Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

YOUR A B C AND 1 2 3 OF POLITICAL ECONOMY BY SARJO BAYANG PART 18: ALIENATION OF IMMIGRATION AND THE ECONOMY

June 6, 2018

SARJO BAYANG-A SOCIAL THINKER

Depending on your economic status and professional ranking in another country you are called immigrant or have the class title of expatriate. Check the meaning of these two words.

Politics of immigration has underpinning economic instruments of measurement that we may not all know or see, observing by the naked eye. In the open, it is clearly seen that immigrants are profiled according to classified economic ranking. That fact remains unshaken.

History of immigration will be omitted with crucial missing information without proper account of first explorers as immigrants who ventured faraway territories searching for wealth or fame. Discovery of valuable treasure triggered an economic interest that saw the emergence of colonies.

Deep search into many history books by renown scholars failed to reveal the mission of ancient explorers as immigration. If immigration means settlement by travellers in the host country, then colonial settlers constituted the first leg of immigrants without being called that name.

Free universal movement of people in ancient society permitted the occasion for exploration and exploitation. Colonialism as historical epoch paved the way for massive scale control over people and resources which continues until modern face of globalisation as we know it today.

Economic ValueContribution of Immigrants

Immigrant contribution account for high volume wealth being enjoyed by others. They accept low wages where others enjoy high salaries. The informal sector employers take undue advantage of immigrant workers to generate and grow their profit through low wages for all the hard work.

Remittances and other forms of support rendered by immigrants account for larger contribution in their native countries. By account of their value adding contribution, immigrants are key economic stakeholders for their native and host countries. Unfortunately, political injustice permits the alienation of immigrants by both native and host countries.

Considering the cost and enduring pain of travel, there are always good reasons why people undertake journey to faraway territories.

For some people travel is an adventure. Number of people travel for the joy of it. Business travel is mostly for economic reasons.

Apart from geographical boundaries, there are also flags of economic barriers in place preventing immigrants.

Occasionedby universal movement, all countries put in measures where people considered economic burden are restricted while those seen to make value adding contributions are encouraged to stay temporal or permanent. That is the economic logic of immigration politicians often don’t talk about in the open.

Immigration is a challenge faced by those moving and the ones that control their movement.

Immigrants Working More for Less

From least developed to higher ranking economies, immigrant workers are most ready to take up tougher challenging jobs than the rest.

For the immigrant it is a matter of readiness to do something with their valuable time. There is hardly an occasion for pick and choose. Immigrants often work round the clock sometimes for least paid jobs. They work long hours to make up any difference in the pay gap.

Immigrant workers are prone to colossal scale of marginalisation and exploitation. Profiteering commercial business outfits raise and grow their capital mostly from exploiting immigrant workers.

Job security is not mentioned when immigrant workers are hired. That is why they get easily fired. Although laws may be in place as though out to protect everyone, immigrants do not always enjoy the same level of protection in some countries.

Alienation of Immigration

Experience of alienation meted out to immigrants comes in diverse ways. In some countries immigration rules are not friendly enough. Besides legal and political restrictions, immigrants also face social barriers.

By experience in some countries, immigrants are granted political and legal status which does not readily translate into economic integration.

Immigration as we know it today came about with bars raising higher and tougher travel restrictions imposed in protection of mapped out territories.

Alienation of immigration taking economic and social dimension makes the challenge most real. In some places and communities, alienation of others outside their immediate habitat is not a matter of nationality.

There are communities with least or no tolerance for anyone from elsewhere. They want to remain by themselves with no room for new settlers. This type of alienation is seen even in some developed nations, especially within remote communities.

Social alienation in the experience of immigrants varies. Immigrants are profiled in different outfits. There is this general belief that immigrants are job grabbers or exploiters of business opportunities. The truth is that in some countries, immigrants have more to offer than others. They take up jobs that others consider less paying or rather inferior. Immigrants also accept less commitment from employers who enjoy the free hand of quick hire and fire without legal penalties. Some immigrants create employment; thereby contributing to taxable revenue.

Nationalism and protection of economic interest are two common reasons why talks about immigration generate lot of noise.

Undocumented immigrants face even more challenging constraints amid the ugly experience of alienation.

Misinformed sectors of society who normally form good numbers tend to believe that immigrants are alien invaders from another planet. Those least informed in society act, talk, and like to molest immigrants. For some of them, immigrants simply don’t deserve good life. Such extremes are found in deprived communities or within a class of those with antiimmigrant sentiments even within society.

Success stories of immigrants

When immigrants face the hostile environment infested with alienation by governments and individuals, it sometimes fuels their determination to succeed.

After all the alienation coupled with antagonistic political environment experienced during their stay in another country, some immigrants rise higher.

Some immigrants having acquired life changing skills land themselves on lucrative job positions within the host nation or upon return to native homeland.

Success stories of immigrants include those becoming high profile politicians, doctors, lawyers, professors, business tycoons, and other key responsible post holders in public or private sector.

Immigrants have also become state ministers. Others have risen to the position of President or Prime Minister in their native homeland.

Some countries have encouraged immigrants become value adding contributors in various disciplines.

Solving the immigration quagmire

Immigrants constitute most active population of human capital from somewhere. Given the opportunity and enabling environment, some immigrants have value adding contribution wherever they are. It is also true that other immigrants are not all that resourceful.

In all nations, reality of immigration relates to political, economic, social, and legality. The bottom line is that immigrants can be assets or liabilities. Alienation of immigrants has consequences.Politicians have the challenge of dealing with immigration in ways that create best shared gains.

YOUR A B C AND 1 2 3 POLITICAL ECONOMY

March 24, 2018

SARJO BAYANG-A SOCIAL THINKER

Part 12: What A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy mean

About politics in relation to economic reality of society, both prevail with numbers and letters. The count begins with period in political office according to the constitution. Numbers extend to include economic value translated in money count. Lettering spells out who the rulers are and those to be ruled on what terms. It also includes what will be provided during a term of political office. Thus, we have A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy in perspective.

Curious about why social reality linked to the economy gained the popular name political science, I decided thinking outside the box in exploration for clarity.
The more I tried to accept political science for what traditional academics seek to impress, the harder my mind outside the box defeats me. Then I thought something deserves a better look in the eyes of truth not just how everyone is told, but objective reality at best reasoning.

My years of critical reflection and observing various experts revealed to me their ability to simplify complex issues while the rest of us complicate simple issues adding to more confusion
Learning the alphabet and numbers could have been a complex encounter for the unschooled, especially children. Thanks to our elementary school teachers for sinking it in with fun and sometimes strictness.
Thinking about it critically, all that you needed in your toolbox of schooling are set of letters and numbers better called A B C and 1 2 3.

For the remaining of your educational pursuit along the schooling track, how you associate and utilise those letters and numbers at whatever frequency or scale makes any difference between you and the rest of us.

Then I concluded without hesitation that creating better political awareness is possible by loading toolbox of everyone in society the A B C and 1 2 3 of economic reality binding all of us the political arena houses.

By my account of critical exploration social reality in the context of politics and the economy belongs to another domain. That in my view is something else beyond political science as many of us are made to believe without asking pertinent questions. Those issues below provide the inroad on our journey in search of economic life line political power hinges on.

The Concept and Perspective of Your A B C and 1 2 3 Political Economy

Everywhere in society when people talk about politics, they relate everything to economic conditions. People want good roads, schools, hospitals, recreational facilities, policing for security, and plenty of food on the table. They expect politicians to do something about these and many other needs. Economic reality tells us there is not enough for getting everything everybody wants at every time. Therefore, if we are unable to get so much of what we want the rule says we go by the economic thinking of making a choice in distributing our limited resources to get optimal satisfaction. We settle for what gives us the best possible satisfaction. In that way of deciding what is best for us according our means, the rich and poor enjoy similar level of satisfaction although with vastly different possession. That is why both rich and poor rub shoulders in the market or street corners laughing about different matters. You still smile about what gives you the occasion to do so.

Individually we all make personal economic decisions based on resources at our disposal. The economic principle of scarcity and choice governs us all and that is true even for those who may not be aware of such rational allocation in principle. To an extent everyone performs the job of an economist without being called by that name. Nobody in their right frame of mind will prefer squandering limited resources at hand. Knowing it or not, we are all faced with this critical economic situation requiring rational choice over limited resources.

Collectively, the national economy is life sustaining property of everyone in society. Government is the organised establishment given permission to make the rational decision on behalf of everyone. Money is collected by a sitting government from various sources and kept for everyone to benefit from. The same government pays specialised institutions and individuals employed to facilitate distribution. Those employed as financial milking agents collect money. Others are employed as custodians of what is collected. Final decision is taken by those with political authority; people at the top. We are not sure if people given the gigantic responsibility of making crucial economic decisions by any occasion utilise high capacity and competence or simply rely on impulse. That is where everyone needs to think seriously before placing in the hands few the keys to our collective economic powerhouse as they assume the lofty political seat of authority. That includes holders of key positions at local council level. Local councils are by extension the financial milking fat cows of public revenue. Leaving them free may result to so much milk spilling at a cost.

Further exploration of politics and the economic superstructure reveals how we are all linked to the national grid of values. It is fatal error by some of us when we think of handing political power to groups and individuals who end up taking full custody of our shared resources without being competently scrutinised. The risk is too high when people are handed the exclusive power over resources affecting livelihood of everyone in society.

Key line of enquiry and overall orientation of Your A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy is in the perspective that by empowering an individual as head of government or their political party through votes, they are being handed keys to the economic powerhouse. Doing so just by sweet talks and soul soothing cool promises can be risky at very high cost to everyone.
Everyone in society has very high stakes with high interest to deserve high power and influence over collective resources. For some reasons many of us simply resign and surrender to the few that promise they will manage our economy when we hand them political power.
People deserve to make informed choices and that is better done when everyone adequately knows that political power is linked to economic livelihood of all in society. That information is hidden from the rest of us. The need to make it simple is what motivates Your A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy.

How Scientific is Political Science?

Considering how unpredictable our politicians can be, one is inclined to wonder how scientific political science becomes. Granted that science does not create and that scientific task in bulk is lot about observation then the job of political scientists becomes more challenging than ever thought about.
Whereas scientific research involving experiments relies on evidence with uniformity, then observation and behaviour patterns of politicians will break all test tubes in the lab without clean results.

Yes, the objective of drawing valid conclusion from critical assessment cannot be applied to political samples just so easily. Political behaviour in social relations is such a fat bite for easy chewing. Patterns are so diverse that laws of precision as applicable in science proves more difficult in measuring the behaviour of this complex social person taking political nose dive at everyone’s risk.

Calling politics social science is still not enough making a case for observing, analysing, and drawing valid conclusion from such variety in behaviour patterns. Similarities in political conduct does not make the job any easy for near perfection. It is baffling how a body of knowledge as political science remains scientific by word and action.
The complexity of political behaviour deepens further when you think principles apply to the letter. Given that party politics operates within the bounds of constitutions and other regulatory instruments, we still see the same party shifting gears with any change of leadership.

Experience provides ample evidence at hand indicating that no two set of political grouping perform at perfectly regulated order of dispensation. Personalities weigh in with their special likes and dislikes which changes the game as each captain prefers, without needing to obey the referee.

In all nations around the world, any new political dispensations come up with their preferred ways of dealing with the economy, regulations, and laws as they deem fit. Nothing stays the same. New ministers take up established old jobs and sail with those they feel safe along the journey.

From the critical perspective of unpredictable political behaviour and dynamics of social awareness, political science faces increasing challenges beyond existing book knowledge. So much has changed and lot more lined up for continued change due to technology and patterns in social awareness. The need for resettling the drawing board can be no better time.
Goalposts requiring shifting with rules of the game subjected to changes. Politics can no longer be the same game as usual. There is economic life line in politics where everyone is connected and deserving to be catered for.

Everyone Connected to the Economic Life Line of Politics

Elsewhere in the series on Your A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy, we explored the economic link to whole society where everyone is connected. All the time majority of us take politics for granted as though we are not counted. We surrender our rights and commit serious risks in politics thereby bearing potentially damaging economic implications.

How we all relate to the national economy is no bedtime story telling for lulling little children in sleep. The truth is that politicians by their majority deviate from discussing economic reality in total seriousness. They say one thing when seeking votes. Once seated in power, they do exact opposite and feel free to bend rules or change them to suit their momentary personal goals while in authority.

Listen to that politician telling you how they think of making changes by promise of better sanitation, healthy cashflow, booming economy and all others. If you ask how that is possible, half of the politicians don’t rely on any concrete plans with resources assured. Most likely, they know what their limitations are but will never want to scare voters by telling you real facts and figures.

If people complain about lack of money, some politicians may be thinking of printing more bank notes as possible solution to acute cash shortage in society. Without a productive economic base, will people chew bank notes for survival at all. Of course not. Unhealthy cashflow is like bad blood transfusion causes more illness. In case of the national economy, pumping more money chasing after few goods and services indicates economic sickness at all levels of society. There is no enough political muscle to keep a sick economy alive even over the shortest run. Politicians must stop tongue twisting deception and learn to speak clear economic language to those voting for them. People deserve positive change in their living conditions. The good life that motivates politicians to seek that high office is what ordinary people in society also want. Politics is national grid for total economic settlement of everyone. You are equally connected like anyone.

The political Arena is one big Social Lab not just for Experiments

Thinking of it in broad dimension, entire political dispensation places everyone in one big social lab with experiments carried on real people and real economy. Politicians test their ideas by coming up with schemes that may not be readily feasible. They decide about matters at conference rooms in the absence of key stakeholders like the tax payer public.
Should anything go wrong with ideas that politicians put to test without second thought, the damage is extended beyond them. Just because it takes public resources, individual politicians or their parties hardly take responsibility. One failure leads the way to more failures when priorities are not properly set in right order.

Dictatorship is worse with experiment on public resources due to their excessive political power. They are not alone. We see numerous cases where public resources are squandered with little or no value adding effect. Politicians are not punished for putting public resources at risk of failure. They have mandate and therefore use it to their maximum personal advantage.
Matters get more serious when politicians exercise power without recourse to policy and procedures. Some politicians feel they are above regulated conduct which misleads them to carry out resource consuming experiments at prohibitive high costs.

The point needing to take home is that politicians around the world are granted unrestricted access to public resources. If they are not sensible and considerate, that can lead to abuse of power. Some of them get punished once out of power. They would have already done extensive damages beyond repair.

Knowing that some politicians cannot resist the temptation of abusing office power through corruption it is most prudent subjecting sitting public office holders to competent scrutiny.
When citizens subject their political post holders to scrutiny in good spirit that is not offensive to the public post holder. On the other hand, advocacy and scrutiny in pursuit of good governance can be done with utmost responsibility. It will be wrong and seen offensive where citizens cross the boundary of their responsible conduct towards public office holders as seen in extreme situations where the occasion does not call for such.

The voting public has responsibility to scrutinise public office holders by refusing to remain quiet as docile spectators. Political experiments involving huge cost to public resources are open to scrutiny thereby mitigating any losses.

Politicians are meant to be competent economic drivers of society

Everyone looking for public office in political capacity will be doing more justice by demonstrating working knowledge of the national economy.
Politicians without working knowledge of how the national economy runs will put public resources at risk. Due to distorting images associated with some politicians, even the better ones face tough challenges.

It is not reasonable expecting every political office holders to shine as Class A Economist. The truth is that even those we bank on as economists guiding political officer bearers, not all of them pass the test of times.

Highly competent financial experts like their counterpart economists are seen being swallowed by debts to their throat. That is because they are unable to utilise book knowledge in real life situation. Some economist by title are also entangled by daily challenges of real life economic situations. There are economic models that have failed in some nations where bulk of our branded economists are trained.

Perhaps with working knowledge of how the economy operates through prudent allocation of resources, our politicians will keep their feet on the gas pedal and propel the nation to everyone’s desired prosperity.

Your A B C and 1 2 3 of Political Economy seeks to stimulate public interest by focusing attention on how everyone relates to the national economy. In that context, those who are licenced to drive the economy on the superhighway of politics genuinely require the right tools and proper driving ability for most assuring journey to prosperity we all deserve.

YOUR A B C AND 1 2 3 POLITICAL ECONOMY

March 14, 2018

SARJO BAYANG-A SOCIAL THINKER

Part 10: Politics and Education

To mistake education for classroom schooling is an error committed by most of us without our realising it. Education is social property while schooling up to higher education standards belongs to institutions.

Everywhere in the world education precedes schooling and extends beyond school. Those that control schooling decide when to start or finish. They peg it at a price and dish our so much for anyone willing to pay in measured terms while education is beyond measure.
Social education on the other is free. You learn your first language by free association with people around. Not needing to call anyone your teacher, knowledge of social reality develops over time.

Schooling does not register or give marks for what we learn from social education as children or afterwards. Animals get education without being schooled.
One interesting contrast or rather big contradiction of measured schooling (the politics of education) is the fact that where two or more persons share equal level of certification some of them prove to be more knowledgeable than others. Viewed from critical perspective only education provides knowledge while schooling serves the purpose of politics.
If we continue to bank on only knowledge supposed to be delivered to us by occasion of schooling, the balance of right thinking diminishes to such levels that society will be populated by more educated fools over longest period.
Governments have taken up the gigantic task of managing everyone including those opposing them. That requires providing the enabling environment where society gets further education beyond schooling.

Educating a population for enhancing human capital gainful resourcefulness is a task beyond classroom schooling. Everyone is born as an input to society with potential to add value for optimal shared gains. In life some people grow to be more resourceful than others due to various reasons including barriers and facilities along the way.

Education is not all about numbers

Building schools and extra classroom blocks is not enough. Educational standards need to fulfil quality requirements for competitive advantage in all areas of competence. Providing good education needed for economic advancement is therefore not mere number gains.

Education planning is best done in response to much needed development priorities. Are our politicians giving us enough? Mass awareness creation can be acquired by collective engagement of whole society.  Schools by their limitations may not be doing enough in giving back to society the level of sophistication that liberates all. Everyone talks about politics as though no-go area. Political education in schools and higher education is more geared to preparing for exams than motivation to face real life movers of the system who occupy key political positions.

Job creation and economic advancement is not all about compiling neatly presented statistical data. It takes real people to do the required jobs. They need education which is not always provided by schooling. A society with more educated persons poses greater challenges to any political order.
Constraints of not being able to get the youths employed is no good reason for any political order to cut down on education. Often there is dilemma regarding where priorities are highest. Building classrooms, roads, or investment on educating a population?
An enlightened society becomes sophisticated for politicians to handle without pain. There is no easy ride without being challenged. Education goes with huge cost and higher gains not only by way of how much money is involved. Demands are high and too numerous for the regime to handle with no quick fix solutions readily at hand.
Creating jobs to keep the growing educated members of society gainfully occupied does not come about by elaborate plans on paper alone. The enabling economic environment creates opportunities for thriving entrepreneurs and energetic youth population to engage in revenue generating ventures while serving society.

Promoting Enterprise Culture to Grow an Enterprising Population

Beyond numbers and neatly compiled reports, education is meant to enhance not just employable skills required by commerce, industry, and office jobs. It takes an enterprising population to propel the economic engine.
By robust policy provisions, development and promotion of enterprise culture can be achieved. That mindset is what motivates people to engage in small and medium enterprises thereby generating taxable revenue to boost the economy.
To create the enabling economic environment requires clearly conceived plans and better policies put in place by government.  Boosting employment in the private sector yields higher gains through economic engagement capable of generating taxable revenue base. Goods and services delivered in variety will give consumers wider choices.
Increased demand and higher spending propels the velocity of cashflow in faster circulation. Some businesses become source of supply for others. In similar way other businesses serve as chain of distribution for those in the production line.

It takes serious commitment from government to get the private sector actors motivated by providing incentives while promoting entrepreneurship.
The education needed in development and promotion of entrepreneurship is not what classroom schooling provides. That is done through achievement motivation and the enterprising drive of goal-oriented individuals in society.
An enterprising population does not spring from wider space. It grows out of a desire. Social interplay creates the platform for creating commercial awareness leading to growth of enterprise culture.

Social learning provides better occasion for motivation of enterprise engagement far beyond what schooling does. Informal education does not require classroom schooling. We all take so much from home before setting eyes on our first school teachers.  Enterprise culture stimulates employment creation through entrepreneurship. With government backing the potential for growth of informal sector business can be realised most gainfully.

More money buying weapons and less for education

During planning and budgeting some governments allocate more money in buying arms or paying for maintenance of the security outfit than what’s left on education, health, social welfare and wealth creation put together.
Looking at the amount of public money spent on weapon power, you wonder whose security we are talking about.
Wider society tax payers experience more insecurity in everyday life than the few that are voted as political leaders. All that is cost needing to be justified. Armed robbery and other forms of forceful dispossession that individuals suffer at risk life tends to be out of control.
Dangerously armed individuals walking free is of high risk proportion. It is hard to make sense how possession of lethal weapons extends beyond the power of those voted for protecting collective interest.

Clearly, there is in no justifiable interest keeping entire society under threat of gun violence. Ask for an explanation and those in possession of lethal weapons will call it self-defence. Yes, because the national security outfit is sustained with huge financial government backing, therefore everyone thinks they need personal protection too.  Fear of being killed tends to embolden individuals to seek personal protection leading to increased gun possession. Schools can contribute to social education on security. That makes the job of teachers much crucial to social transformation.
Highly motivated teachers will serve instrumental role towards creation of an enlightened population needed for enhancing political awareness and becoming bankable economic resource.
Teachers work harder than they are paid
During political debates in parliament there is more talk about education than commitment to deliver what is required. Salaries of teachers hardly top the agenda. Most talk is about statistics. Everything is reduced to chunks of data.
Such key stakeholders like teachers are routinely talked about and not invited to join the debate. Teachers in every society deserve more than we see them being remunerated.

In public schools, teachers are counted as civil servants. Going by the volume and complexity of their workload, teachers commit more efforts and time than the ordinary civil servants do.
Apart from chalking and talking, teachers spend more time after working hours marking or drawing up lesson plans. Entrusted with children of diverse background and character, teachers deal with each of them in their special needs.
Society owes teachers more than politicians have so far demonstrated. In addition to teachers’ unions, the voice of society in promoting welfare of this instrumental embodiment can be louder. We cannot leave the welfare of teachers being handled without rendering them what is due.
Politics of education is loaded with an agenda of lofty aims needing proper checks to ensure tangible evidence-based impact. Teachers are such tall pillars of society that cannot be dwarfed without consequences. Pay teachers well and give them better incentives to boost their total welfare.

Governance and Politics beyond School Subjects

To confine the study of politics as mere school subject is not enhancing enough. Regarding how politicians are being empowered to decide for each of us everyone in society deserves knowing more and better.  When students debate about politics, it is mostly for the nicety of grammar and eloquence. More often they are not thinking of taking politics head on. Out of school or from higher education, every other job becomes target less political occupation.
Just like smaller number of business students at university have ambition to be hired rather than create their own enterprise being self-employed and hire others. Similarly, only few of those who show interest in school or higher education political debates choose to take up full time responsibility as genuinely representative of the people.
Political power is connected to almost everything daily life evolves around. From wealth creation (fundamental to the national economy) health care and maintenance, agriculture, trade. Industry, mobility, education, society, law and order, security among others.
National and personal security cannot be properly maintained without serious commitment on part of the political power players. Security they provide for those representing the people is far beyond what the rest of society have.
Governments consider weapon power as measurement of their might. Individuals in society reflect similar way. The danger is that if you possess an instrument there is propensity to use it. In that scheme of things by spending on weapons, governments invariably prepare for war. Individuals also think of attacking or being attacked by someone else. Reliance on gun power or weapons turned into a generational menace in some countries.
This generation is already too much enslaved by gun power. The next and succeeding generations may want to bank on mindpower for a more progressive and by extension higher advanced economic world order.
Reforms in global education will require preparing society to be more productive without fear of being attacked. Politicians have lot of responsibility coming up with policies that will detox society from this destructive gun power mentality. Until now, the political will to keep society safe is below all expectations.

Gun culture is a challenge for governments the world over. Educating society about politics and economic reality extends beyond what schooling provides.  Maybe the next generation will get different education and prefer weapons be replaced by production of what brings more economic advancement. Political rethinking over gun power or weapons is an educational pursuit that cannot be confined in classrooms. Entire society requires to be schooled though not in the classroom concept of teaching without learning.
Political education outside School
The population is not adequately informed about any rationale on what appears as unjustifiable budgetary allocation especially with increased spending on weapons. Taking political education outside the classroom will bear extensive rewards beyond the basic objective of schooling for examination requirements.

With everyone being affected in vast ways, the political discourse is central to our livelihood by occasion of diverse yet conflicting interests.  Political activism is more about awareness creation than partisan interest drive. Along the journey, there appears to be more passengers than drivers. In their total, political drivers and passengers have more excess baggage shared among themselves.  Advancing the agenda calls for an inclusive engagement of those long left out in the dark. To assume that only flag bearers care more than the marginalised compact majority can be considered as alienation.

Bottom line and truth of the whole matter holds that politics has deep rooted economic life line which cannot be taken for granted without consequences.  Not to join the debate means the rest will continue talking about you and their decision becomes all binding social contract affecting everyone with far reaching economic implications needing great consideration. Failing to decide is by extension a decision of its own. The choice is yours.

December 6, 2017

THANK YOU YAYA JAMMEH

January 21, 2017

Former President Jammeh

It has been a long, emotional, painful, outrageous, repressive and regrettable 22 years of despotic rule. You killed, banished, incarcerated, maimed and exiled many Gambians with disdainful impunity. Your last two weeks in office, which resonated infinite period, is most gruesome of all your omissions in office. It witnessed mass exodus of helpless Gambians across into Senegalese border, a bloodcurdling state of fear and uncertainty, uncultured abuse of constitutional dictates, traumatic psychological and mental torture, state of helplessness and immeasurable frustration. Despite all your evil intents for us, you have only succeeded in making us strong, united and determined to jealously preserve and guard our freedom. Correspondingly, even though it was not your aspiration, your malevolent actions have helped in making every Gambian take keen interest in our political affairs and become commanders of our own destiny. Albeit many were in denial regarding your underworld shady operations, your last week in office divulged your true nature.

Equivalently, you have proven more than ever before to all and sundry that you are not trustworthy, you are callous, you are selfish, you are arrogant and indiscipline. This is demonstrated palpably by Umaru Fofana of the BBC postulation, “The morning after the night before, I wonder what’s playing on Yahya Jammeh’s mind-as he prepares to leave not only power and the unbridled access to wealth and control, but also his homeland. Probably his longest ever night”. As the dust of new Gambia is settling down, let us draw few lessons from our enlightening experience with Monster Jammeh.

As a starter, all political detainees must be freed with immediate effect. Create rehabilitation programmes for them to refit into everyday life. Provide them with proper counselling, medical and social care. This must be followed by the commissioning of truth, peace and reconciliation commission to put under the microscope Jammeh’s 22 years of omissions. While the commission is sitting, the security services must be revamped. All efforts must be taken to transform the security services into professional, independent and productive services. It will require retraining, expanding, reforming and retiring. Since our only close contact with war is peace-keeping missions, each of the technical units of all the services must be nurtured and readied for generating revenue both for central government and their services. On the day of President Barrow’s return to Banjul, all Gambian armed officer and other ranks on Guard of Honour welcoming him at the airport must be disarmed. Until the personal security and safety of President Barrow is established beyond doubt, a carefully selected officers and other ranks from the Gambian security services must be entrusted with his protection. The NIA. Yes, the notorious NIA. It will be irresponsible and illogical to disband it completely. What it needs is getting rid of its administrative leadership and any agent who participated in unlawful omission of duty. Restructure it, retrain all its agents and redefine their duties and responsibilities. Take all policing powers from it and let it operate as a professional intelligent agency. The Police Force also needs touching up and restructuring. An independent body should also be set up to police all the security services particularly the police force. The powers to appoint and dismiss the Inspector General of Police should be vested on PMO with the approval of the independent body policing the police. That way, the police will be independent from the executive and execute its duties and responsibilities without political duress.

Respectively, the Civil Service also needs a dose of face-lift. There are still some elements within it that still owe allegiance to Jammeh. The continued presence of such persons within the Civil Service will only subterfuge efforts of the rainbow government in picking up the broken pieces of the economy. Salaries, social and pension welfare of civil servants must be reviewed and updated to commensurate current economic realities and standards of living in the Gambia. This will help to curb corruption and irresponsibility. Proper time keeping and responsible management of public properties should also be put in place. For instance, reporting on duty on time, clocking in and out of duty, set breaks times, sick leave/pay and use of official telephones etc. Cultivate a committed and loyal work turnover.

Most importantly, setting up a 2 term limit for the presidency. Once that is entrenched in the constitution and can only be reversed by a referendum, we will safe any president from overstaying his or her welcome. Well, for the national assembly now we all know the consequences of having and ill-informed, ill-educated and a rubber-stamp NAMs. The next batch of NAMs must at least badged Grade 12 certificate and good result.

GRTS I will recommend to be managed by Fatou Camara. As well as the director of GRTS, she should be the Press Secretary to President Barrow. Apart from her fountain experience in the media, she can transform GRTS to a financially viable and world class media house. Take a close look at her Fatu Networks and you will understand my point. As a Press Secretary to President Barrow, she will do an excellent work in projecting his PR and relationship with the press both home and abroad. Even as the Minister of Information and Communication the iron lady will not disappoint. She is committed, experienced, focus and loyal.

Finally, until our paths cross again Jammeh, thank you for helping us love freedom more than life.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

MARVELING AT THE TENACITY OF THE GAMBIAN WOMAN

May 29, 2016
Kerr Gumbo, North Bank The Gambia

Kerr Gumbo, North Bank The Gambia

By Saul N’jie

Driving deep into “Fana-Fana” Land – I encountered the most tenacious Gambian; the best and most industrious of us — the Gambian woman. The Gambian woman works all year around, everyday, to provide for her family. She invests more into the family than her husband. As a case in point, I visited several communities up and down the country – for my quest to understand, or better yet, come up with some solutions to our poverty conundrum. One glorious morning, I visited a village in the North Bank – called Kerr Gumbo. As I wandered in the village in the morning – I saw the men sitting at the “Pecha; Bantaba” dabbling in jovial conversations – in a very nonchalant way.

Upon my return around high noon – the men were still sitting there. That was when I asked the women – why the men were pretty much sitting there for hours – while they, the women, toiled. The women, in a very sympathetic tone, told me that the men are seasonal workers – that they work only during the rainy season – and after harvesting – jobs are hard to come by. I then asked them how they feed their families – and in a no- brainer response, albeit, very coy and measured, they told me that they are the ones that work all year around to provide lunch money for the kids and most of fish money for the family.

The Kerr Gumbo woman’s day starts before the break of dawn: she fetches water from the well for the husband, kids, and other family members for their bathing; also for cooking and what have you; then prepare breakfast for the family; bathe the kids, give them lunch money for school; after that they go to the farm/garden to work on the land; then off to the market around noon to get some cooking items that are missing from their forever dwindling food stock; cooks lunch, washes the bowls; back to the farm/garden, for more back breaking work; get back home, bathe the kids again, prepare dinner for the entire family; go to bed, wake up in the morning and do it all over again the next morning. Good Lord, if hard work was the true barometer for financial stability – then the Gambian woman would rival the Rockefeller’s!

Unlike the Kombos, women of that area, seldom receive fish money from their husbands – they bring in most of the money – send their children to school, take care of the kids and husband; basically, hold the fort down – for without them – the house would literally crumble to the ground. This, in essence, is your quintessential Gambian woman in all her glory.

Paradoxically, although the woman contributes equally, and in many cases, more to the family than the man – they still need permission before embarking on anything. For instance, the women who wanted to join the Microfinance initiatives in Kerr Gumbo – needed to ask for their husbands permission first – and a couple of them had to withdraw their interest because their husbands wouldn’t allow them to join. When asks if their husbands consult them on issues before embarking on them – they said NO – because they are the “Kilifas”. Some even explain that their husbands don’t even consult them when marrying a second wife until the day of the wedding. I find this to be ridiculously fascinating – that the patriarchal system limits these women, even though, they carry a sizable chunk of the social and financial burden of the family.

Absent for patriarchy, macho-entitlement, what does the man contribute to the family that the woman doesn’t? I honestly can’t muster a solid answer. A little caveat, though, this doesn’t mean that men don’t contribute to the family, because they obviously do; and depending on geography – men overwhelmingly financially support the family in many pockets of the country. This is also not a broad generalization of all cases; however, in almost every village that I encountered, the Gambian woman carry most of the financial and social burden – since men work seasonal jobs: summer farming; while the women works all year around. Perhaps, just perhaps, it’s about time that we revisit the patriarchal order and script a new social contract for our time?

By the same token, I am always in awe when I meet the Gambian woman in her various trades. She is, for all intents and purposes, the edifice of the Gambian economy, society, and body politics, for absent the Gambian woman, the Gambian economy and society would come to a crushing halt. I am, thenceforth, forever marveling at the tenacity of the Gambian woman.

PRESS RELEASE: GAMBIAN ARTISTS RECORD A TRIBUTE SONG FOR MUSA AFIA NGUM

January 11, 2016
Afia-Ngum-TributeBarely less than 24 hours after the demise of Musa Afia Ngum, a few of his admirers came together and set up the Musa Afia Ngum Tribute Committee whose mandate is to maintain the legacy of the legend and raise funds for his family. The committee started by setting up a Gofundme account, which currently has £380 raised between October and December of 2015. Donations can still be made at: https://www.gofundme.com/wr6d7jb8 . If you live in the UK, you can still make cash or check donation by directly payment to account: MR M B JENG, BARCLAYS BANK PLC, AC: 10479624, SC: 201053 or contact Njok Malick Jeng on 7957208129
If you live in Sweden, contact Mr Buhary Gassama on 46739105583 to discuss possible options of donating locally.
If you live in the US, contact coach Pa Samba Jow on 301-547-9573 or Pa Ousman Joof on 404-593-6215 or wellsfargo savings Account number 1304651498 to discuss ways and means of contributing.
Folks in Gambia can contact the family directly on 303-9110 to donate.
The second part of the project is to create a tribute song in honor of the late legend. After several consultations, the committee came up with two versions: a Mbalax version and an R&B version, both of which feature several Gambian artists. Both tracks were created, mixed and mastered by Pa Bahoum of Soul House Studios in Stockholm, Sweden; a part of Joevibes Productions. The vocals were recorded at World Vibes Records by ENC in The Gambia and at various studios in the USA and Europe.

After three months of hard work, the Mbalax version of the Musa Ngum Tribute Song is set to be released on Saturday, January 16th. 2016 while the R&B version is slated for release at a later date. Both songs will be released online and on local radio stations in Gambia and Senegal. They will also be available for download on Soundcloud.

Shortly after they are released, music videos will follow. Pa Abdou Waggeh of Wax media will create the music video for the Mbalax version whilst Alhagie Manka of State of Mic will produce the video for the R & B version.

The third and final stage of this project will be to organize a tribute concert for the legend at the first anniversary of his passing in October 2016. The committee is asking for donations from all and sundry to support the family of Musa Ngum since he was their main breadwinner and his sudden passing has left them with financial issues beyond their collective ability to solve.

On behalf of Musa Ngum’s family, we wish to thank everyone who participated in this wonderful project especially the artists who took part in the Mbalax version: Mbye Gaye, Pa Omar Jack, Sheikh Samba, Abou and Fafa, Faya Ngum, Sura Suso, Tapha Artist, Sambou Suso, Ida Mbye, Alieu of Humanity Stars, Cess Ngum and Fatou Mbye. We also extend heartfelt thanks to the artists who participated in the R & B version whose names will be released prior to the release of the song. We would also like to thank Pa Bahoum of Soul House Studios and our co-ordinator on the ground in The Gambia, Pa Modou of Humanity Stars for their tireless efforts in making the tribute song effort a reality. We would finally like to thank everyone who helped in one way or the other towards the realisation of this wonderful project. We pray for Musa’s soul to rest in peace. AKASA!

The Musa Afia Ngum Tribute Committee.