Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

 GCC REVAMPS EXECUTIVE TO MEET ONGOING CHALLENGES

March 4, 2015
Reads :261
The GCC Logo

The GCC Logo

The Gambia Consultative Council, in order to meet past and new challenges, has revamped its executive. In light of the recent resignation of a high profile member, Mr. Falai Baldeh, and the aborted effort to restore democracy and the rule of law in Gambia, the executive decided, after prolonged consultations, among members, to realign and revamp its executive, to effectively stand to the challenging test of the Gambia’s struggle for political change.

In light of this, the decision to involve and defer important, key decision-making, to a younger generation of both men and women, was unanimously agreed upon.

Consequently, Mai Kanyi, Laity Senghore, Omar Joof and Foday Darboe, blue-blood Gambians, committed to radical political change in Gambia, were unanimously voted into the executive committee to take on assignments that empower the younger generation and give more force to their voices. In making this decision, the GCC executive was mindful of the indispensability of women and the youth in the freedom and liberty that they stand to inherit.

In addition, and as a decision to strengthen Gambian women’s political standing and combat the constant and corrosive indoctrination of Gambian women by Yahya Jammeh, Madam Mai Kanyi is positioned to assist Madam, Tuku Kane-Jallow, who has been elevated to the position Vice-Chair in-charge of Women’s Affairs.

Meanwhile, Mathew K Jallow’s adviser position was eliminated and he was reassigned to the position GCC Executive Secretary, while Salieu Njie’s position has been renamed Public Relations Secretary to reflect his responsibilities. In toto, the GCC executive, in embracing the gender and generational diversity, commits to defer key decision-making to the new crop of younger additions to its new executive.

This Press Release, will, therefore, serve as an introduction of the new GCC line-up, to Gambians both at home and abroad. GCC welcomes the four new firebrands to its executive and seeks the cooperation of all Gambians in doing the same. One major task of GCC, as before, is to seek a common Gambian position against the regime; a position that cuts across political party and existing civil society organizational divide.

Below, please find the complete and new GCC Executive Committee. The name listing is partly random and has no bearing, whatsoever, on the importance of the executive positions.

 

Chairman………………………………………………..Dr Sedat Jobe

Vice-Chairperson c/o of Women’s Affairs……….Tuku K Jallow

Assistant Women’s Affairs Co-coordinator………Mai Kanyi

Executive Secretary………………………………..Mathew K Jallow

Assistant Executive Secretary……………………Omar Joof

Crime Investigation…………………………………Yankuba Dabo

Treasurer/Fundraising……………………………….Basiru Sawaneh

Spokesperson………………………………………Assan Martin

Public Relations Secretary………………………..Salieu Njie

Europe Coordinator…………………………Kebba Nyanchor Sanneh

Assistant Europe Coordinator…………………….Laity Senghore

Youth Coordinator…………………………………..Foday Darboe

SORRY I INSULTED DICTATOR JAMMEH-THE SPITEFUL MONSTER

March 2, 2015
Reads :1296
AJA DR MADAM N MANSA APPAI

AJA DR MADAM N MANSA APPAI

Sulayman Jeng

Sulayman Jeng

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

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

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

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

Sulayman Jeng

Birmingham, UK

HON. OMAR A. JALLOW (OJ) 50TH INDEPENDENCE INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

February 26, 2015
Reads :558

By: PPP Media

OJ-PPP POLITICAL HEAVY WEIGHT

OJ – PPP POLITICAL HEAVY WEIGHT

Hon. OJ had a series of Online Radio interviews on Gainako and Freedom radios on the week of February 18th, 2015, to commemorate Gambia’s 50th Independence anniversary. The purpose of the interview blitz was to set the records straight, comparatively, and to give the fitting tribute to our Independence heroes. The AFPRC junta and Dictator Yahya Jammeh have spent 20 years minimizing and downplaying our attainment of independence from British colonial rule. The PPP under the leadership of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara fought and attained independence with its coalition partners. They did this with no shortage of doubters and significant odds against them. Today, thanks to President Jawara, and the PPP, and its Coalition partners, Gambians are Not speaking French today, and Not one of Senegal’s provinces. All of the allegations that Jammeh made against the PPP; of corruption, nepotism, have never been proven in a court of law. Hon. OJ was unapologetic in his assertion that, today, President Jawara and the PPP are vindicated. By any measure Gambians quality of life and standard of living, sense of security, international standing, and freedoms, and the economy have declined significantly.

Politically, since the violent and illegal overthrow of the PPP administration in 1994, the AFPRC junta has become an absolute dictatorship with no tolerance for dissent. The junta has enough people in prison now to run a government. The three branches of government have become one under the executive , with Yaya Jammeh routinely ignoring the rulings of the courts. There is no more press freedom, or freedom of association, or assembly. Several radio stations have been closed simply for interviewing opposition leaders. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) are,  for all intents and purposes, have no independence and are in danger of losing all credibility. OJ warned that the Judiciary and the IEC are two pillars and institutions responsible for maintaining stability and people’s trust in their government, but are in constant assault from the regime. There is no more local autonomy in administration, because the junta has eliminated peoples’ ability to elect their own Alkalolus or chiefs. Now Dictator Jammeh imposes local authority, making it an extension of his tyranny.  This is the same man, Yaya Jammeh, who claimed that 10 years was too long for anyone to be in power, that he will never bring dictatorship to Gambia that his image will never be on the Dalasi!

Our foreign relations. Gambia has never been more isolated and forsaken by development partners. Yaya Jammeh’s bellicose and adversarial foreign policy has turned little Gambia into a pariah state. Developing countries need development partners, and not dependency partners like Jammeh is trying to build now in Middle East, Our relations with our most important partner and neighbor, Senegal,  are at their lowest since independence,  because of Jammeh’s juvenile approach  to our relations. Our trade relations are not getting better either, because of Jammeh’s belligerence, weak institutions, corruption and nepotism on steroids.

On the economic front, Hon. OJ reminded the audience that life under the AFPRC regime has become unbearable. According to Hon. OJ, prices of basic commodities, since 1994 have risen by some 1000% or more in some instances. The price of a bag of rice under President Jawara in 1994, was about D140, today under the APRC junta is over D1, 400! Yaya Jammeh challenged Gambians early on not to re-elect him if he did not provide reliable electricity for the whole country in five years. Today, the electricity situation is worse than any time before. The Barra/Banjul ferry crossing and Farafenni have become an embarrassment, and an economic eyesore. People are at the mercy of the waters anytime they step into those rickety boats to cross to the other side of the river. The Banjul/Barra crossing used to take 30 minutes at most before 1994, now it is taking some hours to do so, after some a whole day to get in the boats . The Jammeh junta inherited revenue generating institutions like Gamtel, GPMB, SSHFC, Cooperative Union, Livestock Marketing Board, GPTC, just to name a few. Today, these great institutions, and bedrock of our economy, employing thousands of Gambians, have been run into the ground, not to mention dozens of private stakeholders who have been run out of town through confiscatory policies. Hon. OJ also challenged the audience to show him any revenue generating state institution, employing more than 400 Gambians for over a year that the Jammeh regime has created. Jammeh, on the other hand, has created a parallel economy, from stealing state funds, to enrich himself. Today, Yaya Jammeh has become the largest landowner and wealthiest person in the Gambia through stealing, and also of because of free labor provided by members of the armed forces and civil service. He is so busy enriching himself at our expense that he is oblivious to the fact the economy is collapsing all around him.

Because of chronic youth unemployment, Gambian youths are dying in droves across the desolate Sahara Desert and unforgiving seas, just so they can have a better life. So many youths are dying in the so called “back way” that no media house, public or private,  is allowed to announce obituaries related to them. Wealthy Gambians are no longer investing in their own country because of transaction costs, confiscatory taxes corruption. In fact, Gambians are divesting and running to Senegal or across the region to invest.  Our best and brightest have left, some never to return alive, because of persecution, exclusion, and nepotism with rampant disregard.

Socially, there is a palpable level of disharmony because of Jammeh’s attempt to radically transform the country, by elevating one group at the expense of others. His efforts at re-write our history can also be seen in how he minimizes the achievements of our founding fathers. President Jawara’s administration was a true representation of our diversity, and was also based on merit. The PPP will continue to remind Gambians that all is not yet lost, but we have to work together to take our country back from tyranny. You are not immune to this state of affairs because you are sending more and more of your money, just so your families can maintain their dignity. It was never like this before, and we can do so much better.

We are asking for your kind donations as we prepare for the 2016 elections. Our current state of affairs is untenable and we need you, your family and friends, to join us and donate. We share your concerns but talk alone is not going to change anything. Please share this post across all platforms. Thank you

By: PPP Media

THE PROMISE OF TRUE INDEPENDENCE REMAINS ELUSIVE UNDER JAMMEH

February 26, 2015
Reads :197

CORDEG logoAs Gambia marks fifty years of political independence, CORDEG salutes the country’s founding fathers and people of Gambia for their vision, accomplishments and forbearance at this most difficult period in the country’s history.  The immediate post-independence period and the first republic, in particular, had their share of challenges and lost opportunities.  Yet, together they set the country on a trajectory of peace and development. Gambians should take pride in these accomplishments, and at the same time, must reflect on current and enduring national challenges.

For the most part, the promise of true independence has remained elusive, as Gambia and Gambians are today less secure than before with threats to their very survival looming larger than ever before. This fiftieth year of Gambia’s existence must be a time for stock-taking, a time to reset the course of our national compass so as to actualize the dreams and promises of true independence.

I still vividly remember fifty years ago, the sombre yet muted excitement on February 18, 1965, when at the Armitage High’s school football field, students smartly dressed in uniforms, haltingly sang the newly-minted national anthem, which we had rehearsed for weeks.  Mr. Salifu Cham, then Commissioner of M.I.D, delivered the independence remarks, imploring us to work hard, as we were the newly independent country’s future leaders. Those were heady days and in the span of twenty-nine years under Sir Dawda Jawara’s leadership, the PPP government laid the foundations for socio-economic development under trying condition, underpinned by political stability and respect for rule of law. These early achievements notwithstanding, a lot more could have been accomplished.

Partisan politics aside, the last twenty years has witnessed marginal infrastructure development, and improvement in the delivery of higher education.  More high schools and Gambia’s first university; saying nothing about quality, have enabled thousands of Gambians to receive an education and a university education at that. This is an achievement we must all take pride in. Promotion of women to positions of power and influence, in a deeply traditional, religious and patriarchal society, is also an accomplishment in itself.

Regrettably, these achievements have been marred by a harrowing and bloody human rights record, mounting foreign and domestic indebtedness and stifling poverty. Peace and tranquillity, once the defining qualities of Gambia and Gambians have been eclipsed by instability, disorder and fear. Therefore, Gambia’s fiftieth anniversary of independence cries for sober reassessment of the bridges we have crossed, as well as which direction we wish to take as a nation.  Undoubtedly, the country could have been much further along in improving the lives of ordinary Gambians, especially women, the rural and urban poor.

At independence in the 1960s, Gambia was poised to do just as well or even better economically and politically than Mauritius, Jamaica and Botswana, the only functioning democracies of comparable size and endowment in Africa. Fifty years later, Gambia and Gambians are mired in abject poverty, premature death from easily curable diseases, and without much hope for a better future under Jammeh.

International good will, resulting from relatively well-managed economic and democratic institutions during the first republic, have all been squandered in the name of empty anti-western rhetoric and posturing, merely for the consumption of his unscrupulous domestic and foreign allies. Without mincing words, Jammeh has not lived up to the expectations and spirit of an independent Gambia. Instead, he has subjugated and impoverished the Gambian people for the last twenty years by the use of wanton violence or the threat of violence; in this era of enlightenment, this is a fate worse than colonialism.

At 50, Gambians expect honesty and integrity from its government on how to advance the socio-economic development of the country, not false promises of transforming Gambia into this or the other utopia, whether in 2015 or 2025. After 20 years of failed promises, Gambians have become fatigued by endless Agenda and Visions that has no tangible impact on the lives of the growing number of poor Gambians. I believe the APRC government is a failed government and must resign.

CORDEG is therefore calling for Jammeh to begin the process of releasing all political prisoners; allow exiled and self-exiled Gambians, especially civil servants from the first republic, to return home, if they wish to do so. Selective “pardons,” “forgiveness,” so-called “amnesties” and “apologies”, are deeply offensive and patronizing to individual citizens, who have done no wrong, except to exercise their rights to free expression and legitimate dissent.  In fact, it is Jammeh himself who needs to apologize to Gambians for twenty years of repression and state sponsored violence against innocent citizens that has shaken the political, economic and social fabric of Gambia and Gambians to its core.

To end the greed, mistrust, corruption, disregard for the value of human lives and the unleashing of wanton violence and killings, in part, spell the mayhem witnessed over Jammeh’s twenty-year misrule. Jammeh must therefore step down to avert at best a continuation of this untenable state of affairs and at worst, open violent conflict. CORDEG is calling on President Jammeh to initiate a national dialogue that will agree a negotiated exit strategy for himself and his family, in order to save the country from civil conflict. This should allow for a transition to a genuine democracy, based on genuine “transparency,” “accountability,” and “probity,” and led by truly dedicated generation of democratic minded Gambians. Failing this, Gambia and Gambians will be plunged deeper into the abyss of violence and instability akin to the events of December 30, 2014 and others like it in the past.

In the service of the Republic of the Gambia

Professor Abdoulaye Saine, Chairman, CORDEG

EFFORTS TO REBUILD POST – JAMMEH

February 26, 2015
Reads :212
A. SAVAGE-A SEASONED VETERAN SOLDIER

Abdul Savage – The Author

By Abdul Savage

As much as we are spending time fighting the old, I respectfully submit that we must devote, equally as well, some time to plan to rebuild anew.

Now, when democracy and stability are restored in the Gambia, how do we go about rebuilding? Yes, true, we will secure and get international funding to help rebuild post-Jammeh, but wouldn’t it be prudent, wise and helpful to know that a band of Gambians has taken the initiative to pre-empt the rebuilding efforts? Yes, it would be.

We must not set ourselves up to fail post-Jammeh. The struggle in the Gambia and for the Gambia is not a business venture.  And some of our people are living in the Gambia with barely two meals a day, much more three meals a day.  Our people are suffering while we are here, spending months or years wrangling back and forth on how to proceed, much more on how to take that Monster out.

Since we are having diasporan entities disguised as “companies” to remove that Monster, we might as well form a REAL COMPANY to help with the rebuilding process after Monster Jammeh is out of the picture.

My point is this: once this company is created and headed by trusted individuals that will ensure greater transparency and accountability.

And I must quick to add that out of these company funds is where these trusted individual selected to manage it will get paid. They will not, and we do not expect them to do it, for free. This is a venture to help rebuild our country, while simultaneously all of us will continue to do whatever is it that we are doing to further our goal to liberate the Gambia, and restore democracy and the rule of rule.

Yes, true, many of these entities in the diaspora movement might be currently running at a loss, since some are newly created, and that they are probably yet to secure enough contributions to offset the expenses in terms of time, and resources, already put into them. And if this trend of them losing continues, we will cease to hear from them or about them.

My contention is this: you cannot take from the poor and give to the rich. But you probably can take from the rich and give to the poor. Many of us are fortunate in so many ways than most of the people we are asking to “gofund me”, with $10, $20, $50 or $100, or more or less. And some of these people are living in the Gambia with barely two meals a day, much more three meals a day.

Yes, true, it involves costs to run these entities, but why can’t these leaders take it upon themselves to foot the bill, than seek $10, $20 or more in contributions from people who are probably less fortunate than us? And at the end of the month, they probably wouldn’t even get $2000 in contributions from these people.  And we all know it takes resources, money, that is, to undertake the task of removing Monster Jammeh from power, by democratic, mass demonstration, forceful means or any other method. We need to stop kidding ourselves, and be brutally honest with each other.

Accountability and transparency is a crucial and vital part of any entity, be its task is to liberate a nation, or to operate a business, or run a movement or manage an enterprise.

Further, I observed that many of us have already started jockeying for positions, fame and glory post-Jammeh. That is all good, well and dandy. Some are even saying others would make great permanent secretaries, Ministers, heads of civil service, media personalities/moguls, and what not. True, this is all good and well, but NOT at the expense of Gambians suffering.

The day of rebuilding post-Jammeh will come. There will be lots of jockeying and all for positions. However, if we take a pre-emptive strike in the efforts to rebuild the Gambia post-Jammeh, we will be step ahead of the curve.

We will have to create investment and job opportunities, especially job opportunities.

We all know Gambia is a consumer market.

So, how do we go about rebuilding? I, personally, don’t know how we will go about rebuilding, but that, I submit, is a collective duty and responsibility. The day of reckoning and rebuilding for and in the Gambia will surely come.

By Abdul Savage

Retired, US Army

Member, Military Order of the Purple Heart

Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars.

TERRORISM IS DEFINITELY NOT WELCOME IN ISLAM!!!!!

February 26, 2015
Reads :130
LAMIN SADDAM SANYANG

LAMIN SADDAM SANYANG – The Author

By Lamin Saddam Sanyang The Netherlands

Islam never tolerates unprovoked aggression from its own side; Muslims are commanded in the Glorious Qur’an not to begin hostilities, embark on any act of aggression, violate the rights of others, or harm the innocent. Even hurting or destroying animals or trees is forbidden. War is waged only to defend the religious community against oppression and persecution, because the Qur’an says that “persecution is worse than slaughter” and “let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression” (Qur’an 2:190-193). Therefore, if non-Muslims are peaceful or indifferent to Islam, there is no justified reason to declare war on them. 

Some people misconstrue or misunderstood what The Glorious Quran is saying:  “slay them wherever you catch them” (Quran 2:191). But who is this referring to? Who are “they” that this verse discusses? The preceding and following verses give the correct context:

“Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for God loves not transgressors. And slay them wherever you catch them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out; for tumult and oppression are worse than slaughter… But if they cease, God is Oft-forgiving, most Merciful… If they cease, let there be no hostility except to those who practice oppression” (2:190-193).

It is clear from the context that these verses are discussing a defensive war, when a Muslim community is attacked without reason, oppressed and prevented from practicing their faith. In these circumstances, permission is given to fight back — but even then Muslims are instructed not to transgress limits, and to cease fighting as soon as the attacker gives up. Even in these circumstances, Muslim are only to fight directly against those who are attacking them, not innocent bystanders or non-combatants.

Brothers and sisters, let’s ask ourselves, If Islam allows terrorism, then why is stated in The Glorious Quran 5:32 that, If anyone slays one person, it would be as if he slew all people. And if anyone saves one life, it would be as if he saved the life of all people?

Suicide is forbidden according to Islam.  “O ye who believe!… [do not] kill yourselves, for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful.  If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall we cast him into the Fire…” (Qur’an 4:29-30).

The taking of life is allowed only by way of justice (i.e. the death penalty for murder), but even then, forgiveness is better.  “Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause…” (Qur’an 17:33).

“O ye who believe!  Remain steadfast for Allah, bearing witness to justice.  Do not allow your hatred for others make you swerve to wrongdoing and turn you away from justice.  Be just; that is closer to true piety.” (Qur’an, 5:8)

This is grounded in the Noble Laws of Islam which forbid all forms of attacks on innocents. God Almighty says in The Glorious Qur’an: ‘No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another’ (Qur’an 17:15).”

If we believe in and follow our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), then why can’t we follow the commandment that was given to him in The Glorious Quran 21:107. It stated: And we have not sent you (O Muhammad) except as a mercy to the world. And that is totally different message to what the terrorists are sadly imparting to humanity.

Lawyer Ousainu Darboe 50th Golden Jubilee Message

February 18, 2015
Reads :988
Lawyer Ousainou Darboe - Leader of the Gambia's main opposition party, UDP

Lawyer Ousainou Darboe – Leader of the Gambia’s main opposition party, UDP

18 February 1965 saw the Union Jack lowered and the Gambian flag raised. We became a nation that is called The Gambia. Britain did not believe that The Gambia would survive as a nation. For some 18 February 1965 is only significant as a day marking “the birth of an improbable nation”. But here we are today celebrating fifty years of nationhood.

As we celebrate fifty years of nationhood we must congratulate and pay tribute to those who led us to independence, those men and women who with dedication and determination laid a solid foundation for nation building. Let us congratulate ourselves for establishing parastatals that have contributed and continue to contribute to the socio-economic advancement of The Gambia. Let us on this day reflect on what we have achieved in the past fifty years and consolidate our gains. We must also look at ourselves critically and constructively to discover our failures and shortcomings and avoid the negative incidents that have restarted our efforts to reach our set goals. Let us all today rededicate ourselves to combating poverty, ensuring better health delivery system, improved educational standard, a trusted legal institutions, a viable and sustainable agricultural system fit for purpose and the creation of an environment that is conducive to political pluralism. Today each Gambian must make a pledge to do something however little that will make The Gambia a model for others.

I congratulate the leadership both past and present and every Gambian on this great national birthday.

As we celebrate a milestone in our country’s independence, let us all take pride in the sweat and tears of our forefathers. The land that is the Gambia is situated in such that, our existence was deemed as unviable, a country that cannot by any stretch exist as an independent nation. The British colonial masters demarcated the Gambia in such a way that we are left at the mercy of the Francophone Senegal. We became sandwiched in the belly of another independent nation, a nation that speaks a totally different official language. Resulting in many African commentators, at the time of our independence, to opine that we will be an ‘improbable nation’. They never factor in the resoluteness, doggedness and tenacity of the people of our beloved nation.

50 years of nationhood is something every citizen in the Gambia should be proud of. The struggle to see that, we became an independent nation from Great Britain brought forth the realisation that, colonialism was a crime against our people, against our humanity and heritage.

The Gambia’s independence means a lot, and due to the current unfortunate state of affairs, it is disheartening to talk about anything positive. The positives and laudable achievements we gain as an independent nation is attaining full custody of our own affairs. Some may today take that as something irrelevant, insignificant, however, nothing is worst in life than letting strangers running the affairs of your nation.

Colonialism was a dehumanising exercise, a superiority complex matrix that allowed western nations to export their values and way of lives on others they occupy in completely different regions. It inflicts a deeper and lasting scar, the imposition of western superiority and an indirect blow to the self-confidence and assurances of the colonised. Thus, the statement of Thomas Greer is true “All the new nations faced severe problems, for political independence did not automatically bring them prosperity and happiness…they were seldom free of external influences. They were still bound to…structures developed earlier by the colonial powers.” 

However, for the Gambia, labouring under the difficulties and impacts of colonialism will be less relevant if placed in the larger context of the present dilemma for all democratic loving Gambians. The 50 years celebrations, marking the golden Jubilee today to many Gambians is a savoury taste, since in the last 20 years the Gambia has experienced a difficult political existence.

The 50 years of our nation’s celebration cannot be a joyous affairs wholly until such a day, when Gambians can bridge the political divide, mend fences, never allowed political differences to epic into hatred. Gambians will celebrate much more jubilantly when fear rule is no more, the freedom and peace of mind Gambians enjoyed in the first Republic became a reality once more, however with a different dimension and spectrum. By this, we mean with responsibility and dedication to preventing the public space falling into wrong hands.

The 50 years golden jubilee actings as a catalyst for  inward scrutiny from political leaders, civil society activist, the media and Gambians at large. In this day, the United Democratic Party remembers the many Gambians who are suffering persecutions due to political reasons, we remember Gambians who are missing, Gambians who are in jail, Gambians who are inflicted with the harshness of a constricted political environment, Gambians who are in exile, Gambians feeling the pains and brunt of the hard economic environments in this Golden jubilee. Our thoughts are with every single Gambians crying in silence. Occasions like today are days to reach out to one another as citizens of one country determine to see that, we succeed in achieving the dreams of our forefathers.

Long live the Gambia, long live our peaceful co-existence, long live the UDP and long live the determination to survive against all odds. Thank you.