Claim: Dembo ‘By Force’ Bojang, national president of the National People’s Party (NPP), has said that all households in Kiang are electrified.
Verdict: FALSE. At least 16 communities in Kiang are yet to be electrified.
On December 27, 2022, the National People’s Party (NPP) national president, Dembo Bojang, popularly called Dembo By Force, stated that every household in Kiang, a village in the Lower River Division of The Gambia, is electrified.
He made this remark at the ruling party’s congress. The claim can be found in the 55 minutes of this video. He was speaking in the Mandinka language, and an interpretation was given in the Wolof language, which has been translated into the English language as follows; “In the Lower River Region, people used to ride bicycles from Kiang to Soma or Mansakonko to get ice blocks during the month of Ramadan. Today, every household in Kiang is electrified and equipped with electric appliances, including refrigerators.”
Two thousand three hundred people have viewed the video, with 27 likes and three comments.
Electricity is a basic necessity of life, not a luxury. Goal seven of the UN Sustainable Development (SDG) calls for; “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. One of the three core targets of the goal is to ensure “universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services.”
It is for this reason that the statement by the NPP national president that all communities in Kiang have electricity became a subject of interest and investigation by DUBAWA.
It is important to note that on November 28, 2020, President Adama Barrow inaugurated a US$22.5 Million Electricity Expansion Project as part of the National Electricity Road Map for Universal Electricity Access. The first phase of this project covered 14 communities in Kiang.
In his inaugural speech, Barrow made the following remarks: “The implementation of this first phase started in 2017, and the project covers seventy-seven (77) communities. Fourteen (14) of these are in Kiang, and sixty-three (63) are in the West Coast Region. Altogether, the range targets 5000 meters in Kiang and over 20,000 meters in the West Coast Region. The project’s second phase will cover additional communities in Kiang Central, Kiang West and Kiang East by early 2021.”
However, the second phase of this project began in 2022 instead and is expected to be completed in March 2023.
Although some communities in Kiang have benefited from the Electricity Expansion Project, DUBAWA has confirmed, through some natives of Kiang, that at least 16 communities in Kiang do not currently have electricity.
“Big communities like Jali, Karantaba, and Tankular currently do not have electricity. Joli, Kemoro, Burong, Santaba, Taaborankoto, Bankuling, Kantong Kunda, Jamari, Sandeng, Manarr, Janneh Kunda, and Battelling. This is Kiang West alone. There are 33% of villages, and more than 50% of households do not have electricity. The whole of Kabada communities in Kiang does not have at all,” said Landing Sanneh, Chairman of Mansakonko Area Council.
There are plans to electrify most communities in Kiang. However, the assertion made by the national president of NPP that electricity has been installed in all households in Kiang is not true.
The claim, therefore, is false.