Archive for the ‘News’ Category

THE CHIEF JUSTICE SPEAKS FOR ME

May 30, 2017

Gambia coat of arms

By Foday Samateh

The most important news in The Gambia since the election happened last week. It’s not the Attorney General’s bombshell news briefing on the freezing of 88 bank accounts, 131 landed properties, and 14 companies belonging to or directly associated with the exiled despot. Nor was it Lawyer Awa Sisay Sabally’s applause-worthy call on President Barrow to appoint without any further delay a Vice President. It was something that didn’t receive the same level of attention as the above. Nonetheless, it was the ultimate news of this political transition.

At the national stakeholders’ conference on justice and human rights at Kairaba Beach Hotel, Chief Justice Hassan Jallow affirmed that, in the light of many amendments that could affect the 1997 Constitution (the current Constitution), the state intended to draft a new Constitution. One news outlet quoted him as saying, “There is a strong case for the drafting of a new constitution under the leadership of a new group of experts set up by the state.” Reading the words that are in bold (the emphasis are mine), I was overcome at once with ecstatic relief. With a gleeful heart and bated breath, I crowed, “Hallelujah! God bless the Chief Justice!”

Given the defects of the current Constitution and the deliberate dilutions it suffered at the behest of the upended regime, the need to draft a new one should have been an obvious foregone conclusion. The fact that it hadn’t been until the Chief Justice’s revelation should have been the biggest scandal for the new government. In the run-up to the election, the Coalition included a constitutional review in its reform agenda. The Memorandum of Understanding didn’t expound on what this ambiguous term would entail. Two things, however, implied an overhaul.
First, the central agreement of the Coalition was that their candidate for President would serve only three years in office to carry out a transition of democratic reforms, followed by a fresh election. Since that candidate was to be elected for a five-year term as required under the current Constitution, the cleanest, and probably the most legitimate and justifiable, way to accomplish this agreement would be to draft a new Constitution that would come into force in three years. With the new Constitution adopted in three years, the current one would cease to be in existence, and the current five-year term of the President would be curtailed to three years without anyone having to engage in any convoluted tampering with an already battered Constitution.

Second, almost all Coalition figures and their outspoken allies during and after the election kept promising how governing would be different in the third republic. And right after Barrow was sworn into office, the new administration began claiming that we are now in the third republic. To the extent that it matters, we aren’t in the third republic. We are still in the second republic. Barrow is the second president of the second republic. A new Constitution will usher in the third republic. An ordinary transfer of power through an election under an existing Constitution cannot ring in a republic. Otherwise, the United States would have surpassed 40 republics when it’s still in its first.

Those factors notwithstanding, the Coalition turned out to have something different in mind. Barrow, at his first press conference, after he took office, was asked if the new government planned to write a new Constitution. He responded that they would only make amendments to the current one. You can imagine my disappointment. (For me, replacing the current Constitution with one that’s far superior must be the dominant issue of this transition.)
Why the Coalition never called for a new Constitution outright defied logic. I became upset at the body as a whole, but more so at its two most influential wings. Though several opposition parties had come together to form the Coalition, the key players in real terms were UDP and PDOIS. They are also the only opposition parties with substantive but clashing positions on the current Constitution. Their rivalry over it began from the beginning of the second republic. To PDOIS, the current Constitution is essentially good, if not great. In or outside of the Coalition, PDOIS, to my knowledge, hasn’t called for a new Constitution. The party can always provide a long list of great provisions in the current Constitution in their defense of it. Nevertheless, all in all, they are wrong, but at least consistent.
To UDP, on the other hand, the current Constitution was to all intents and purposes the despot’s Constitution. All the reason their failure to call for a new Constitution demands more than the charge of inconsistence. The party’s taciturnity on the matter borders on hypocrisy. It’s rendered more unconscionable by the fact that while Barrow technically ran as an independent, his political home remained UDP. This, in addition to the fact that they were the largest party in the Coalition, gave them more sway on this question. So I was left confounded by their seemingly newfound faith in a set of amendments to remedy the current Constitution. I even wondered whether gaining power finally has given them second thoughts about reining in the imperial presidency and establishing a democracy on separation of powers with checks and balances. Why would they entrust the President with powers that they rightly didn’t want to be vested in the despot? I wondered still further if they now disagree with Lawyer Lamin J. Darboe’s erudite observation that, “Undoubtedly, [the current] Constitution permits the legal mismanagement of Gambian public life. With its hollow protections, it would still be an instrument of violence, if only potentially, even in the most benign of hands. It has no place in a proper democracy!”

The case against amendments alone goes beyond the stubborn fact that too many amendments needed to be carried out. The most obnoxious parts that must be expunged from the nation’s Constitution — paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Schedule 2 (the so-called Indemnity Clause) — are themselves indemnified from any amendments either by the National Assembly or by a referendum thanks to paragraph 17 of the said Schedule. These paragraphs confer absolute blanket amnesty on the despot and the entire regime of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) for any decision or action they took during the military rule, which might include stealing millions from our national treasury and engaging in extra-judicial killings. Hence my utter disappointment when the Coalition stated their position on the current Constitution. It’s all too clear that amendments alone wouldn’t suffice. They wouldn’t and couldn’t undo these monstrosities of Schedule 2.

The most obscene thing about the referenced sections of Schedule 2 is its arrogance and moral turpitude. The military junta overthrew the elected government, albeit an ineffectual one. They launched multiple Commissions of Inquiry into that government in the name of “accountability, transparency, and probity.” They made so much noise about “rampant corruption” that had occurred in that government. And then, lo and behold, they turned around saying never mind all that. All Presidents, National Assemblies, and Courts must hereby be denied forever the legal authority to do to the junta what the junta did to the preceding government. Why wouldn’t they want their own example be applied to them? Why what’s good for the goose not good for the gander?

It should be noted that advocating for a new Constitution mustn’t be misunderstood as arguing for the entire current Constitution to be junked. Just as the current one largely kept the framework of the 1970 Constitution and still contained significant changes, the new one will emulate similar but nobler objective. I may even hazard a guess that the new Constitution will preserve about 70 percent of the current one. Properly done, however, the 30 percent difference will make a world of real difference between constitutional democracy and constitutional dictatorship. Let’s consider the case of the Chief Justice as an example. Whether one liked the appointment of Hassan Jallow or not, we must all bear in mind that just as Barrow appointed the justice all by himself under the current Constitution, Barrow can remove the justice anytime all by himself. The constitutional requirement that the President must consult the Judicial Service Commission is a bureaucratic waste of time by way of meaningless rigmarole. The Commission’s advice is, strictly speaking, a matter of mere formality. It’s non-binding in any shape or form. Is this what we want? For one person, however conscientious that person may be, to have that much power? And we wonder why we don’t have an independent judiciary? Presidents mustn’t consult at all any Commission whose authority is subservient to the President’s. The consultation regarding the appointment of judges should be made to the National Assembly and the National Assembly’s vote to approve or disapprove should be binding. And judges must not be removed except by impeachment for unlawful conduct. That way, judges cannot be appointed or removed whenever a President feels like it.

Even if we feel rest assured that Barrow and future Presidents would never be anything like the despot, we shouldn’t leave so much of our fate at the mercy of their discretions. For instance, Barrow’s failure or refusal to appoint a Vice President after four months in office may not be violating the letter of the Constitution, but it’s totally contrary to its spirit. It’s also not just a cavalier attitude toward complying with the law, it puts the line of succession to the highest office in the land at risk for no good reason. Worse still, appointing someone who, for whatever unfair and undemocratic requirements, is disqualified from holding the office of Vice President to oversee the Vice Presidency isn’t only a display of insouciance toward the Constitution, but also an apparent act of violating the oath to uphold the Constitution without fear, favor, affection or ill will.

Talking about not trusting people in power to always do the right thing, one of my longstanding beefs with the current Constitution is the National Assembly’s ability to amend the so-called non-entrenched clauses. Like elsewhere, our experience has shown that politicians always claim to be acting in the national interest, but, far too often, they behave on partisan motives. Even when they truly act in the national interest, such actions are hardly divorced from their partisan interests. Politicians will always be politicians. They will almost always use whatever power is at their disposal to advance their own partisan interests. The amendments to the current Constitution proved that the drafters were wrong to assign the National Assembly the power to amend the Constitution save the entrenched clauses. And the entrenched clauses cannot remain functionally sacrosanct if their force can be undermined by the amendment or abrogation of related, supporting, or underlying clauses. As the supreme law of the land, everything in the Constitution should be deemed consequential. If they are not, they shouldn’t be in the utmost law. If they are, they should be beyond the grasp of the momentary passions or partisan motives of politicians. Yes, the power to make laws is invested in the National Assembly. But the one law they must not make is the law that gives them the power to make laws. The entire Constitution must be entrenched. No clause or paragraph or even punctuation mark must be amended without a referendum. The people must have their say. That’s the only assurance to protect the Constitution from being perverted by self-serving, power-grabbing politicians.

There are many other reasons to draft a new Constitution. Among them, the current one is poorly put together. It lacks the coherence and elegance a great national document deserves. To back up this contention, I must rely once again on Lamin J Darboe’s perceptive conclusion: “In The Gambia, [the current] Constitution is devoid of serious artistic beauty due mainly to the apparent absence of any real intention to ground the polity in an objectively verifiable rule of law. This may be attributable to the fact that the political midwives of the Constitution were also present at the critical juncture of its creation. As they were interested, had absolute power, and wielded the veto, the resulting product was way short of the minimum standards a document like a national constitution must acquire to pass the requisite test of balance and neutrality, a document, so to speak, that can serve as a fitting legacy for posterity.”

It’s, therefore, gratifying to know that the new government had a change of heart. It’s also reassuring that the source of the news was the Chief Justice. And even more reassuring, he did more than share word about the plan to draft a new Constitution. He justified both the necessity and wisdom of such an undertaking. The importance of this is just too great. Monumental, in fact. That’s why the Chief Justice spoke for me. We now have the chance to establish the third republic that seeks that elusive equilibrium between security and liberty. We must institute a government that has all the power to protect the rights of the good folks of Kiang. At the same time, that government must have no power to set aside at will the rights of the good folks of Kiang. Then, we can celebrate our Constitution and our Republic.

GAMBIA: COURT ORDERS FREEZING OF ASSETS BELONGING TO FORMER PRESIDENT JAMMEH

May 22, 2017

Attorney General and Justice Minister , Ba Tambedou

The Attorney General and minister of Justice Mr. Ba Tambedu has unveiled at a press conference in Banjul that a court order is given for the freezing of assets purportedly belonging to former president Jammeh. According to minister Tambedou the freezing order affects the known properties held in the personal name of the former president or directly associated with him which includes  131 landed properties, 88 different bank accounts, 14 companies and number of livestock. The minister also urged anyone who has knowledge about  properties of the former president to make it known to the authorities. When asked by Journalist Sainey M.K Mareneh on whether the court order covers both properties in and out of the Gambia the minister responded in the negative by buttressing that the order is not interterritorial but only for properties within the jurisdiction of the Gambia. The former president of the Gambia has ruled the country like his personal property with no accountability or whatsoever. His involvement in all kinds of business is an open secret from sand mining to selling school uniforms and bread and many other businesses. Soldiers who were paid by the taxpayers’ were the ones managing his numerous farms across the country.

Many people have hailed the decision to freeze Jammeh’s assets but others queried that freezing of assets should not be limited to only the former president but should be extended to his former close aides and business partners as well. Mr. Tambedou hinted on plans to set up a commission that would properly look into the assets of the former president and to recover every butut that was lost by the country as a result of actions of the former president or his close aides. The minister also unveiled the appointment of a public prosecutor lawyer Antuman Gaye to the NIA 9 case who are being tried at the high court in Banjul for the murder of Solo Sandeng and others. Mr. Tambedou lamented on the lack of capacity being the reason behind the slow pace at which  his ministry is moving in addressing the issues at hand but he however indicated that help in building up capacity  is gradually coming from within and outside the country.

 

Written by L.Nyassi, Oslo

GAMBIA: JAINABA BAH APPOINTED AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA

May 20, 2017

Jainaba Bah newly appointed Gambia Ambassador to Russia

The wife of Gambia’s former envoy to Ethiopia Mr. M.Sarjo Jallow, Jainaba Bah has been appointed by President Barrow as Ambassador to Russia this paper can confirm. Jainaba who is based in Sweden has been very vocal against the former regime of President Jammeh and has been very instrumental in raising funds for the coalition in the run-up to 2016 elections that ushered in the current regime change. Despite her political difference with her husband who was serving under Jammeh she did not waver in campaigning against the heavy handedness of the former regime. Madame Jainaba Bah has been a revolutionist all her life from the era of the former president Jawara’s PPP regime when she was a MOJA -G militant and encountered all kinds of tortures by the then state spy agency NSS to the regime of Yaya Jammeh. Jainaba studied and worked in Sweden in a good chunk of her life. She was part of the team that organized the Stockholm-dialogue meeting in 2013 that was attended by Gambians in Scandinavia, Europe, and U.S.A to brainstorm on the way forward for Gambia. She also served briefly as a representative at the Committee for the restoration of democracy in the Gambia(CORDEG) an organization that was set up after the Raleigh diaspora conference. It was after the Fass Njaga Choi standoff of April 2015 between the UDP Caravan and state security personnel that she threw her weight behind UDP by becoming a member.

Many see the appointment of Jainaba Bah as a welcomed move and the appointment has been hailed by some on social media. Abdoulie Manneh a Gambian residing in Russia wrote on his facebook page when he got news of the appointment of Jainaba Bah as follows; “I can’t wait for the arrival of the newly appointed Gambian ambassador to Russia Jainaba Bah, it makes life a lot easier if you have your country’s embassy in the foreign country you reside in”. Ndey Jobarteh a close friend and fellow activist to Jainaba in reacting to the appointment wrote; ” She is one woman I look up to, her resilience, consistency, faith and commitment to justice and rights is inspiring. Jainaba did not end there, she showed us that we can be married and have a different political standpoint and position, yet live together. She has proven that no one can come between rights and justice, no matter what it takes one has to stand on the side of justice and rights. I salute and celebrate this phenomenal woman who kept inspiring me!! I celebrate her for her bravery and faith in Justice. I celebrate her for her fighting spirit! I celebrate her for her big heart and love she has for everyone!”. Congratulations to Jainaba on her appointment as Ambassador to Russia, looking at her track record of standing up for the collective good of our people we are hopeful that she would not betray wishes and aspirations of the heroic people of the Gambia. Good luck sister.

 

 

Written by L.Nyassi, Oslo

NATIVE NORWEGIAN WOMAN SENTENCED & FINED FOR RACIST RANTS AGAINST LAMIN SAMATEH

May 18, 2017

Lamin Samateh photo credit: NRK

One native Norwegian woman in her 30s was sentenced to a suspended jail term of 14 days and fined NOK 10, 000  by a Norwegian court for racist rants against Lamin Samateh who is of Gambian origin. The woman is reported to have directed racist verbal abuse by using the F and N words in Norwegian three times to Mr.Samateh. The incident happened at a Kebab shop in 2015 in Porsgrunn, the town where Lamin is residing.  The woman repeatedly rained racist insults on Lamin as he and a friend  were  coming out of the Kebab shop. The incident was reported to the police and after a short investigation the case was dropped but Mr.Samateh filed a fresh complaint and the matter was taken to the courts, were the victim and his attorney fought and won the case. According him he pursued the case to the end in order to set an example because he has a daughter in Norway and does not want her  to face the same kind of racist verbal abuse or discrimination. Reacting to verdict Mr. Samateg said he thinks it is good because it would help people like this woman to learn to be better persons.

The case has sparked debate in Norway about the use of the N word , some say it is within the confines of free speech others say it depends on the manner in which it is used. Anti racism organizations hailed the verdict against the woman arguing that the act is a clear violation of the Norwegian General Penal Code Paragraph 185 on hate speech and the fact that  she used the words spontaneously for three times shows the severity of the matter. The woman and her attorney have appealed against the ruling but the chances of overturning the verdict are very slim because of the repeated racist rantings orchestrated by the Norwegian Woman.
Written by L. Nyassi , Oslo

BUILDING THE GAMBIA: STOP THE CHINESE COMPANY DESTROYING OUR FUTURE IN GAMBIA

May 17, 2017

 Hazardous waste disposal into the Atlantic ocean by Chinese Company

By Madi Jobarteh

A severe national security threat is unfolding in Gunjur, the hometown of the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow. There is a Chinese company engaged in fishmeal production, which dumps its waste and dead fish along the coastline and neighboring communities. The factory releases intense bad odour making people sick as well as destroying our fish reserves and polluting the waters. This is a direct threat to the lives and livelihoods of the people of Gunjur, Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Yet this company called Golden Leaf Factory continues to operate unchecked by the Government since last year until today, four months into the administration of Adama Barrow. Why?

Two Chinese, Robin and Jojo run the factory without any Gambian partners and under no check by any authority. They produce fishmeal or fish oil, which is made out of fish and used to feed poultry, pigs and other farmed fish. According to FAO fishmeal production is a major contributor to over-fishing and prevents fish from replenishing themselves thereby causing the collapse of local fisheries. This is because the fish used for fishmeal are small fishes like the ones our fishermen catch in Gunjur, Kartong, Tanji, Bakau or Banjul. After almost depleting their fish resources in China, now Chinese fishmeal companies have turned to West Africa and South America causing havoc in countries like Senegal, Chile and Peru. Experts have noted that fishmeal is a source of terrible environmental damage and human suffering.

So far Golden Leaf Factory is engaged in over-fishing in Gunjur and Kartong and destroying the coastline as well as the Bolongfehyoto wildlife reserve. The bad and dangerous odour the factory releases into the community is unbearable. Experts have noted that the factory right now threatens the productivity of sea grass, which marine turtles feed on. They also threaten the mangrove ecosystem because of the chemical waste they dump. This factory is therefore a threat to tourism and the economy of the Gambia. What is even more disheartening is that the fish they catch is not used for human consumption. Rather they use it to make fishmeal for animals all the way in China! But they are ready to destroy our lives all the way in the Gambia.

Who gave this company license to operate in the Gambia in the first place? Was there any social and environmental impact assessments done before they were awarded the license? Why would the responsible and relevant agencies of the government sit down to allow such abuse of the lives and future of the Gambia to take place with impunity?

Where is the National Assembly, the Ministries of Fisheries and Water Resources, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the NEA, NDMA, GIEPA and GTB and indeed the Police? All these agencies have a direct responsibility and stake in any activity that negatively impacts on the lives, livelihoods and future of the Gambia. Yet they all sit there watching a foreign company plunder our lives and livelihoods for free! What about GCCI? Are they not aware of this practice by this company and what actions have they taken to ensure decent and responsible practices by businesses in the country?

I therefore call on the Speaker of the National Assembly Mariam Denton and her deputy Momodou Sanneh and the Majority Leader Kebba K Barrow and the Monitory Leader Samba Jallow and indeed all National Assembly Members to institute a parliamentary enquiry into this matter. Failure to do so, the National Assembly would be failing in their sacred duty to the Gambia. This matter is 100% within the powers and authority of the National Assembly to address and they must address it now. Golden Leaf Factory is destroying our lives and livelihoods with impunity!

I call on Chief Servant Adama Barrow to demand his relevant ministries and state agencies to act on this matter with urgency. The ocean is a major source of life and livelihood for the communities of Kombo and the Gambia as a whole. Tourism alone account for 21.9% of our GDP and providing 18.8% of jobs in the country hence the ocean is a precious product of this industry that must be protected. Thus any threat to the ocean affects thousands of Gambians for employment and for food. Why therefore would this company be given license to damage our future and lives with impunity?

The Gambia Government and indeed all African governments must be wary of Chinese companies. This is because the Chinese have proven to the world and Africa in particular that they do not care about human rights, human life and human health in their quest to greedily consume resources around the world. Chinese companies have engaged in unscrupulous and dangerous business practices even in China, how about in faraway tiny Gambia? China has a population of 1.3 billion people and a land size of 9.5 million square kilometers. The Gambia has a population of only 2 million and a land size of 11 thousand square kilometers. Hence what China can afford and waste the Gambia cannot afford that. Therefore we must not allow any foreign company especially from China to come to the Gambia to damage the lives and future of our people. If this is what GIEPA considers to be foreign investment then they are dangerously mistaken!

Whichever government agency gave license to this company must be exposed and held to account. It is clear that they have failed to do an impact assessment or merely ignored the results of such assessment if they did. Secondly this agency has failed to monitor this Chinese company in order to protect the vital interests of the Gambia. This company must not have been allowed to operate in the country at all. They must be closed down! Now.

I therefore call on all Gambians to rise up against this Chinese company and put pressure on the government to expose the truth about the license, the kind of business, the operations and management of this company. What has the Gambia benefited from them? How much money are they making in the Gambia? What damages have done so far? We need to know these issues and make sure they repair all the damages they caused and then close them down. Golden Leaf Factory poses a clear and direct threat to national security.

Gambian journalists should rush down to Gunjur and Kartong and report to us on matters that directly affect our lives. News is not only in Banjul and Serre Kunda. How come such a dangerous environmental, social and economic disaster is taking place in Gunjur since last year yet our journalists could not give it the publicity it deserves! Wake up Gambian Journalists!

Rise up Gambians and do not let our country to continue as usual since Independence. We deserve a better Gambia. We deserve better leadership and good government that is open, efficient and responsive to our needs, in the present and in the future.

#CloseDownGoldenLeafFactory

God Bless The Gambia.

PRESIDENT BARROW MEETS SCANDINAVIAN INVESTORS, AS PATRIOTIC GAMBIAN DIAPORANS ANSWER TO THE PRESIDENT’S CALL

May 16, 2017

A delegation of Gambians living in Norway and their Norwegian and Bulgarian partners interested in investing in the Gambia, called on His Excellency President Adam Barrow on Friday morning.  In her introduction, The Minister of Trade, Regional Integration, Industry and Employment – MOTRIE, Honourable Dr. ISatou Touray said the visiting team was on a scoping mission but added they were pleased with what they had discovered in the country.

Gambian Resident in Norway and activist, Ndey Jobarteh said the Gambia did not exploit the Scandinavian opportunities and it is time to engage the Norwegians.  She briefed the President of the activities they did to prepare the visiting team and the immediate actions, taken during the visit to support the health, energy sectors amongst others. She expressed the urgency to work on bilateral relations with Norway and the plan to work with Norwegian government.

Another Norwegian born Gambian, Mr. Mamadi Ceesay, Managing Director of Nutrition, by a Norwegian Gambian organization – Norga said they sell the best of two worlds, that is The Gambia and Norway.  He further divulged their plans to work on a Norwegian model to encourage The Gambia to work with specialists so that it can eventually sustain its own development.   Their plan includes to create jobs for one thousand youths throughout the country as they work towards their target of five thousand youths.

Mr. Omar Badjie of the Ministry of trade gave a brief of the engagements of the Norwegian and Bulgarian delegation with the different sectors.  He reports that the team was impressed with the potential found in the Gambia, after visiting the Hospital has immediately committed to send 2 containers to support the hospital but also Biomedical engineers to provide technical support in the operation and maintenance of the machines.  They also pledged to provide generator for the immediate needs of NAWEC while they work with the Ministry of Energy on long term renewable energy sources for rural Gambia.   Other sectors of interest are  Tourism, Construction and Agriculture including plans the revived the groundnut milling plant at Denton Bridge (Saroo.)

In his response H.E. President Barrow said he was pleased and proud that Gambians are answering his call to rebuilding The Gambia.  He asserted that the past twenty-two years was difficult and it was risky to be political candidate.  The President appreciated the efforts of Gambians and how they compromised everything for the change to take place.  He therefore called for all to worked hard for the change to reflect on the people.  The President commended the Gambians in Norway as Ambassadors for their country, and said all Gambians are now free to return home.  He reiterated that they fought for the change based on the principles of democracy, and he said with democracy, there will be respect for human rights and rule of law.  He appreciated the efforts by the Ministry of trade working with the other relevant ministries to reduce the bureaucracy which led to signing of Memoradum of Understanding with the partners. Time is important and his government is ready to do business.

President Barrow informed them of the challenges inherited including what he described as “a broken economy and the former government worked on ‘pay as you go’ taking soft loans for three months to fix things and went back to the same cycle.”  On the structural changes at his office, President Barrow shared the changes they have done to decongest the office of the president by reassigning the different portfolios to the right line ministries.  He elaborated on the targets set in the various sectors, top on the agenda is for the energy to have short term measures in the first six months and have a long term solution to solve the energy crises.  On tourism, they plan to have a year round tourism and will market The Gambia and bring back the Scandinavians who used to be one of our main targets for the tourism sector.   President Barrow concluded that when there is development, then democracy will thrive forever and called on all to join in nation building.

The visiting team included Mr. Ba Jabbie of Norga, Gambian Activists in Norway, Ndey Jobarteh and Neneh Bojang, a legal practitioner and other Norwegian and Bulgarian investors.

For More information on the engagements of H.E. President Adama Barrow, you are invited to follow him on Facebook/Barrow PORG and on Twitter: @BarrowPresident and on the website: www.statehouse.gm

GAMBIA’S STATE HOUSE EXPLAINS PRESIDENT’S TO CONGO

April 17, 2017

President Barrow with his host Sasso Nguesso of Congo

A Media Release from the Office of the President, State House, Banjul, The Gambia PR/C/153/(ABS), 16th April, 2017, explained President Adama Barrow’s recent visit to Congo, as a friendly visit.

The release states:

“President Barrow made Friendly visit to Brazaville, Republic of Congo.

His Excellency President Adama Barrow, accompanied by some senior government officials, made a two day friendly visit to the Republic of Congo to cement the friendly and brotherly relations between the Republic of The Gambia and the Republic of Congo. The visit was at the invitation of his Congolese counterpart.

Upon arrival at the airport, he was received by his host, His Excellency, President Denis Sassou Nguesso. Gambians living in Brazaville and Kinshasa were also at the airport to welcome President Barrow.

During an interview with journalists upon arrival, the Gambian leader said the purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relations with his African counterpart. On the state of affairs in The Gambia, President Barrow told them it was on the basis of democratic principles that he vied for the elections and it was on the same principles that the National Assembly elections was also conducted. He further stated that the election was about change in The Gambia and it was well organized. Responding on the reasons for his earlier visit to France, he informed them that it was at the invitation of the French President, Francois Hollande.

During the visit, the two Heads of State expressed joy in the excellent friendly and brotherly relations which exist between them and called for it to be re-enforced between people of the two countries.

President Denis Sassou Nguesso renewed his congratulations to the Gambian people for the successful legislative election and commended its organization. He further commended the efforts to promote peace, democracy and social cohesion in The Gambia.

President Barrow on his part took the opportunity to thank President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his government for their role in consolidating democracy, peace and economic development of the Republic of Congo. H. E Mr. Adama Barrow commended the role and actions taken by President Denis Sassou Nguesso, as Chairman of the AU committee on the resolution of the crisis in Libya and wished him a successful mandate. He also thanked his host for sending a strong delegation to his inauguration earlier in February.

The two Heads of State expressed concern on the persistent crises in African countries such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Central Africa Republic. They pledged to work together to promote dialogue to guarantee peace and stability. The Heads of State affirmed their commitment to realize the 2063 Agenda which calls for the transformation of the Continent and the construction of “the Africa we want”. They took note of the importance of regional integration for the realization of the development objectives of the continent.
On global affairs, they renewed their commitment to fight terrorism, which threatens peace and security and retards development efforts. To that effect, they expressed solidarity with all countries affected by the barbaric and violent acts of terrorist groups, and equally determined to support the International community in its efforts against this evil phenomenon.

The two Heads of State equally reaffirmed their position as Africans on the proposed reform of the Security Council of the United Nations and on other matters of interest to Africa.

Representatives of the Gambian community comprising elders and youths in Brazaville and neighbouring Kinshasha, also took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on the Gambian leader. They were led by the Gambian Honorary Consular in Congo, Haji Tunkara. They expressed joy for the election of President Barrow as well as the recently concluded National Assembly elections in The Gambia.

During the visit President Sassou Nguesso also hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Gambian Head of State, witnessed by senior Congolese government officials and diplomats.

At the end of the visit, H.E. Mr. Adama Barrow thanked the President, government and the People of Congo for the brotherly reception and honor accorded to him and his delegation.

Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Director of Press and Public Relations

For: Secretary General
CC: ​Media Houses
Web Manager – State House Website”