Port Loko Districts.

Many believe that Kamakwie offers better educational and healthcare facilities with five secondary schools (two senior and three junior) and a vocational institute. The town has one of the best hospitals in the country, the Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital founded in 1959 by the Wesleyan missionaries and this hospital has not only supported the people of Karene District but the entire country compared to Batkanu that doesn’t have all these facilities to become the Headquarter town for Karene District and that Kamakwie has been completely transformed by rapidly changing economic and social developments as a result of its proximity to Guinea

He lamented that there cannot be a greater mischief to the country and its people than propagating wrong notions concerning the country’s colonial past. Many reject with all their might the bold attempt to mislead the country and take the greatest exception to any calculated attempt by a selected few who think they can overtly exploit political affiliations to rewrite the history of the country in order to give life to their unpatriotic whims and aspirations.

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