Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

JAMMEH ANNOUNCES HIS FOREIGN EXCHANGE ROBBERY

May 5, 2015
Reads :2169
200 Dalasis note

The robber and our money!

The Office of the Gambian Dictator, Yahya Jammeh, has on Monday, May 4th, issued a press release, read on the country’s only national broadcaster, GRTS, dictating new exchange rates for the country’s depreciating currency, the Gambian Dalasis, against international currencies.

The press release, which came from the country’s President’s Office instead of the regulatory Central Bank, also banned the country’s citizens and residents from taking out of the country any cash amount more than $10,000 or its equivalent in Pound Sterling or Euros.

According to the President’s new foreign exchange rates, which come into effect from May 4th, the US dollar will now be exchanged at $1 to D34; whilst the British Pound Sterling will be exchanging at £1 to D50. This will be the new exchange rate in the Gambia despite the fact that in the world market, the Dalasi’s value remain far less than that amount. The Dalasis currently trades in the international market as D80.5 to £1 and D54 to $1.

The big question that begs answering, is what happens to the difference in the amount between the Jammeh exchange rate and that of the world market rate of the Dalasis, which in the case of the British Pounds is up to 30 Dalasis, being the difference between the Jammeh exchange rate of 50 Dalasis to £1, and the international exchange rate value of D80 to a £.

This seems to be the daylight robbery of the Gambian Dictator of his citizens hard earned money , as he stands to profit extremely from his state sponsored criminality.

In other words; every £1 send to a family member in the Gambia from henceforth, the Gambian Dictator benefits about 30 Dalasis from it, whilst the intended recipient receives half of their entitled amount. This is the robbery of Yahya Jammeh against the already poverty stricken Gambians, who are heavily dependent on the remittance support of their family members in the Diaspora.

Unsurprisingly; this is not the first time, the Gambian Dictator has committed such crime against the Gambian people. The Dictator did the same in 2012 in the name of “Operation No Compromise on Foreign Currency Hoarding” threatening the general public and licensed foreign exchange dealers against “speculative activities and currency hoarding”. He repeated the same in 2013 nullifying “All licences of foreign exchange bureaus issued by the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG)”.

And each time, the Gambian Dictator chooses his timing at around the time of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. During which, he is certain that the country’s predominantly Muslim population will be expecting much remittance support from their family members abroad.

KIBAARO CLOCKS THREE TODAY!

May 4, 2015
Reads :367
Dr Nobleman says! "Happy Easter to all those celebrating Easter today"

Dr Nobleman says! “Happy Birthday to Kibaaro!”

DR. NOBLEMAN SENDS SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY MESSAGE TO KIBAARO

Happy three years anniversary to Kibaaro News. The site started three years ago today, 4th May 2012. It has since recorded more than 13 millions hits, as recorded on our hits counter below.

A year ago, on 4th May 2014, during the site’s second year anniversary, Kibaaro’s hits counter had recorded 7 million hits at the time. A year before that the papers hit counter recorded 2 million. Today, on the third anniversary of the paper, Kibaaro’s hits counter has now recorded over thirteen million hits, which means the papers has attracted twice more than the number of visitors it had attracted in the previous years of its existence.

This could not have been achieved without the brilliant hard-work of all of the paper’s staff, contributors and management team, who have done fabulous job to get the paper this far.

For this reason, Dr. Nobleman invites all to join him in expressing kudos to our staffs: Site’s General Manager: Bamba Serigne Mass, Deputy General Manager, Pa Ousman Darboe; Radio Manager, Pa Modou Bojang; Site’s Alkaliba: Baye Sankareh; Finance Manager: Monica Njie; Newspaper Editor-in-Chief: Saul Jeng; Managing Editor: Yanks Darboe; and Landing Nyassi; Sarata Jabbi Dibba, Tijan Massaneh Ceesay, Imam Seedy Ali Janneh, Imam Muhammed Sarr, for their hard-work in ensuring that the medium succeeds in its goals of informing, educating and entertaining the people, particularly Gambians.

The Dr. further expresses his sincere gratitude to all our visitors, who had visited us over the years to read news and opinions, or listen to our enlightening radio programs.

Thanks to all those who strive to educate, inform and entertain!!!!

Well done Kibaaro News and Happy Anniversary!

GAMBIA ON THE BRINK: THE UDP CONVOY STANDOFF

April 19, 2015
Reads :1792
Senior Gambian Police IG meeting with the UDP Convoy on Saturday

Senior Gambian Police IG Sowe meeting with the UDP convoy on Saturday confirmed that his bosses will now issue the UDP convoy a permit to continue their tour on Monday. But do they need a permit to proceed – We examine in this editorial.

The arbitrary obstruction of a convoy of the Gambia’s main opposition political party, United Democratic Party (UDP) and its leader at Fass Njagga Choi, by Gambian Security forces, which had extended to more than 72hrs on Sunday, April 19, has once again evince a clear manifestation of the Gambian Dictator’s wanton disregard of the country’s constitution and rights of political parties and citizens.

The Gambian constitution does not require a bona fide registered political party to obtain police permission to tour or hold political rallies, unless where a public address system is to be used. The UDP had requested a permit to use a public addressing system (i.e. loud speakers) at their rallies during their intended 10 days countrywide sensitisation tour. The Gambia Police Force refused that request, but what was not and could not be refused by that police refusal, is their constitutional right to tour or hold rallies in the country without police permits, so long as they do not intend to use a PA system.

For some reasons, it seems the unlettered Gambian Police Force and their Commander in Chief, Dictator Jammeh, always misapprehend such requests for permits, as a permission to hold rallies with or without PA systems. Acting under that delusion, the Gambian Dictator and his Police chiefs have for long viewed their refusals of such permits, as refusal to hold any other rally by the affected political party period.

From that deduction, one could be forgiven to conclude that this was the reason why the Police barricaded the UDP convoy, since they had not given them the permit to hold PA system rallies. This might hold some water, if the Gambia government had been devoid of an Attorney General, but that is not the case. The Gambia government indeed has a legal advocate, who is acquainted with the constitutional provisions and obliged to advise the government and government bodies, such as the Police Force, about such constitutional provisions.

However, the fact that the impasse had outlived 48 hours, before a senior officer of the country’s Police Force, purporting to be an emissary of his chief IGP, came to meet with the opposition convoy on Saturday, April 18, confirming that his bosses’ had rescinded their initial refusal decision and promised to reissue a new permit for the convoy to proceed by Monday, April 20; without realising or acknowledging that their continuous barricading of the convey is unconstitutional, begs believe.

This is because, as explained above, there is no prerequisite requirement for the party to have a police permit, before they can tour the country or hold rallies that they have no intention of using PA systems. This is the case at hand, as the convoy has no PA system. It therefore plunges one into difficulty in comprehending the reasons, why the police are still barricading the convoy 72 hours on, on Sunday, April 19. The convoy should have been allowed to continue on their tour, by now, and any permit granted on Monday would have simply been a bonus to allow them to use a PA system at their intended rallies from Monday.

The fact that the authorities are still wanting on that willingness to respect the constitutional rights of the convoy, shows the wantonness and arbitrary nature of their decisions to refuse the permits and the ensuing blockage.

It further remains to be seen whether the same authorities will honour their promise on Monday or renege. As it is often said, one big problem with Dictators is there unpredictability. And if anything to gauge that truth, one need to only look at Jammeh’s own history and character, as depicted by people, who knew him best.

The litmus test however, is not whether Jammeh will issue the permit or not, but what the opposition will learn from the impasse. Indeed if Jammeh issues the permit, which he should have done from the onset, as he has no reason to refuse it, except out of his sheer arrogance and abuse of authority; then the lesson to be learnt by the opposition is that of defiance. Defiance ought to be the new mantra, from hence, to instil courage into the feeble minds and hearts of the Gambians.

If Jammeh reneges on his promise to issue the permit by Monday, the mantra should still remain defiance. And if the route ahead is barricaded from Fass Njagga Choi, then the UDP convoy should not make it as a plan B to remain at the same Fass Njagga Choi. Since the question that will attract, is for how long will they have to remain there? Secondly, is that particular location their vantage position? These are significant questions that require their contemplation.

It was speculated and later corroborated, that the authorities chose Fass Njagga Choi deliberately, simply because of its remoteness and less population to execute their arbitrary blockage. It therefore serves and suits their purpose for the convoy to remain intercepted at that remote and less densely populated village forever. However, it would not suit their purpose and comfort, if the convoy take a detour at present and re-route their tour to continue at the Kombos, where they can attract more support and create all sorts of problems for the authorities. Then their defiance will yield even more results.

This is something that should be contemplated by the opposition convoy, as a plan. It does not necessarily have to be plan B, but just a plan. There is an ancient adage that says: ‘the running backward of a Ram is not a sign it’s fleeing, but it’s quest for more power and energy to attack’. Therefore, a return to Banjul and the Kombos, should not be excluded as a sign of weakness, but a strategy to hit the tyrant, where it hurts most.

Furthermore, although the impasse had prolonged, but it must be borne in mind that every minute of it, is a victory for the convoy, as the Dictator never contemplated it to last this long. They thought the opposition would have melted away by now. Therefore, the enduring of the defiance itself reinforces the dogma that the defiance that started on 16 April, must continue against Jammeh’s wanton disregard of rights in the country.

The litmus test, therefore, is whether the opposition parties will subscribe to that dogma or revert back to the same old tactics of the past 20 years, which had proven to be very ineffective.

GAMBIA ON THE BRINK – AS CALLS FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE REVERBRATE; AMIDST GOVERNMENT BARRICADE OF UDP OPPOSITION CONVOY

April 17, 2015
Reads :2007
udpconvoy2

UDP convoy blocked on the road by the Gambia’s paramilitary thugs for almost 24 Hours

paramilitarythugs

Gambia’s Police Intervention Thugs

After refusing the country’s main opposition party, United Democratic Party (UDP), legal permits to embark on a 10-days countrywide sensitisation tour without any reasonable explanation, the Gambia government had on 16 April 2015, resorted to some of the worst despotic and cowardly actions ever witnessed in the tiny West African country. By denying freedom of movement to the country’s main opposition leader, Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and his party stalwarts, to continue their party’s sensitisation tour of the country sanctioned by the country’s constitution.

The move which angered Lawyer Darboe, who had for long been criticised for his advocacy of restraint and obedience to the law, forcing him to call for his supporters to defy police orders of his party supporters to abort their intended sensitisation tour and return home. The move had further angered the party faithful, who braced themselves for what they feared could become a bloodbath.

Meanwhile, the Gambian dissidents in the Diaspora, who view the impasse as a window of opportunity for a potential civil revolution in the country to end the 21 years tyranny of Dictator Yahya Jammeh, wasted no time in taking over the social media to call for Gambians in the country to take a stand in solidarity with the country’s main opposition leader to end tyranny in the country.

udpconvoy

UDP convoy on the road

The UDP’s intended 10 days tour began yesterday with a press conference held at the party leader’s compound in Serrekunda. Thereafter, the party’s convoy headed to the country starting with town-hall style meeting in the remote villages of Lower Niumi in the North Bank Regions of the country. The convoy was scheduled to spend the first night at Niumi Lamin.

However from the onset, the UDP convoy was constantly followed by members of the Gambia’s Police Intervention Unit (PIU), who were initially thought to have been dispatched to escort them. They held meetings in few villages in the Lower Niumi, before they were finally stopped by the pursuing PIU officers at a village called Fass Njagga Choi and prevented from pursuing their journey.

udpsupporters1

Brave women supporters of the UDP

 

The UDP convoy however refused to be cowed and decided not to move an inch backward. This resulted to the impasse between the convoy and PIU, forcing the closure of the main road linking the Lower Niumis to traffic on both side.

The impasse continued throughout Thursday night to Friday, 17 April 2015, as more party sympathisers and other opposition supporters join the convoy.

The party’s faithful and Gambian dissidents in the Diaspora have also commenced fund raising initiatives and media campaigns to galvanise and support the UDP convoy, as well as intensify their calls for Gambians, especially the youths at home, to seize the opportunity and turn this defiance into a successful civil revolution to bring an end to the tyranny of Yahya Jammeh in the Gambia.

However, it seems the Gambian authorities had deliberately decided to wait for the UDP convoy to reach the little hamlet of Fass Njagga Choi to execute their callous and cowardice act of barricading them. The obvious reason for such, could simply be that the paranoid Dictator of the Gambia, Yahya Jammeh is too scared to have such an impasse in the densely populated Kombos of the country or the Capital, Banjul. This is due to his fears of arousing civil strife, the likes of which, which had successfully brought down the regime of his former mentor, Muammar Kaddafi of Libya and Blasé Camporee of Burkina Faso.

Kibaaro will endeavour to keep you posted on this unfolding situation in the Gambia.

THE NIGERIANS HAVE DECIDED. WILL GAMBIANS FOLLOW COME 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION?

April 1, 2015
Reads :711

 

THE DICTATOR WHO MUST GO

THE DICTATOR WHO MUST GO

DEFEATED BADLUCK JOHNATHAN

DEFEATED BADLUCK JOHNATHAN

In spite of Nigeria’s turbulent political history plagued by obnoxious corruption, for the first time in its history an incumbent president is democratically voted out of office. Nigerians had come out of a gloomy election with a spectacular result and a people’s leader. To the chagrin of many who predicted Goodluck Johnathan will not concede defeat, he not only phoned to congratulate Buhari but also emphasized, “Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country are more important than anything else”.  His phone call to Buhari has averted the country from descending into a bloody mayhem.

Many keen observers of the presidential election concluded that Goodluck Johnathan lost due to five main factors: the election was harder to rig, insecurity, united opposition, poor economy and a time for change all of which a familiar tales in the Gambia under Dictator Jammeh who had a chip of vengeance on his shoulder from the word go. Senegal did it and now the Nigerians of all people. OJ has already set the pace in his recent Brikama rally in which he challenged Dictator Jammeh to explain to all Gambians how he acquired his huge overnight wealth. Furthermore, he dared the notorious NIA who graced his Brikama rally uninvited to go and tell their lord Dictator Jammeh “I said it. Go tell Yaya Jammeh I said it”. “Courage”, Ambrose Redmoon explained “is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear”.

It is an open secret that 99.9% of Gambians cannot wait to see Yahya Jammeh make it through the exit. As a consequent, come 2016 presidential election, your desire should be declared by your vote. For those who are intimating that Yaya will not concede defeat, they have a lot to learn from Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and Goodluck Johnathan of Nigeria. If majority of registered Gambian voters vote against Dictator Jammeh, he will be left with no choice but hand over office to whoever wins.  What is now crucial is for the opposition parties to put their differences aside, come together and contest as a united front against the incumbent dictator. National interest must take precedence over party ideology and empty pride. Once the IEC realises that the opposition is credible and serious, it will be forced to implement the necessary reforms which will stamp out any form of electoral malpractice and vote rigging. Unless that is attained little or nothing will be achieved come 2016 presidential election.

Goodluck Johnathan as compared to Dictator Jammeh had all state apparatus at his disposal as an incumbent candidate but when the people chose to express their wish, their voice prevailed. No amount of security intimidation or bribery could drown their voice.  It is about time we, as Gambians; also understand that power lies in our hands and not on Dictator Jammeh.  20 years of brutal dictatorship is enough. Time for change is now.  We lost the opportunity on 30th December 2014, so let us not let 2016 presidential election slip away from us to effect the change we all yearn for.

 

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

GAMBIA STUDENTS’ STRIKE TOPPLES UNIVERSITY VICE CHANCELLOR

March 28, 2015
Reads :1719
Mad Chancellor of the University of the Gambia - Dr. Prof. Yahya Jammeh

Mad Chancellor of the University of the Gambia – Dr. Prof. Yahya Jammeh

Sacked Vice Chancellor, Prof. Muhammed Kah of UTG. Next you to be a Dr. Prof to stay long at your post!

Sacked Vice Chancellor, Prof. Muhammed Kah. 

Popular university students’ strike in the Gambia on Wednesday, 26 March 2015, has forced the country’s President, Yahya Jammeh to remove the country’s first native Vice Chancellor of the only University of the Gambia, Professor Muhammadou M.O. Kah. Professor Kah’s marching orders came through a press release issued by the Office of the President on Thursday, 26th March, barely a day after the students took to the streets demanding change of the University’s new grading system.  

The press release from the President’s Office however feigned the reasons for the Professor’s removal, as a mere replacement, citing his successful completion of a five-year term of office. No further reasons, were given as to why that term was not extended or could not have been extended.

Furthermore, the Professor’s wife, Dr. Jainaba Kah, was also removed, by the same press release, from her position as Director General of the Management Development Institute (MDI). Again, no reasons were forwarded for her removal too, except the same successful completion of term of office.

Both Professor Kah and his wife have however been recycled to board chairs of their two previous institutions of UTG and MDI respectively, with Professor Kah given additional advisory position at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology,

Professor Kah is now succeeded by his former deputy, Dr Omar Jah Jnr. as the new Vice Chancellor of the University of the Gambia, whilst Mr Alieu K. Jarju takes over at the Management Development Institute as DG.

The Professor’s relieve from office came shortly after the popular student manifestation in the streets, which had not been seen in the country for over a decade, demanding change in the University’s grading system, which was introduced by Professor Kah and also became its main ardent supporter.

Hundreds of the discontented UTG students took to the streets  denouncing the introduction and raft of other discontented issues; such as the 10 percent increment of their tuition fees.

The students mainly comprising of the second, third, and fourth year undergraduates, set out for a march from the law faculty in Kanifing to the Ministry of Higher Education in Kotu to express their grievances. They chanted ‘WE NEED OUR GRADES BACK’, a manifestation that has not been seen in the repressive West African nation, since the brutal crackdown of similar student demonstrations of April 10 & 11, 2000.

The students were however intercepted at the  Kairaba Avenue by the Minister for Higher Education, Dr Abubacarr Senghore, who pleaded with them to return to their campus for a dialogue. Shortly after their return to their campus, three other cabinet Ministers joined the fray, including the Ministers for: Basic Education, Energy, and Interior – to dissuade the student from continuing with their intended protest.

The atmosphere of the dialogue meeting was described by Standard Newspaper as highly charged characterised with jeering, boos and heckles from the students.

The new grading system raised the score for distinction from 80 percent to 90 percent. This had attracted the students discontent, as they deemed it unfair. They said they tried all avenues of complaints, but their complaints fell to the deaf ears of the university’s administrators, forcing them to take to the streets to manifest their frustrations  against Yahya Jammeh’s World Number One University.

“The students support standards, we support the new grading system, but the problem of the students is the way the new grading system is applied,” Mr Bakary Fatty, a student leader, told The Standard Newspaper at the scene of the protest. He argued that applying the new grading system across the board will be tantamount to a breach on the part of the UTG. He said it should instead apply to new students while allowing the current students to continue with the old grading system. “Some students collected their transcripts only to discover that there are two grading systems on one transcript,” Fatty said. “That means they will spend four years at the university working hard to earn a degree and spend their entire life defending that degree because there are inconsistencies in the grading systems.”

The student leader advanced that after initial complaints, the senate had met and agreed to revert to the old grading system, but Vice Chancellor Kah returned from a trip and reversed the senate’s decision. “So, some students are saying that he was trying to use the senate as a rubber stamp,” the law student added.

At the dialogue meeting of Wednesday, Vice Chancellor Kah continued his defence of the new grading system by explaining the mechanics of it. He clarified that it is neither retroactive nor punitive and emphasised that the new grading system is in line with international standards and students should rather work harder to better prepare themselves for life after university. “I am tasked with the responsibility of building a world class university and this measure is about the integrity and quality of the university and those are non-negotiable,” he reiterated to the students.

With regards to the 10 percent annual increment of the University tuition fees, Professor Kah defended that policy too noting that the university has in fact been too lenient to the students regarding their tuition fee payments, as defaulting in payment is commonplace. “Contrary to the misunderstanding, this university does not in fact increase tuition,” he said, noting that the increment is in line with the hikes in the prices of products and services.

However, the students disputed that justification as bogus. One of the students, who spoke to the Standard newspaper Gambia, explained that they “said it is because of the inflation, but you do not need to be a student of economics to know that inflation in this country is averaged at 6 per cent. So, why the 10 per cent increment?” 

ABDOULAYE WADE CRIES FOUL OVER SON’S SENTENCE!

March 25, 2015
Reads :1328
Father's joy now becomes his agony. Former President Wade decorating his son Karim Wade in 2011

Father’s joy now becomes his agony! Former President Wade decorating his son Karim Wade in 2011

Former Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade cries foul over the sentencing of his son, Karim Wade, who was on Monday, 23 March 2015, sentenced to six years imprisonment and fined $230m (£150m), for what the Judge of a specially constituted Tribunal to try his case described as his illegal enrichment, during the 12 years reign of his father, Abdoulaye Wade. 

Judge Henri Gregoire Diop said Wade had hidden away funds in offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and Panama. “The facts before us constitute illicit enrichment by Karim Wade,” the judge was quoted as saying.

One of the government lawyers in the case, Mr Simon Ndiaye described the sentence as “historic decision not only for Senegal but also for the whole of Africa and all those who defend responsibility, citizenship and good governance.”

However, Karim Wade’s lawyer, Mohamed Seydou Diagne said he would appeal the verdict, contending that the anti-corruption court did not have jurisdiction over the case and it was politically motivated.

Meanwhile, in Senegal itself, the sentence continues to polarize opinions. Many are questioning the insufficiency of the evidence relied upon by the Judge to sentence Mr Wade Junior. Whilst others, including former President Wade himself, are questioning the motive behind the trial, describing it as a political witch-hunt of President Macky Sall against his old time friend, now political foe, Karim Wade. Others feared that the sentence of Karim could set a bad precedent for Senegal, which could usher in the witch hunt of succeeding governments against their preceding governments.

On 4 February 2015, former president Wade told thousands of his opposition supporters that he was prepared to “give his life” to prevent the conviction of his son on corruption charges. This had provoked President Sall to issue a warning last week that his government would not tolerate any attempt to destabilise the West African country following the court ruling.

Karim Wade, who was once dubbed as the Minister for Heaven and Earth, due to his many ministerial portfolios, during his father’s reign, was nominated on 21 March 2015 to become the Presidential candidate for his father’s party, the Party of Socialist Democrats of Senegal (PDS). He is now likely to be disqualified to run for the next Senegalese Presidential elections expected to take place in 2017.

It could be recalled that Karim Wade was first arrested and questioned by the Senegalese Police on 3 July 2012 on suspicion of corruption. This was 4 months after the election of President Macky Sall, as President of Senegal, on 25 March 2012.

On 17 April 2013 Karim was remanded in custody on corruption charges, after he was accused of accumulating a fortune valued at $1.3 billion. He made his first appearance before the Special Tribunal on 31 July 2013, where he presents himself as a “political prisoner”.

However, on 11 November 2014, the prosecutor to the Special Tribunal, Alioune Ndao was fired and replaced by Cheikh Tidiana Mara.

On March 21, Karim was chosen to be the Democratic Party of Senegal’s candidate of the next presidential election. However, that hope dashed on 23 March 2015, when he was sentenced six years imprisonment for corruption.