Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

THE RHETORICAL LETTER!

July 13, 2017

Author: Dr.Muhammed Teks Tekany

By Dr. Muhammed Teks Tekanyi

To: The African Leaders,

Cc: Fellow Africans.

Dear all,

Some of you may not agree but I’ve always thought of HUNGER, IGNORANCE (and POOR HEALTH) being the main problems of our Africa!

For the hungry can do ANYTHING (which could include crimes, corruption, etc) to relief the hunger.

And the ignorant on the other hand, knows NOTHING on the difference between right and wrong (and are as well unaware of the consequences) in as much as what is done is satisfying.

Thus, the ANYTHING and NOTHING singly or combined can result to POOR HEALTH and as well INSECURITY which both are the drainage of our economy!

Hence the need to educate and feed our people in order to solve our centuries old continental problems which will give a resultant reduction in our expenditures!

Yours in hope and prayers,
Muhammed.

NB: Not copied to donor agencies!

 

HELLO MR PRESIDENT… DISASTER RELIEF

July 12, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

In the Wolof Language they say, ‘xoddeeku balaa ngai laka le’, a crude translation of this will be ‘prevention is better than cure’. Every year, when the heavens open up, many Gambians are affected by floods or storms and their houses are destroyed. They lose a lot of their valuable belongings and are certainly traumatized. This is something that can be minimized, if not completely eradicated.

If we have the proper planning and get ready to preparation for the long term, we will ensure that the places that are prone to flooding would be identified and then measures taken to guarantee that we don’t just react; rather, we should plan ahead of the rains.

There is a Department for Physical Planning which is under the Ministry of Lands which needs to carry out a broad study of the land in the country and demarcate residential areas in a way that no houses will be constructed in sodden areas which will always cause houses to collapse. It is true that it is very difficult land for residential purposes and as such if someone acquires a land already, it will be very difficult to stop him/her from erecting his/her house there; especially those who have already struggled and put up buildings.

Of course such people may not want to leave their houses or stop constructing houses because they might have invested their lives’ savings in those lands or houses. But nothing compares to human life. We see in the developed world that when a disaster is about to happen governments evacuate residents, sometimes forcefully, just to ensure their safety. The first priority of a government is to protect its citizens, sometimes even from their own actions.

Our laws should therefore cater for such a contingency. For instance, where someone intends to build a house in a place that is known to be prone to flooding, government should have the power to stop such a person. If it does, then how, and how far can the government agencies go in enforcing this law? If this law is already present in our Constitution, then why is it not being implemented?

These are a few of the things we should start thinking about to reduce the number of disasters that are experienced by our people. I call on you to put in place measures which will reduce the damage caused by these disasters in our country.

Have a Good Day Mr President….

Tha Scribbler Bah

A concerned Citizen

GOOD MORNING PRESSIDENT BARROW

July 10, 2017

IGP KINTEH

PRESIDENT BARROW

Firstly, Mr President, allow me to commend IGP Kinteh for his brilliant interview on GTRS on Friday. Undoubtedly, he did rise and shine in all his answers. Watching him drizzles flashes of a hopeful future for the Police under his supervision if he remains bold, steadfast and true to his ideals.

Hypothetically, it is a prerequisite on law-enforcers to be seen abiding by the law. As a consequent, Police officers must at all times exercise great care in ensuring the legality of their actions. Albeit this may sometimes register slips and falls owing to undue pressure from politicians, the public and corruption to conveniently quick fix selective situations, society is best served and protected when the police dutifully patrol within corridors of the law. That will, definitely, renovate its dilapidated image, pep up public confidence and resuscitate trust in our police service.

Despite all the worrisome clouds hovering over our Police Force, appropriate and bold conditions can disperse them to pave way for a brighter future marinated with stunning professionalism. Mr President, for the sake of clarity, let me affirm that I am not here claiming to possess all the medicaments for the police malaise but have a reasonable grasp of its seeming intractable multi-faceted virus. Some of my readers will recollect when Momodou Sabally was appointed Secretary General, I wrote him an open letter admonishing as a colleague I regard very highly and suggested possible means he could utilise to preserve his integrity. My concerns did outlive the termites of time. IGP Kinteh is my squad and we shared many experiences. Consequences, I want his legacy to be a success story.

At this juncture, Mr President, one is charmed to query why is the Police Force so enmeshed in shameful maladministration peppered with blatant corruption? In an effort to avail factual response, I will confine my argument mainly on Organisational Structure, Command and Control this morning. Until 1994, the GPF Organisational Structure was tailored to hone and harness command and control. There were only the IGP, DIG, AIG Operations, AIG Admin and CMC assisted by 5 CSPs, 10 SPs and 21 ASPs as senior officers which included Immigration as it was administered by the Police. Major Police Stations such as Banjul were manned by either a Chief Inspector or an Inspector assisted by Sergeants as Relief Commanders. Corporals formed the core of Supervising NCOs. Then arrived the “Electronic Broom” of the monster which swept many senior officers into oblivion. 1994 also witnessed the scrapping of the AIGs positions. And in 2001, came the Commissioner ranks.
The second coming of some of the swept officers brought with it the unwitting littering of the commissioner ranks. Today, The Gambia Police Force has more commissioners than the UK, Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Leone. IGP Kinteh needs to carefully look into the organisational structure and water down the littered ranks. As a starter, the likes of Ousman Gibba, Edu Sambou, Famara Jallow, Modou Sowe and Modou Gaye all had once served as DIGs before receiving their marching orders and only to be later reinstated with demotion. The truth be told, all these men have seen their best-before dates and have nothing more to offer the police. As a result, they should be retired with benefit to scale down the excessive and unnecessary Commissioner ranks.

Command and Control is less effective due to the liquidation of the ranks, unthoughtful deployments, sexual favours, corruption and political interference. A succinct illustration is the scenario of Commissioners Demba Sowe and Buba Sarr. By service, Sowe seniors Sarr. Sowe got deployed to head Interpol while Sarr was appointed CMC. Operationally, CMC oversees Interpol, Prosecution, Serious Crime and Fraud Squad. Thus, making Sowe answerable to his junior which gravely compromised command and control. Similarly, if an IGP sleeps with Sergeant and/or Private Enchanting in Banjul station, how does the State Officer expect her to fall in when he orders? If the Station Officer isn’t careful with her, he will find himself in Fatoto within the blink of an eye. This too erodes command and control.

The creation of irrational positions is another toothache of the police. For instance, when Tijan Badjie got reinstated after been fired and locked up, the position of Deputy CMC was created for him perhaps to compensate his prosecuting of Ex-IGP Ben Jammeh. It has been brought to my notice that the position of Pateh Bah which I highlighted on my Friday series was actually Regional Crime Co-ordinator for Kanifing and not CMC-Kanifing. Very smart in deed. Who are we fooling here? What happened to OC CID in each of the Police Divisions? To me the RCC is an identical twin of the OC CID unless their operational roles are not overlapping. Albeit the RCC is answerable to the CMC, his role replicates that of the Divisional OC CID.

Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

I SALUTE GAMBIAN WOMEN

July 9, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

After the Eid-ul-Fitr feast, I wrote using this and other media to express the hope and potentials we have in our society. Our culture of being one people, one nation, and one Gambia expressed through the jovial relationships we have between tribes, ethnic groups, regional groups and even clans is a great recipe for peace and progress.

Today, we witnessed another aspect of this communalism when women in the ‘Kombo Tubab Bankoo’, or urban area if you like, desired to get rid of the huge piles of waste in our markets and streets and they were joined by many of the menfolk. Indeed this is worth celebrating and we need to commend our womenfolk.

What do we Learn from this Set-Setal?

It is said that cleanliness is next to godliness. In fact there is no godliness without cleanliness. Every religion stresses on cleanliness and if someone is desirous of being godly, most certainly such a person should be clean both physically and spiritually. Well we know that the outward appearance of a person affects his or her inner feelings. A clean person could therefore be said to be pure inwardly as well.

 

This makes cleanliness extremely important therefore. This cleanliness however, does not only have to be in the pefact but also the environment. A clean person cannot live in a dirty environment. We can see therefore that keeping our surroundings clean is of absolute necessity.

Who is responsible?

Primarily, we [the people] are responsible for the cleanliness of our bodies and our environment. If each one of us takes it upon him/herself to ensure that you and your surroundings are clean then the waste and rubbish can be at various locations for further discarding by the right authorities. It is here that the role of the government [through the municipalities] comes in.

It is the responsibility of the municipalities to ensure that the waste is collected periodically and disposed of properly keeping in mind the hygiene and health of the people. For this reason, we pay tax to the local government/municipalities. They collect this money to ensure that our waste is collected and disposed of. But because for the past 22 years we had a dictatorship and a repressive government that did not care much about the people, that money was politicized and used for other things. As such, the work for which the taxes were meant was not – could not – be done. Today, we are all facing the consequences.

The Kankfing Municipal Council under the leadership of Mayor Yankuba Colley wasted out resources on politics and some other nonessential ventures and now, we all have to suffer for it. This has to change. We need to start taking responsibility and doing what we are supposed to do.

I wrote once that a man once thought that I was a fool because he saw me carrying an empty can drink for a long distance. He asked why I didn’t just throw it away? I replied that I couldn’t because there was no dustbin around. He said I should throw it away anyway because everyone does it.

This is our problem. Many people do something so we also do it even if it is wrong. If we don’t stop that behavior, progress will be difficult.

We have to make a conscious, concerted effort to ensure a change in attitude. We didn’t only vote for a change of the name of our president, we voted for a system change which has to be all-pervasive. Everything has to change for us to register the progress we are yearning for.

It seems our womenfolk want to lead that change! That is a good thing. I salute you, O women of the Gambia!

Tha Scribbler

HELLO MR PRESIDENT… THE BUDGET…

July 6, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

In the past few days, the National Assembly Members have been scrutinizing the 2017 Budget Estimates. Although I’ve not seen and perused the whole budget estimate, I have seen that the budget of the Office of the President has been reduced by D158 million while the Ministry of Agriculture has been reduced by D3 million.

Mr President, the others like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs been cut by D10 million. I wish to raise concerns over the amount of money reduced from the Ministry of Agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and majority of our citizens are engaged in agriculture. The advancement of agriculture translates into the advancement of the country.

Last week, while I was on a talkshow at Paradise FM Radio talking about the rainy season, some farmers called to express their desire to have assistance from the government. They said that as the last harvest was not good, they are even finding it difficult to buy rice at D1200 talk less of being able to buy a bag of groundnut seeds at D4000.00 with an additional D700 to be spent on fertilizer.

Naturally, if these farmers are not assisted by government, they will not be able to grow crops to the extent that will be beneficial to them and the country. The farmers are the ones who cultivate groundnuts, rice and other stuff that the Gambia exports in order for us to get foreign currency; but more importantly, it is the farmers who produce the food that we eat. As such, it is very important that we consider the farmers in the development agenda.

We commend the minister of finance and the National Assembly for a job well done. But we also call on them to even reduce more from the other ministries and the Office of the President but increase the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture.

We are calling on our youth to come home and stop the back way migration. In order to ensure that when they come home they stay, we need to provide them with jobs. The best way to do that [and the most feasible] is through agriculture. Let us invest in agriculture and education so that we will be able to stand on our own feet.

When we are able to do that then we can open ourselves to the rest of the world through foreign embassies. At the moment, we should think of reducing and/or amalgamating some of the embassies. That will cut cost. Use the money wisely for the priority areas.

It’s about austerity we say!

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen

FR. EDWARD GOMEZ; (KANG KILLING) IS GUEST OF HONOR AT THIS YEARS ATLANTA SANG MARIE

July 3, 2017

Fr. Edu Gomez (KangKilling)

By Tijan Masanneh Ceesay

The President of The Gambia Christian Organization of Atlanta, Mr. Jean Marenah has revealed that Fr. Edward Gomez of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banjul will be Chief Guest of Honor and Principal Celebrant at this year”s Sang Marie celebrations in Atlanta. Mr. Marenah was updating our reporter when he made this revelation. Fr. Edu is known for his tough sermons and preaching against the dictatorship that prevailed in The Gambia. He is fondly remembered for shattering the chains of tyranny and dictatorship in The Gambia when he went on Gambian Television and delivered his famous “Kang Killing” sermon. For many, this was a suicide mission but he never bulged and continued to call out the injustices and corruption in The Gambia. At that time, prolific Gambian writer and Journalist, Mathew K. Jallow wrote this;

“From under the ground in Brikama, like a phoenix, it rises. Its aesthetic calmness evoked a sense of Messianic reverence. And, even in its tranquil demeanor, the echoes of Fr. Gomez’s serene voice transcended the tribal and religious divides, to reverberate in the hearts and minds of Gambians; everywhere. Unsurprisingly, Fr Edu Gomez’s Sunday sermon touched on raw nerves, and gently challenged our better angels to act with sagacity and moral rectitude, as we ride out a dangerous religious fire-storm, in a country once renowned for its tolerance. The issue that grips the Gambia, this time again, is serious enough that hardly anyone is treating it with levity, and in soaking up on Fr Gomez’s dose of wisdom, the pandemonium surrounding the unilateral declaration of the Gambia’s Islamic state, a week earlier, resurfaced to nudge us into rejecting the injection of religion in the Gambia’s body politic. Suddenly, the gravity of the Gambia’s predicament was not theoretical anymore; it was real. And even as the temper of Edu Gomez’s sermon betrayed an Orwellian somberness, which spoke to the solemnity of the moment, only a few Gambians had come to grips with the precarious situation the country is plunged into. Only days earlier, a motley crew of self-serving Islamic clerics and elders had demonstrated their dangerous lack of objective rationality by lauding the surreptitious transformation of the Gambia into an exclusive Islamic hegemony, leaving other faiths in the lurch. Yahya Jammeh’s customary misuse of Islam, and abuse of Islamic clerics, to advance a political agenda, is unparalleled, but the easiness with which Muslim clerics and elders often succumb to the temptations of financial incentives and allow lust for material wealth to override their doctrinal liabilities, tantamount to dereliction of religious responsibilities.

In contrast, in this instance, the Rev Fr Gomez symbolized a check back into reality, something evidenced by an underpinning of professional insight and foresight in how draconian measure could easily degenerate in acts of violence. Fr Gomez’s reference to the tragedy in the Central African Republic, in his monologue sermon, exemplifies a contemporary historical attitude that Gambians can wrap their minds around, in order to understand the full breadth of the unintended consequences of superficial divisions of citizens, based solely on shallow, selfish political considerations. Rev Fr. Gomez’s lecture transported me back in time to another era, so long ago, sitting in church pews, listening to the booming voices of so many priests bellow out compelling canons of wisdom, but with the magic of imagination, that past was soon crowded out by the reality of the grimness of now, and the perils and the cataclysm that potentially looms over the Gambia. Unlike any other time in history, the sanctioning of inequality, based on religious belief or lack thereof, will drive a deep wedge between citizens of different faiths, and incite the resentment of a significant sub-section of the Gambian population. This intentional convergence of religion and politics has emerged as a centerpiece of the political conversation; a potential flashpoint of bigotry, intolerance and civil strife the Gambia cannot afford. Already, threats to the national security loom large in a political system built to appeal to the worst human instincts, and the tribe based politics that have haunted the majority of citizens for twenty-one long years. The implications of erecting barriers to opportunity, based on religious beliefs, are frightening to even ponder, considering how, so far, tribal preferences have relegated a section of the Gambian population to second-class citizen status, with a pent-up anger ready to explode into a political conflagration.

A cursory look at anecdotal evidence shows how seemingly innocuous hyperbole and bluster, have historically established footing, and turned the insipid into the awakening of the monsters in each of us. What makes the story of Fr Edu Gomez all the more fascinating is his emergence as a national icon, from a faraway parish, invisible behind thick shrubs and dwarfed by tall, majestic mahogany trees. The town of Brikama, Kombo North, is an unlikely place for a Catholic cleric to preach a message of wisdom to a local audience; a message that resonance at the national level, and has global reach. The adulation of Fr Edu Gomez is not limited to Catholics, as the verdict of history sets him apart from other clergies easily influenced by political access, and corruption of financial and material considerations. Fr Edu Gomez’s simple act of reverence has become a national call to reconcile with our better angels, and his moral rectitude has inadvertently turned into a national indictment of the systemic corruption of the Gambia’s Muslim clerics. The recent convergence of Muslim quacks at the State House, in demonstration of support for social stratification of Gambian society, based entirely on religious affiliation, has, for now, mainly receded into the dark depths of Gambians’ collective consciousness. An unpretentious sermon of piety in a back-yard chapel tucked innocently away behind thick shrubs and tall trees, has given rise to a new voice of reason. The towering character of Rev. Father Edward Gomez may not save the Gambia from sliding into the toxic mix religion and politics, but in this spat between religious excess and simple common sense, this man of God has illustrated how the cantankerous Islamic clerics have fallen into disrepute, as objects of political propaganda and the destruction of Gambian society. This may not be the march of the crusaders, but, it is certainly a reminder of the constant struggle to keep the Gambia united by tribe, geography and by religion.”

The Gambia Christian Organization invites all Gambians to join them in Atlanta during the weekend of 18th. of August as they welcome and celebrate one of our liberators in the person of Fr. Edward Gomez, Kang Killing!

HELLO MR PRESIDENT…. ! Waqtu Ala! Waatoo Te Jee! Wahtu Amut!

June 29, 2017

Author: Tha Scribbler Bah

By Tha Scribbler Bah

I have repeatedly written about these things, but I will not tire of doing so until I see tangible steps. For twenty two long years we waited to offer our little advice in the way we are governed and did not have the opportunity. Thus you can understand the zeal and enthusiasm some of us feel to have the right, ability, and courage to put pen on paper and give our unsolicited advice and suggestion. So bear with us!

When on December 1 2016, the results showed that you had been elected into office, we were overjoyed. We were full of hope. We were full of enthusiasm and thought: Here comes the chance for us to make rapid progress and be counted among the comity of nations! We prayed, sang, hoped and cried out of overflowing exuberance. Alas! Some people are beginning to lose that glimmer of hope.

Firstly, let me start with the issue of the Vice President. You appointed the good lady Madam Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang and concerns were raised over her being over aged according to the Constitution. True to your nature of being a democrat, you rescinded the decision and appointed her as minister for Women’s Affairs and overseer of the Vice Presidency. This in itself was wrong because the vice presidency, being higher than the minister, it is hardly possible for her to oversee that position. But we bore it as we had seen that at least you are listening to the voices of the people. But then, on the 25th of June when you addressed the religious elders, you referred to her as ‘my vice president’. This is somehow reneging on your own word.

The youth need jobs. We expected to have a plan to solve the unemployment problem. The youth need jobs to sustain themselves and feed their families. We expected that by now there would be a development blueprint which will map out ways of giving them jobs. We are waiting for this development blueprint, Mr President.

Then comes the issue of the Constitutional review – and this is somehow pertinent to the issue of the vice president – one would have thought that by now the Constitutional review would be in high gear and underway. But things are quiet. Or is it that something is happening that we do not know about? What is the problem? Why aren’t we hearing anything about that?

Then comes the issue of Term Limits. We want to hear a clear and unequivocal pronouncement on the issue of term limits. This is important because we know that many a time in Africa, leaders have been known to ‘wakh wakheet’ on this issue.

There was talk since the time of the campaign and even later, of a Think Tank. We waited eagerly for this, thinking that that is how we are going to get the ideas to transform Gambia into a modern, advanced and democratic country. When therefore we heard the announcement that it will start or will be launched on a particular Monday, we were elated. That Monday has come and gone; meanwhile, we are yet to see anything Think Tank.

I think one of the things that should be addressed with utmost urgency is the issue of Constitutional reform. Every other thing will gradually fall into place if that problem is addressed. It is the substratum of all actions of the government and the citizens. Please, do something about that!

Have a Good Day Mr President….

Tha Scribbler Bah

A Concerned Citizen