Archive for the ‘Domestic News’ Category

MOMENTUM OF CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE BUILDING UP IN BANJUL ; LAWYER DARBOE AND CO DENIED BAIL

May 5, 2016
Defiant crowd outside court house

Defiant crowd outside court house

Women with brooms poised to clean the rogue regime's mess

Women with brooms poised to clean the rogue regime’s mess

The leader of the opposition party United Democratic Party (UDP) Lawyer  Ousainou Darboe  who was arrested on  April 16th along with other peaceful protesters were denied bail today at the high Court in Banjul.  Many view the decision to deny the formal bail application tendered by defense team of illegally detained protesters as a traverse to justice which highlight President Jammeh’s hair splitting stratagem of weakening the morale of concerned Gambians who ply to Banjul to protest in front  of the Court house during every seating.  Such a strategy is likely to backfire on the rogue regime because the People do not show any sign of relent as their numbers continue to bulge at every Court hearing.

The momentum of civil disobedience is gaining ground as People continue to mobilize and demonstrate  in front of court house chanting anti- regime slogans and demanding the release of Solo Sandeng death or alive.  Yesterday during the hearing of the first batch of peaceful protesters arrested on April 14th, the state produce eight new people held in custody among them  3 female protesters who were feared death. Fatoumatta Jawara, Nokoi  Njie and Fatou Camara were arraigned before the high Court yesterday. Those who saw these 3 ladies yesterday at the Court house lamented traces of torture and inhuman treatment by their captors.  There are revelations underscoring that these decent ladies were subjected to all forms of torture and rape while in incommunicado. This is the reason why the state refused to tender them in Court initially and waited until their torture wounds heal a bit before producing them in Court.

The fear factor is gradually desecrated in the Gambia for people express themselves freely around the Court house and are ready for whatever consequences. The women today came with brooms which signifies that the Gambia is in a big mess and they are ready to clean the country of that mess. With Those brooms they shall clean the country of dictatorship , oppression, torture and killing of innocent Citizens. Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, his UDP executive and other peaceful protesters plying the road between mile II Central prison and Banjul high court are in high spirit and resolved to face any consequences for the interest of the Gambian People. Next round of Court hearing is scheduled to take place next week Monday April 9th.

WHO IS KOMBO CENTRAL’S NEXT CHIEF?

April 22, 2016
Power struggle at the Brikama chieftancy

Power struggle at the Brikama chieftaincy

By Pa Modou Bojang

The seat of the chieftaincy for Kombo Central district in the West Coast Region has been vacant since the demise of the late Chief, Alh. Dembo Keleng Bojang of Brikama Mansaringsu. This has not only left the people of Brikama in suspense as no one knows who will be the next chief of the constituency, but also in doubt if the position will be occupied by a female chief for the first time in the history of the town.

Sources closed to the chieftaincy have it that, Mrs Kaddy Faal Bojang has been in charge of the position since the death of the late chief and some political analysts suggest that she might remain in the position as far as APRC government is concerned. If Kaddy Faal is given the appointment, this will be the first time for a woman to man that position in Kombo Central.

Kibaaro News was reliably informed that the divisional governor, Ms Aminata Siffai Hydara, in collaboration with the infamous minister of information, also a native of Brikama Suma Kunda, Sheriff Bojang, have been advising president Jammeh not to allow chieftaincy by- elections in Brikama. It is feared that the position might fall in the hands of the opposition as manifested in the last parliamentary elections in the district.

It could be recalled that Kombo Central was the only constituency in The Gambia which went against the candidate of the ruling APRC party by voting for an independent candidate.

It is also revealed that Aminata Siffai Hydara advised the president to use his executive power to officially appoint her childhood and best friend, Kaddy Faal Bojang to the position. She emphasised “only that can boost our votes in Brikama for the presidential elections”. Since then, Mrs Faal Bojang has been in charge of the chieftaincy, which did not go well with some natives of Brikama who would also like to contest for the position.

Meanwhile, there is a serious disunion with the APRC (Brikama branch) as many ‘Brikamakas’ are looking for an election to fill the position. For those critics, President Jammeh has no executive power to appoint whom he wants.

Kebba Boajng of Brikama told our reporter that it would be hypocritical for the president to appoint the acting chief, Kaddy Faal, to the position.

It will be noted that the late chief Dembo Keleng Bojang was defeated by the former Bakary Santang Bojang in the 1992 chieftaincy elections. To the surprise of many, Bakary Satang was fired four years ago by the Jammeh administration without giving any reasons and was replaced by the man he defeated in the elections.

Meanwhile, our sources have also revealed that there are numerous candidates on standby and all of them are either from Brikama Suma Kunda or Mansaringsu. Historically, these are the two areas in Brikama to contest for the position, but since the coming of President Yahya Jammeh to power, all these norms have been undermined.

“THIS MAN IS GOING TO KILL ALL OF US BEFORE THE ELECTIONS”, COL. NDURE CHAM UNBURDENED HIS FEAR ON UNSUSPECTING LT. GANO

March 6, 2016
LANG TOMBONG AND NDURE CHAM

LANG TOMBONG AND NDURE CHAM

Jammeh has a Malicious Intention - Ebou Gaye

THE KANILAI MONSTER

Colonel Ndure Cham, former Chief of Defence Staff and allegedly the mastermind of 21 March 2006 foiled coup, is a man of few words. Contrary to what most of us in the diaspora thought of our Gambian Army, there are a handful who conclude the Kanilai Monster is “not only a liability to the Gambia and her people but also a big problem for the West African sub region as well as an obstacle for the general progress of the African Continent”. As a consequent, the likes of Col. Cham held that “Jammeh had completely outlived his usefulness as a president and therefore had to leave power by all means necessary”, disclosed Lt. Gano. The Colonel lost his cool with young officer Gano who could not spot the bark from the tree after presenting him with a glossy verbal portray of Monster Jammeh’s inadequacies as a president. “Col Cham lost his temper on me and threw a few profanities at me before adding:

‘Gano, you are talking like a dirty civilian. You see somebody aiming a weapon at you and you are telling me that you will dive when he pulls the trigger. This man is going to kill all of us before the elections. You continue to sit there and wait, I am not waiting for any bloody elections’.

I did not understood what he meant by that remark until three weeks later on the 22 March when I came to work and found the Defence Headquarters under siege by personnel of the State Guards Battalion. When I got to my office, I was informed by a female Corporal that there was a coup attempt the previous night”, Lt Gano further buttressed.

Forlornly, the Kanilai monster continues to be a thorn in the flesh of every patriotic Gambian. As anticipated by the Colonel, many gallant soldiers and officers of the GNA had been killed and others forced into hibernation by Jammeh since 21 march 2006. Some continue to languish in appalling prison conditions. No one is safe today in Banjul, even his most loyal Gambian house negroes are more at risk of disappearing into thin air than the Gambian farm negroes under Gambia’s slave-master. What is worse than being a refugee in your own country?

It is only in the Gambia that a president can openly threatens to kill people and he is applauded. “The opposition”, he said “many of them will die before the election.” Are we taking his threat with a pinch of salt or we just waiting for him to carry it out? In the past, the Kanilai monster has lived true to his words by carrying out any threat he issued publicly; most notably Mile II 9 execution. Colonel Cham was spot on in his assertion that the Gambia’s most dangerous criminal in a presidential attire has not only outlived his tenure but an obnoxious liability that must be removed by any means available and affordable.

My hope was spiced up by the lady of substance, Fatoumatta Tambajang on freedom radio. Her peppered speech and enviable efforts to get the opposition leaders come together and present a single candidate to remove Jammeh’s sorry ass from office in the December 2016 election are humbling. I hope her efforts will shame any of the opposition leaders intending to go solo. Like she noted, removing Jammeh from office is a national duty for every Gambian. If another Ndure Cham did not get him before the election, we must vote him out come polling day December 2016.

SORRY I INSULTED DICTATOR JAMMEH-THE SPITEFUL MONSTER

March 3, 2016
 Sulayman Jeng

Sulayman Jeng

PARTNERS IN CRIME

PARTNERS IN CRIME

The equation in President Jammeh’s world is for the oppressed to reconcile with his oppressor, the oppressed must first apologise to his oppressor. As a consequent, the Gambian nonconformists in the diaspora must apologize to the Banjul spiteful monster for challenging his undesirable human rights record and bad policies. Well, some already had but the Wolof orated Jain nah boka judoo gauge why boo ku nyu chaffin. Therefore, if Dictator Jammeh and his house Gambian Negroes believe it is morally responsible for him to wrong Gambians anyhow and time he desires with impunity, he should not be resentful when he and his mum get dressed in shiny loutish outfits. To this I will equally enhance when peaceful change of a repressive regime becomes unattainable, the oppressed are left with no other prize but violence to liberate themselves from the shackles of coercion.

“If you run away from your history, your history will come knocking down your door. One should always remain humble and not show off where one belongs to, but if your history is about to disappear, you need to remind them of who you are, where you are from and what is at stake”, Momodou Njie desolately recollected on his Facebook page as the history of his ancestor is obliterated by Gambia’s most dangerous criminal dressed as a statesman. Mr Njie be reminded monster Jammeh is not a saa mutter nyoo. A people are identified by their language, custom, believe, locality and history. The absence of either one of these may assimilate and/or obliterate them. George Orwell was conscious of this irrefutable fact when he posited, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history”. It is thus pertinent to affirm Dictator Jammeh’s renaming of Sayerr Jobe Avenue is a calculated moved to destroy the Jobens of Serre Kunda and drag the Gambia into devouring flames of violence as his sorry ass makes it to the exit. However, what I find unnerving is why Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy always executes Dictator Jammeh’s rotten and underworld deals. For instance, in 2000 when the poor students were murdered, she took the mic to exonerate Jammeh. Similarly, when Dayda Hydara was murdered, she led the devil’s delegation to his bereaved family. Again, when the Mile II 9 were executed, she pleasantly braved the mic while Jammeh flinched in the backstage; and now she has to preside over the renaming of Sayerr Jobe Avenue. A little bird has it she was teary as she renamed Sayerr Jobe Avenue. Oh, really? I do not know what was going on in her head at the time but what remains conclusive is she outperforms a drama queen. I cannot help but wonder why Jammeh is always delegating her for his dirty works. Perhaps, her continual readiness to clean her master’s mess explains why she is the longest serving member of the Dictator’s cabinet.

Forlornly, the likes of Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy are plentiful in the Gambia. They cheerfully drench their hands in pools of blood for Jammeh without a second thought. These undetectable silent shadows habitually unleash demoralising horrors on vulnerable Gambians caged in dark chambers every day. The late night arrests and disappearances have escalated to an unbearable point that an air-conditioned room becomes useless in Banjul as you wake up every hour sinking in your sweat from nightmares of being bundled up under the duvet of darkness by these dancing flickers. When last I checked, development did not mean reclining in one’s pool of blood with flattened bones for standing up against injustice. Is that the ‘developed’ Gambia we want? Although it is public knowledge that the Gambian Dictator speaks from his shit hole-Oop my bad, all the dirty jobs, killings, arrests, detention and tortures are continually executed on his behave by the Isatou Njie-Saidys. For how long shall we continue matching on with the frivolity that these Isatou Njie-Saidys are non-Gambians or duck behind the lame excuse “I am not interested in politics”? Oh hello! Are we serious? It is sickening to hear Gambians who are privy of Dictator Jammeh’s scary atrocities celebrate him as a compassionate leader and a pan-Africanist. For them, in a nutshell, the Gambian ruthless tyrant personifies development, compassion, stability, peace and security. Conceivably, they are either under the spell of self-denial or greed.

Compassion is a sympathetic consciousness of other’s distress together with a desire to alleviate it-Merriam-Webster dictionary. If this is anything to go by, how can they explain Jammeh’s constant issuing of icy threats on Gambia’s national television? Certainly it cannot be compassion. Furthermore, the Gambia under Jammeh is neither stable no peaceful. How many times has the Jammeh regime survived armed attacks? No stable government experiences an iota of insurgence. Moreover, peace is not only the absence of war but the epitome of safety to person and life, freedom of speech, justice and equality of the unequal before the law, free and fair electoral process. These are essential vitamins that the Jammeh regime is highly in deficit. Let us stop incarnating the proverbial ostrich by re-entombing our heads from the sand and tackling our demon head on. Until we do, Jammeh will continue doing what he does best.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

“MY CHALLENGE TO PRESIDENT JAMMEH”. LT LAMIN GANO

February 28, 2016

I have written 22 articles on why the Gambian needs a new President and her Armed Forces a new Commander-in-Chief. I do hope that you will accept my challenge so that there would be no need to publish them.

My Challenge to President Jammeh

My Dear President and Godfather,

IMG_3894 - CopySome political scientists, analysts and commentators have argued that a long tenure in office by a head of state erodes the balance of power between the people and the government thereby weakening the authority of autonomous legislatures, independent judiciaries, neutral electoral authorities, and competitive political parties. Overstaying in power distracts a president from implementing important policies, it contributes to political polarization and leads to authoritarianism/ dictatorships. Overstaying in power also promotes corruption and is a significant obstacle to economic development.

On the flip side of the coin, when leaders serve for a limited term in office, politics ceases to be viewed as a zero-sum game. In this way, ruling parties are able to cultivate new leadership which can carry on the successful policies of their former leaders while at the same time also correcting for past missteps. They can remake themselves in the public eye and adapt to the dynamic challenges of the world around them. As an advocate for fixed presidential term limits and good governance, I also share these views.

Your Excellency, I am aware that you have just been nominated by our great party to run for a fifth term in office. However, in a world where two term presidential limits is very much the norm, I urge you to reject this nomination as it is not binding/mandatory on you. There is still adequate time for the party secretariat to nominate another candidate to lead our party while you preside over a free, fair and peaceful election in December and then to hand over power to whoever the Gambian people choose as their next president. I do believe that 22 years in power is more than enough for any individual to lead a country in this 21st  Century.

This course of action would juxtapose Your Excellency on the list of the few African leaders who voluntarily and peacefully relinquish power thereby earning you a niche in the enviable club of the respected elderly world statesmen like Abdou Diouf of Senegal, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Tijan Kabbah of Sierra Leone just to mention a few. I believe that the goodness of such a move would outweigh all the shortcomings that your critics levy against you and I have absolutely no doubt that the kind, religious, forgiving and peaceful nature of the Gambian people would overcome whatever rancor, grieve or disappointments that they may have encountered/endured during your 22 years in power.

Personally, this is what I will do if you accept my challenge Mr. President. I will give up my ambition to become a Secretary General of the United Nations and immediately return home to campaign for the new APRC presidential candidate. Then after you have handed over power following the elections, I will continue to be your Aid de Camp/Security Officer and follow you to Kanilai or wherever you choose to go in the world. I am still reminiscing the two years we spent together serving our homeland. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Your Excellency and I recognize that you have made tremendous impact in the lives of many Gambians including my self and have brought about unprecedented developments/ improvements on various sectors of the country. But for your own peace of mind and the continuous well-being of your family; for the sake of the Gambian people; and for the sake of the patriotic and gallant men and women of the Gambia Armed and Security Services, please do not run for this year’s elections.

The good old days when we served our country together
President Jammeh and my humble self: The good old days when we served our country together

However, if you reject my challenge and really run for a fifth term, then you will lose a very loyal supporter in the person of my humble self. I have written 22 blog posts on why the Gambia needs a new President and her Armed Forces a new Commander-in-Chief.  I hope that you will accept my challenge so that there would be no need to publish my posts. Long live the Republic of The Gambia and long live the Gambia Armed Forces. Together, we can make The Gambia smile better by working for a Third Republic!!!!

Courtney of Lamin GANO Blog

THE TIME FOR UNITY IS NOW: OPEN LETTER TO GAMBIAN POLITICAL OPPOSITION

February 17, 2016

 

Gambia Presidential Aspirants we knew so far.

Gambia Presidential Aspirants we knew so far.

17 February, 2016

Dear Messrs Bah (NRP), Darboe (UDP), Fatty (GMC) Gomez (GPDP) Jallow (PPP), and Sallah (PDOIS):

The time for unity is now: open letter to Gambian political opposition

We, representatives of civil society organisations in the Diaspora, write to implore you to put aside any differences and stand as a united front, speaking with one voice that echoes our sentiments and collective desire for urgent and far-reaching reforms in The Gambia.  We appeal to you to bring pressure to bear on the Gambia government and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), to annul the Electoral Amendment Act 2015. The Act, has no legal basis due to its flagrant contradiction of the nation’s constitution.  It violates the regional Principles and Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance binding ECOWAS member states, to which The Gambia is a party. 

We, as civil society, reject the Act and are in full support of your 12 demands for electoral and constitutional reforms (focusing on PROTECTION OF FRANCHISE, PROTECTION FROM GERRYMANDERING AND-   ENSURING EQUAL, PROTECTION OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION, PROTECTION OF THE ABSOLUTE MAJORITY PRINCIPLE AND UNDILUTED CHOICE, REPRESENTATION PROTECTION FROM FRAUDULENT REGISTRATION PRACTICE, PROTECTION FROM THE ABUSE OF INCUMBENCY, and  TWO TERM LIMITATION ON TENURE FOR THE PRESIDENCY) presented on June 30, 2015 prior to passage of the Elections Amendment on July 7 of the same year.

Further to this, the Diaspora also organized a meeting for political parties and civil society to deliberate on the upcoming 2016 elections with a particular focus on the Electoral Amendment Act 2015.  In that meeting of October 2, 2015, we agreed that: opposition political parties should set minimum acceptable reforms to the electoral law that must be implemented ahead of the 2016 elections; and both the legitimacy of the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission’s mandate and all bills passed under his expired mandate must be challenged.

It is baffling, however, that opposition parties are themselves campaigning within the framework that they denounced as flawed and illegal. For the record: the electoral laws were flawed as far back as 2001 after the second round balloting was conveniently expunged from the statute books, and a first past the post system introduced; when the abuse of state resources by the APRC party was and remains the order of the day; when security forces practiced and continue to practice intimidation of opposition supporters; and when GRTS, which is a national broadcaster paid for by the public purse, is wholly monopolized by the APRC. The electoral processes were so bad and out of sync with accepted practices, norms and standards that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) refused to observe the elections in November, 2011. The organization stated that it was conducted in an atmosphere of “intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of the electronic media by the party in power, the lack of neutrality of state and parastatal institutions, and an opposition and electorate cowed by repression and intimidation.” The sub-regional bloc further stated then that conditions on the ground will not ensure a level playing field.

Today, the situation is much worse.  The illegitimate practices of electioneering in The Gambia as overseen by the IEC has now been legalized by a National Assembly that exists only to serve at the whims of President Jammeh.  The Amendment Act, as it stands, contradicts the principles of popular participation and undermines democracy and good governance in the process.  Participating in them validates these unsavoury political traits.

We maintain our stance that the Elections Amendment Act 2015 should not be allowed to stand.  Political participation of opposition parties has gotten tougher.  Aside from the prohibitive costs to vie for public office, this Amendment Act also places restrictions on citizens living outside of the country for more than 18 months, who have not paid taxes/worked in the country for the duration, to run for office. The Diaspora is responsible for injecting more than 90 million US dollars into the Gambian economy, through remittances. This is more than twice the size of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, and equivalent to net official development assistance (ODA) and official aid to The Gambia.  Yet we are not allowed to vote, and are now further restricted from running for office.

The recent announcement by the IEC for parties to comply with the Electoral Amendment Act 2015 and register before March 31st is absurd.  We are now waiting for a properly constituted IEC to announce a process they will deploy to ensure that the criteria set for party registration is consistent, transparent, and applicable to all parties, including the APRC. We hope an IEC with a legitimate chairperson will adopt an open vetting policy and process. We will scrutinize the entire exercise closely and launch a challenge if the processes and procedures continue to fall short of acceptable regional standards.

We will also support any person, and / or party, that wishes to challenge the illegal Act in court.  Given that the rule of law and the justice sector in The Gambia is heavily compromised and highly politicised, we stand ready and are united in challenging the matter in the ECOWAS community court. And we will not rest until the criminal move by the IEC, President Jammeh and the APRC to extinguish our basic rights is addressed. But we need the political opposition to stand up and speak with one voice to effectively advance the conditions agreed to in the 12-point plan and the Diaspora meeting.  Finally, the opposition parties must give a firm ultimatum to those responsible for the political quagmire the country finds itself in.

As we reflect on our 51 years of independence, this month, we must also realize that the nation is at a crossroads, and that it must not return to the same path treaded for the last four election cycles. It must pursue a different path.  The Diaspora and other citizens of the country will work with leaders of the political opposition all the way, provided that the right path is chosen to lead us on this journey of putting the country first.

Signed:

Civil Society Associations Gambia (CSAG)

Coalition for Change – The Gambia (CCG)

Democratic Union of Gambian Activists (DUGA)

Gambia Human Rights Network (GHRN)

Senegambia Human Rights Defense League (SHRDL)

UK Campaign for Human Rights – Gambia (CHRG)

Xc:       ECOWAS Committee on Political Affairs, Peace & Security

ECOWAS Early Warning System

ECOWAS Communications Department

            African Union: Democracy & Electoral Assistance Unit

            U.S. State Department: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

European Union: European External Action Service

            U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia

            British High Commissioner, The Gambia

            The International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance

The Media

 

 

 

For further information, please contact Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh +1(912) 332-9875 or at CoalitionGambia@gmail.com

UDP LEADER CHALLENGES DIASPORA GAMBIANS TO USE THEIR ECONOMIC LEVERAGE FOR POLITICAL CHANGE IN THE GAMBIA

February 16, 2016
UDP Secretary General Alhagie Ousainou Darboe

UDP Secretary General Alhagie Ousainou Darboe

In a strongly worded statement backed by tangible statistics, the leader of the United Democratic Party – Lawyer Ousainou Darboe has challenged Gambian Diaspora to use their economic leverage to help influence positive political change in the Gambia. In a blunt statement Mr. Darboe gave tangible statistics on the overwhelming economic contribution and influence Gambian citizens have on the Gambian economic and social status development. Mr. Darboe made this statement during a meeting of party supporters and Gambians in the UK which he also published on his Facebook page. Darboe under emphasized the kind of power the Gambian Diaspora possess to help positively influence peaceful political change in Gambia… below is Darboe’s statement as published on his face book page.

I am on a short private trip to the U.K, to meet the family and party supporters. I am very humbled by the receptions I received in London and yesterday in Birmingham. I am greatly touched with all the hospitality and kind words. Below is my short observation of the Gambian diaspora. I salute you all.

GAMBIAN DIASPORA’S ROLE IN THE DEMOCRATIC CHANGE

The total number of Gambians in diaspora from conventional sources such has the World Bank and IMF, is in the region of 135, 000 or 7% of the total population. This does not take into account the number of influx into Europe through the backway. You are not an ordinary segment of our population. Of this number, you have a significant proportion that is highly educated and skilled segment. Not to mention the youthful nature of this composition of the number. Contributions in terms of remittances alone to the Gambia accounts for 12% of the GDP. And this is through the official banking and foreign exchange bureaus.

Other impacts include direct support of families, neighbors, communities, schools, hospitals/health centres and mosques/masjids, and Churches (the list is not exhaustive). In return you get our individual and communal acknowledgements and ‘dua’. Now unlike Senegalese diaspora, your political capital need to be transform and your power base utilized to something politically formidable. Imagine the number of people you can influence in registering to vote against the incumbent.

Contribution of the Gambian Diaspora To The Gambia’s Economy

The contributions of remittances from Gambians living in the Diaspora to the country’s economy are huge. In essence, and without hesitation, the Gambia’s ailing economy is being sustained by the people in the Diaspora
· Recent figures from the Central Bank of the Gambia has shown that remittance of Gambians in the Diaspora has grown significantly over the last decade from a mere 2.5 per cent to nearly 10 per cent of the country’s GDP around 2013.

As we speak, a 2014 data from Central Bank indicate that inflows that are channelled through the recognized money exchange bureaus amounts to more than 85 million dollars. Now if you look at the money that go through the unofficial channels, we can safely say that Gambians living in the diaspora are contributing to the cumulative figure of more than $100 million dollars to the Gambian economy annually.

In the past, tourism and the export of peanuts, cotton and other agricultural products were the main source of foreign exchange in the Gambia. However, Central Bank data has shown that remittance of Gambians living abroad has now become the single largest source of foreign exchange for the country. · Now it is safe to say that it is you people in the diaspora who are sustaining the construction industry, housing development and other development activities that the Gambia is witnessing now.

The same also goes for the retail and wholesale trading sector. Without your remittances, this sector too would have collapsed. I believe no responsible government would side-line the diaspora. The government needs to improve the regulatory aspect of payment infrastructure to reduce the cost of remittances that you and Gambians bear. Government should also reduce the fee money transfer operators charge for remittance to increase inflows of remittances.

Diaspora now have to concretely play their part in politic. The number involve in politics is very small, and that have to change. Whatever changes we are fighting is impacting on all of us. Therefore, I urge diaspora to significantly get involve in the political life of the country and contribute in enhancing the utility of their respective political parties. I thank the event organisers in Birmingham, the gathering in London and all the private visitors. UDP is alive and strong today more than ever. Together, with your commitment and involvement, the end is in sight; let us not lose hope and determination. A special appreciation to Alkali Conteh for travelling all the way from the U.S to meet me in England, and to all my team here in U.K under the stewardship of Mr Kanjura Kanyi. Thank you everyone.

Courtesy of Gainako radio