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‘Barrow Is Killing GDC In NBR’

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By Omar Bah

Former Jokadou chairman of the Gambia Democratic Congress, who recently resigned to join President Adama Barrow, has claimed that his former party is dying a natural death in the Niumis.

Ousman Jallow, who claimed he left the GDC with his entire committee members, said they have decided to join President Barrow because “we believe the GDC has no future”.
“I can vehemently tell you that 95% of GDC supporters in Jakadou and the Niumis have joined Barrow and the GDC is dead here. Barrow has done to Mamma Kandeh what he [Kandeh] did to Yahya Jammeh here in 2016,” he told The Standard.

Asked why he left the GDC, Jallow replied: “You know politics is all about interest and that means you need to see yourself in whatsoever you are supporting. We are looking for development and if Barrow can bring us that we will support him. This is why I left the GDC.”

Jallow claimed the GDC vice councilor at Kerewan Area Council, the Councilor of Medina Ward and their chairman in the region, have also resigned and joined Barrow.
He said the GDC made a lot of promises they did not fulfill in the area.

“But I gave the devil its due. The GDC has done tremendously well in other areas and if all the political parties were doing what GDC had done, this country would have changed. But in our case, we believe we deserved even better, hence our switch to Barrow,” he added.
He said their main objective now is to help Barrow in his political ambitions.

Jallow said after completing his switch to Barrow, he is now made secretary general of the Barrow Fan Club in Jokadou, as well as regional youth mobiliser for North Bank Region.
Turning to President Barrow’s prospect of winning a second term, Jallow said: “No political party, not even the UDP can stop the Gambian leader from winning the next presidential election”.

Meanwhile The Standard contacted GDC official MC Cham about Ousman Jallow’s claims. Mr Cham dismissed Jallow’s claims as mere propaganda.

“In the first place, Jallow was only an acting chairman of Jokadou Constituency but he has since been removed from that position. In fact, we had to involve the police to get him to hand over his official GDC motor cycle. In any case, we are not surprised that he left for Barrow because he changes his loyalty like a chameleon. He is even a former PDOIS supporter,” Cham claimed.

He also said GDC remains the strongest party in NBR, with its chairman and prominent members intact and working for the party.

”If anything, the party is growing bigger there. And also, if as Ousman Jallow is claiming Barrow has taken over NBR from GDC, then let the President step down now and test his popularity in a snap election,” Cham challenged.

GDC NAM asks AG to stop BYM political activities

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By Omar Bah

The GDC National Assembly Member for Niamina East has asked the Attorney General to stop the Barrow Youth Movement from promoting President Barrow’s political agenda because they are not registered as a political party.

Omar Ceesay said as a registered NGO, BYM is barred from conducting political activities.
“This is why I want to urge the AG to use his powers and ask them to stop their political activities. If they refuse to adhere to his advice, he should deregister them,” he told The Standard via telephone.

He continued: “The AG should immediately write to the movement because we cannot continue to tolerate the nonsense of the past in this country.”

Hon Ceesay alleged that BYM are using the NGO tag to mask their actual mandate which is to campaign for President Barrow even though the Gambian leader is yet to form his own political party.

“They are registered as an NGO but now all their activities are political and according to the law, NGOs should not take part in politics. So having the BYM going with the President during the Meet the People Tour to politic for him is unacceptable. This shows that they are just hiding behind the name NGO, but they are a political party in the making,” he said.

Ceesay said Gambians should not take the actions of the Movement lightly, given the experience under Jammeh who created the notorious Green Youths which terrorized the opposition parties.

“What interest does the President have to ask people to leave their political parties to join him? Where is his political party? We must wake up and stop this nonsense before it is too late,” he warned.

Ceesay said Barrow was elected by Gambians based on principles. “He should stop abusing his powers. He was not asked to bring any development. What we asked of him is to reform our institutions and he should respect those desires and aspirations of the people.”

Asked if GDC is threatened by BYM, Ceesay said these concerns are not and should not be only GDC’s. “I am raising these issues because as a Gambian, I believe it is only correct I condemn what I feel is illegal,” he added.

He dismissed as rubbish any suggestion that GDC supporters are switching to Barrow in large numbers.

“The genuine supporters of the GDC will always stick with the party which is getting bigger and bigger. Our supporters who they are claiming have joined Barrow have come out to clearly state that they are still with the GDC,” Ceesay concluded.

Witness says witch-hunters made him carry human skull

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By Mafugi Ceesay

Ali Marr, a survivor of Yahya Jammeh’s witch hunting exercise in 2009, yesterday told the TRRC that he was handed a human skull by the witch doctors which they claimed was dug from the ground in his compound.

Marr narrated how the hunters, escorted by two soldiers, arrived at his house when his family was having lunch and told him that there was an object in his compound they were looking for.

“They then acted as if they were digging a pit and suddenly pulled out an object that looked like a skull of a human being and placed it in my hands. I was astounded and up to this day, I am not clear how they came by that skull,” he said.
Marr said the witch hunters made him carry this skull for well over half a kilometer towards a bus that was waiting.

He said he later realized that the whole plan was to frame him so that they could tell people that he was found eating a human being.
He said he was arrested with Isatou Marr, Kolley Marr [his sister] and Awa Marr, saying at the time of their arrest, her sister was severely sick but that did not stop the witch hunters and soldiers from forcing her into the bus.

He said only his sick donkey and his son were left at his house.
Another survivor, Adama Gassama gave an account of the horrible treatment she and her husband suffered at the hands of the witch doctors.

Canada, Netherlands join Gambia’s fight for Rohingyas

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Press release

On November 11th 2019, The Gambia filed a lawsuit at The Hague demanding accountability on the systematic violations of the rights of minority Rohingya Muslims by the Government of Myanmar.

Following this, Canada, Netherlands and The Gambia have agreed to form a tripartite joint working group to pursue the case.

The Honourable Minister of Foreign Minister, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, who returned from Jeddah where he attended the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, reported that The Gambia was highly praised by OIC member countries for its acceptance to pursue the case on behalf of the OIC.

While in Jeddah, Dr. Tangara held discussions with many of his counterparts all of whom renewed their countries’ steadfastness and support for The Gambia with a view to ensuring accountability for the potential crimes against the Rohingya population.

The Honourable Bob Rae, Canada’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, raised the need for accountability and Canada’s unflinching support to The Gambia in ensuring justice for the victims. The Indonesian Economic Affairs Minister, Mr. Darmin Nasution, also expressed his country’s support for Gambia’s bid to bring accountability for the Rohingya minority.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, assured Dr. Tangara that Saudi Arabia will continue working with The Gambia Government to pursue the case to its logical conclusion. Prince Faisal also revealed his country’s plan to open an Embassy in Banjul in the near future.

Issued by the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad

GPU prexy urges female journalists to expose sexual harassment at work

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By Aisha Tamba

The President of the Gambia Press Union yesterday called on women journalists to report sexual harassment when it occurs at their work places.

Speaking at a sensitisation workshop on sexual harassment policy for the media, Sheriff Bojang Jr said: “Often times, the problem is because of economic reasons. Victims do not want to report sexual harassment at work places because it is often done by their superiors or colleagues and they are afraid to report it because they do not want to lose their jobs. So many people are keeping quiet and going through that pain and trauma.”

He said the issue of sexual harassment at work places has been a “priority to the GPU… so that anytime someone goes through sexual harassment, you do something about it by reporting the matter.”

He stressed his disappointment with some remarks about a sexual assault bill on Tuesday at the National Assembly.

He explained: “I never saw that coming yesterday. I was at parliament and there was a bill about sexual assault. Not one or two but three lawmakers made very outrageous comments which show that this country is far behind compared to the rest of world.
“One NAM stood up and said he will not condone sexual assault but he queried about short skirts and the kind of dresses women wear and no one showed any surprise among his colleagues there. Anywhere else in the world, that would be the biggest news and that person or law makers will be pressured into resigning,” he said.

The President of Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, Sarjo Camara said the policy is not a witch-hunt against men, but it will address the unacceptable act in the media industry.
“All complaints of sexual harassment will be taken seriously, treated with urgency, respect and in accordance with law,” she promised.

The two-day sensitisation is organised by the Gambia Press Union, through the Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, implementing the project, entitled ‘Breaking the gender barriers’ in the media. The 12-month project is funded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

6 Gambian Sports Journos Nominated For Aips Media Awards

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Six young Gambian sportsjournalists have been nominated for the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) sports media awards to be held in February 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. The six are John Mendy, Omar Jarju, Sulayman Bah, Baboucar Sey, Lamin Del Fadera and Alieu Ceesay.

AIPS is the peak professional body representing the international sports media, with more than 9,500 members worldwide.
This is the second edition of the awards and according to the organisers, a total of 1746 submissions were received globally, 37% more than in the opening edition of the Awards and 48% of the entrants had not participated in the opening edition.

Musa Sise, president of the Sports Journalists’ Association of the Gambia, SJAG, said he is personally delighted that Gambians sports journalism has got recognition even at this stage.”It shows our members have proven themselves.Last year we had only two nominees and this year we have six. Even at this stage we have made some achievement. I am hoping that they will go far,” he said.

The pillar of democracy

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By H.E Dr Isatou Touray
Vice President of the
Republic of The Gambia

On December 2016, Gambians decided their fate by coming together in Unity of purpose and direction to deliver the country from the brutal dictatorship of Yahya Jammeh who for twenty two years ruled the Gambia with an Iron fist, and was making his fifth bid as president. Then it became quite clear that no single party can effect change or take over power from him. Given the peaceful nature of Gambians, people wanted to effect change in a non-violent way and decided to look at possibilities of how to liberate the country in a peaceful manner.

As feminist activists with years of grassroots activism, we thought it fit to join the political parties that were making genuine attempts to remove the dictator. This meant entering a male dominated space to disrupt the status quo and bring in other perspectives such as the involvement of women and youth in the political arena.

Different options were deliberated upon and finally a consensus was reached with the emergence of an independent candidate, elected through the primaries.
Adama Barrow emerged the winner among the contenders and became the Coalition flag bearer. After electing a coalition flag bearer, all the Coalition leaders collectively engaged and put aside their partisan inclinations and traversed the whole country to appeal for a peaceful and non- violent change. The various political parties, interest groups, teams and individuals; the youths and women who were all affected by the dictatorship played a lead role in supporting the Coalition led by H.E Adama Barrow. Despite their different political persuasions they came together in unity of purpose and direction to salvage the Gambia. Key among the campaign agenda was the need to strengthen the democratic institutions by setting up commissions and relevant institutions to set the legal frameworks and policies for the Third Republic.

The Law Reform Commission, the Constitution Review Commission, the Land Commission, Janneh Commission, the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), the Media Reforms to promote freedom of expression etc. are creating the enabling environment to set the pace for the democracy we longed for.
Similarly, a comprehensive review of policies were undertaken to facilitate the effective engagement of various institutions to align them with current developments that the Barrow government is planning.

There are also quite a number of Laws and Bills enacted to respond to the changing needs of Gambians. All keen followers of development trends of the past dictatorship would observe that our noble democratic institutions had lost their glory and the good performance they were known for in the first Republic. Institutions were not allowed to work efficiently and effectively in pursuance of due process and procedures. Our human rights records were very poor; there was no respect and recognition of people’s rights resulting in extrajudicial killings, disappearances, impunity and persecution of independent minded people. There was serious interference with due diligence and procedures, and professional ethics was undermined by interference and state impunity.

This has resulted in lack of confidence in the Jammeh regime leading to migration of the young able bodied men, women and youth to look for safety and opportunities to survive. This is why Gambia was among the 1st quintile of countries of high migration rates.
Similarly, the environment in which the technocrats worked was disabling resulting in high attrition of technically competent people in search of greener pastures. The brain drain resulted in weak institutions and inefficient workforce. Those who migrated to look for peace and safety were heading reputable international and regional institutions and contributing their quota to development. Those who chose to remain faced a lot of tribulations and trials that were orchestrated by the dictator – Yahya Jammeh.
The political parties operating on individual platforms could not uproot the power of the entrenched dictatorship. Several attempts were made to change the Jammeh Regime but to no avail. A different innovative and collective strategy was needed to achieve that goal.

THE PEOPLE’S WILL
The Third Republic came into being when the will of the people reigned supreme by collective efforts of political parties, individuals, teams, groups, civil society and institutions who saw the need to come together to change their destiny. Mr. Adama Barrow was chosen to lead The Gambia with the support and guidance of the Coalition 2016 in November 1st 2016. His ascension to the presidency brought in a ray of hope to the Gambia and its people. He found a situation where mutual trust was eroded, freedoms were curtailed, and self censorship was prevalent. A culture of silence prevailed as a result of fear of what would happen to them. Fear reigned, thus affecting people’s confidence. That has changed now and we are seeing a vibrant nation through freedom of expression where people are expressing their views, where democracy is taking shape and giving hope to many who felt that the Gambia can never come out of the darkness of dictatorship. This is the beginning of freedom and liberty as people are free to express their views and opinions. Gambians are taking this challenge to engage constructively and consolidate the gains of freedom and liberty. We need peace and stability to achieve the goal.

The legacy of the Dictatorship
The government of Adama Barrow has inherited a lot of issues such as the misappropriation of resources, and weak institutions. The gross violation of human Rights and State impunity using the security forces as an instrument of oppression resulted in fear, pandemonium and panic. The change from this situation resulted to high expectations. This was the situation in which the coalition government found itself. Amidst the need to manage the great expectations, government on a daily basis was discovering things beyond recognition. While responding to such issues the government has to focus on managing these processes in an efficient and professional way following due diligence and procedures. Given the context that the Barrow government inherited a systematic and professional approach is needed to address them.

The situation so far
In 2016 -2017, His Excellency President Adama Barrow translated his manifesto to action that set the enabling environment for democracy to thrive. These are frameworks, policies, procedures to guide the country.

Legal Frameworks such as Bills, Acts and Protocols were revisited or developed to respond to the concerns of the citizens to be able to run and govern the country diligently using the relevant instruments to guide the process.

Also, the executive (H.E and Cabinet) are rigorously engaged in following due process to approve and debate over them in the best interest of the country.
. These bills and related instruments are presented to the National Assembly for debate in the best interest of the people. In response to the current situation the executive is engaged in formulating cabinet papers for discussions and approval in response to the changing circumstances.

Therefore matters that affect the population require having representatives who will analyze, understand and appreciate to come up with outcomes to benefit the country. This process should not be based on partisan politics. Under the third republic we have seen the vibrant debates MPs are engaged in, exercise of their rights to express their opinions without fear of arrest or disappearance. This is true democracy at work.

At the Macro- Economic Level: we have observed steady progress in growth and improvements in our reserves. There is confidence in the economy because of the steps taken and efforts made by the government in responding to the abysmal situation we found in the economy. Therefore, let us appreciate and protect the processes that are giving us this positive economic outlook. Let us maintain peace and stability to attract investors, and private individuals to engage in the country. Confidence is being created for Gambians, the private sector and philanthropists to engage meaningfully, and any effort to create instability and chaos will have a negative and rippling effect on the economy. Jobs which are needed to provide employments for youth and able bodied people will be affected. The opportunities that we envisage to create for our demographic dividend will be affected. The resources needed to fulfill our development projects in the areas of Health, Education, Agriculture, Tourism, Trade and Investment will be

affected. Government is committed to empower women and youth in various ways, through different projects.
The trajectory of the government’s development initiatives are positive and towards the right direction. In doing this, we must follow due processes to provide infrastructure and services and that is what the government is doing.

The media is enjoying freedom of expression in the Third Republic, engaging people to express their views. People of various backgrounds are provided the platform to express themselves on matters of state which is towards the right direction. Job opportunities are opening to those who chose to train as journalists as well as internship for students and talents are encouraged to engage and thrive.
A free press is key in a democracy. This government is committed to promoting press freedom.

The difficult situation in the past dictatorship resulted in mass exodus of youth taking the back-way. The Government of H.E Adama Barrow through the European Union has launched several projects geared towards youth and women empowerment. The most recent is the TEKKI FII Grant, (make it in the Gambia), seeks to contribute to socio-economic development and nurture prospects for Gambian Youths, including returnees and / or potential migrants by promoting attractive employment and income opportunities. In the Gambia, economic development and employment opportunities are the cornerstone for realising the full vision of the NDP. This is exactly what this government is doing by developing the policy frameworks and projects to respond to the pressing priority of addressing youth employment. Therefore all the sectors in government are responding to deal with the lived realities inherited from the past dictatorship, to generate jobs for the youth. We must be patient and follow due process and procedures to get it right.

What are the achievements up to date?
Having set the development agenda for the country through the NDP 2018 – 2021, the Barrow Government embarked on fund raising to implement the NDP. Pledges were made by different donors and friends of the Gambia. Since then the various ministries have engaged in implementing development projects for the good of the Gambia.
The current situation of implementation of the NDP has resulted in the following achievements by the Barrow Government:
Barrow’s Government stands firm in its conviction that good governance breeds peace and stability. It is therefore the fundamental pillar upon which all others will depend. It provides a conducive and permissive political, social and economic environment that allows the government to put in place policies, programs and strategies that uphold human rights and justice to spur economic growth, and give us the ability to provide basic service to our people.

Within the short period of change of two and half years Barrow government has made substantial progress into the realm of Civil and Political Rights, resulting in marked improvement in restoring the right of freedom of expression . Mo Ibrahim’s index for African Governance 2014 to 2017 shows that the Gambia (+39.4) has made the biggest leaps in the rule of law indicators. Similarly, the World Bank Report as well as the UNDP assessment gave a good outlook of progress made by the government of Adama Barrow which validates our efforts to restore democracy and good governance.

The Gambia has made progress in its transitional justice program. The Constitutional Review Commission is working on a new constitution before the end of 2019, with effective citizen participation across the country and the diaspora. The Constitution addresses term limits for the first time in the history of the Gambia. In fact a draft is submitted for discussion.

The Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) is engaging with the victims of human rights violations of the former regime to ensure accountability as well as safeguarding the welfare of people affected. The TRRC has made significant inroads through important witnesses. The ultimate outcome of their work is to heal the wounds of the past, help the victims and their families to find closure and set the stage for national reconciliation. Fifty Million Dalasis has been provided by the Barrow Government towards the victims funds.

The first ever independent National Human Rights Commission is now fully operational to address human rights violations in the country. The creation of the Human Rights Commission will guarantee and transform the human rights landscape in the Gambia. This will ensure the promotion, protection and fulfillment of rights of the people of the Gambia, as well as compliance by the government with human rights standards both nationally and globally.

The Janneh Commission of Inquiry has completed its work in March of this year, submitted a comprehensive report and government was issued a white paper on the findings and recommendations.

The Barrow Government is in the process of transforming the Security Sector. It is working closely with the security operatives with technical support from development partners to make it effective, professional and accountable to the state and the Gambians. The evidence before the TRRC has revealed the excesses of the security forces during the dictatorship. These reforms will also mainstream gender issues across the board in the security sector.

Government has moved the strategic interest of half the population “WOMEN” from rhetoric to Action. In 2018, the president used his “POLITICAL WILL” to endorse and create for the first time in the political history of the Gambia a Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare. This Ministry is working closely with the relevant development partners to develop the ministry to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, children’s rights and other vulnerable groups. This is one of the greatest achievements among others that this government has done to advance the rights of women and children.

Attaining food self-sufficiency, a crucial component of the overall policy of government, is a top priority. To this effect, government through the Ministry of Agriculture has stepped up support to farmers countrywide in the form of supply of tractors, transplanters, combined harvesters, power tillers, threshers, rice planters and milling machines to improve agricultural activities through mechanization and improved foundation seeds. Women have been the major target in most of these interventions and government will continue to prioritise women i

ssues across the broad spectrum of our development agenda and priorities.
Tourism and Culture continue to make tremendous success with a record breaking increase in arrival statistics for 2017 to 2018 season. There are efforts to maintain all round tourism which will provide jobs for youth and would as well promote Gambian art and crafts, food and drinks across the country.

Health Care is almost free, especially for maternal and child health. We maintain over 90% vaccination coverage of children against all vaccine preventable diseases. As a result, indicators on infant and under five mortality rates have improved.

More and more children are enrolling in schools at both basic and secondary levels. Two hundred and twenty new classrooms are being built in forty two schools and the construction of three senior secondary schools is underway in Gunjur, Sanyang and Somita. Across the country thirty nine Upper Basic and Secondary schools will be built.

The Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI) will be transformed into a university in conformity with government’s science and technology turnaround policy, with a new university of STEM while we continue to graduate more Doctors, Dentists and Nurses.
The government is committed to building infrastructure and the initiatives it is taking for the realization of this commitment is translated into construction of road networks across the country to facilitate movement of goods and services. The inauguration of the Sene-Gambia Bridge is a case in point while other bridges are under construction. Other infrastructure such as electricity and water as well as the OMVG project are towards the right direction. Electricity is placed at the doorsteps of many Gambians and there is a massive effort to make it accessible to all.

The Barrow Government has brought the Gambia back to the community of Nations by building diplomatic ties and friendly relations. The Gambia has returned to the Commonwealth, ICC and established diplomatic ties with The People’s Republic of China among others.

In the Fisheries and water resources sector, water is of course a basic human right and government is trying together with partners to provide clean drinking water to all Gambian communities. A water bill is now finalized to be put before parliament for adoption. Great efforts are made to improve the fisheries sector.

It is a matter of regret that the recent disaster that struck in the CRR and URR affected many families. Government’s response to come to the aid of disaster victims was swift and effective. I have recently returned from upcountry to assess the impact of support provided to the communities affected by the wind storm surge in August. His Excellency, President Barrow personally contributed substantially as he called on other people, institutions and development partners to support the victims. This has made great impact in their life and wellbeing. Throughout the country I can see smiles and appreciation of the changes taking place in the communities. Many people have sent messages of appreciation and commitment to guide and support this change.

Government remains focused on achieving the targets set in the National Development Plan. The Sene-Gambia Bridge was commissioned in January of this year. The URR bridges and Roads projects have been launched. These are designed to ease movement and enhance economic activity within the region. The construction of the International Conference Centre (ICC) is complete. This has the potential to create about one thousand jobs.

We have seen the proliferation of private radio stations, newspapers, private television stations and the use of the social media by the supporters of the regime and the opposition, as well as private individuals.
We have come a long way in freeing ourselves from the shackles of the dictator and therefore the onus is upon all of us to uphold the rule of law and good governance in pursuit of development goals. May Allah bless and protect the Gambia our homeland.
Thanks.

bridge

We can be a secular state and remain religious people

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By Njundu Drammeh

Once upon a time in Europe, the Church was the State and the State was the Church. The overarching reach of the Church, the spiritual, in State matters, the temporal, was overwhelming and stifling. There was no distinction between State and Church; cushioned by a relationship which was both cozy and intruding in the lives of the people. Then came the Age of Enlightenment and the chorus for the separation of Church and State, albeit accentuated by the actions of Kings who saw themselves as viceroys of God on earth or had papal backing. There began the struggle for secularization of the State, backed by the saying “give unto Caesar what is due to Caesar; and give unto God what is due to God”. France and the United Kingdom of the time were cases in point. It is important then to understand that secularism was first a fight against the Church, and in truth against Catholicism… The other Christian denominations then waded in, on the side of the men and women of the Enlightenment.

Then in the present, we have the rise of Islamic extremism, in the likes of Al-Qaida and ISS, and Christian extremism, represented by the born-again. And the migration of Muslims to the West or Europe, with their religion and values. Clash of civilization or values became apparent. Secularism in Europe, France and the United Kingdom in particular, are again good examples. We saw in these countries a twisted extension of secularism, diametrically opposite to its real purport and intention. Christian extremist politicians politicised secularism and the secular nature of their countries as revenge against Islamic extremism, erroneously regarded as the main representation of Islam. But even in these countries we saw men and women rise up against these extremists and the courts upholding Muslims’ right to practice their religion as well as exhibit things associated with it such as the wearing of the veils, etc…. Let it be clear that these extremists, whether Muslims or Christians, do not represent Islam or Christianity and their teachings.

So, let it be clear that secularism:
– is not promotion of irreligiosity
– isn’t anti-religion
– doesn’t take away one’s right to practice one’s religion or whatever faith; that’s a guaranteed fundamental human right
– doesn’t mean one cannot conduct his or her religious activities in public spaces: we pray in public spaces, religious edifices are in public spaces, gamos and processions are conducted in public.

– is not a denial of religion or its existence or centrality in the lives of the people.
– has nothing to do with same sex marriage or its promotion.
– has nothing to do with inheritance or how it is divided
– is not seeking a reformation of Islam or the negation of Islamic tenets.
The call for insertion of the word “secular” in the Constitution is not a ploy against Islam or Christianity or religion but rather to ensure that the State stays with matters temporal and leaves the Mosque and Church with matters spiritual. It is for the State not to favour one religion over others or treats all religions equally in the distribution of state resources, powers, privileges, etc. It is to ensure that there is no “religious patronage” by the political class who are wont to exploiting religion for their political ends.

May be we need to remind ourselves of a little history which saw the overeaching and overbearing hands of the State in matters spiritual: declaration of The Gambia as an Islamic State;
squandering of state resources on religious activities at State House which we now know were a façade for evil by Jammeh; edict that all women put on a headtie; forcing the veil or Islamic education on Christian run schools; forcing all Muslims to observe Eid-ul Fitr on the same day; using religious leaders and scholars to intimediate others who disagreed with them; closing down a mosque situated on the beaches of Gunjur; and other litanies which have aggrieved followers of other faiths. Once upon a time, a year or so ago, the President promised to build 60 mosques from funds whose sources we do not know. And few months ago, he gave some Millions of Dalasis to the Supreme Islamic Council and Banjul Muslim Elders to conduct a nationwide peace tour, as if we were in conflict or that peace was scarce. We have a history which points to State use of State resources as religious patronage, of unequal treatment between religions. That history is frightening and there is no guarantee that it won’t repeat. Safeguards therefore must be there to ensure the separation of Church and Mosque from State.

Separation of church/mosque and State is not necessarily about weakening the position of religion in the society. A country can be secular in terms of separation of the temporal and spiritual in matters of the State while recognising the role of religion in the lives of the people. Come to think of it, while about 90 per cent of our population is Muslim, the Gambia does not have an officially recognised religion. So we as a people can decide what type of secular state we want: one which is about the total separation of religion (Mosque and Church) and State, or one which asserts the separation of religion and State but recognising the role of religion in the lives of the people. Who said we cannot have our own model of secular state?
We can define or articulate what the State must not do, for example not funding any religious activity or giving State funds to one religion (or fund all religion re payment of salaries to all Imams and priests); prohibiting in law the imposition of a religious thing on someone who is not an adherent of that religion such as forcing on children a religious education or dressing they are not adherent of. We can define what must and mustn’t. We can.

We are not giving ourselves a new Constitution just because we want to. The 1997 Constitution could have sufficed. But no, we want to give ourselves a new Constitution because we have witnessed impunity, gross human rights violations, overbearing State, weakened accountability mechanisms, corruption and State extravagance, abuse and misuse of state power and resources, insecurity of minorities, etc. We are giving ourselves a new Constitution because we do not want to be that condemned nation which repeated its past….

And no, it is neither here nor there to argue that we cannot insert “secular” in the S.1(1) of the draft Constitution because the word was never part of the 1997 Constitution. How many completely new sections and chapters do we have in the draft Constitution which are not in the 1997 Constitution? If that argument is to be a rock to lean on, then why can’t we just retain the 1997 Constitution? Second, “secular” is not just a word, it is about the life of our polity, a character and form which defines an attitude of the State. And we know that words don’t just matter, often time in court it is a word on which freedom or punishment hangs.

And the CRC can interpret the word “secular” in the draft Constitution, and define what and what not the State can do in matters of spirituality or religion.
And lastly, as far as I know, Islam and Christianity have many common and shared values, especially in aspects of morality…. Secularism isn’t a fight against these values. So Christians and Muslims who are supporting the insertion of “secular” in that section of the draft Constitution have no hidden agenda than the promotion of social cohesion.
We can have a meeting ground on the insertion of “secular” in the draft Constitution. It can be a win-win. The values we share in common are more than the differences which separate us, as Muslims or Christians.
And as there are many Islamic extremists so are there many Christian extremists as well. We ought to be wary of both.

In Foni after ‘a truth’

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With Mustapha K Darboe

A man looked on with blood shot eyes. His fist in slow motion fell on the table before him. The protested muscles slowly receded. And his gaze fell upon Horejah Bala Gaye. “Aning teh kiling, ateng nteh siti nola,” he said, looking agitated. I would come to know him as Karamo Manneh.

Manneh was passionate as he was angry when talking about the 2009 witch hunting. By the test of former president Yahya Jammeh’s witch doctors, he was a wizard. A truth then it was. Or for truth, but the truth, was Jammeh’s. He owned it.

In January 2009, Jammeh was to distinguish himself from the rest of tyrants before him. Some witch doctors on his orders began invading communities and institutions searching for witches and wizards. The hunters were being escorted by Major Solo Bojang, a onetime top member of the state guard.

Manneh was their victim, as were hundreds in Foni. Their mandate, as we would come to know, was to cleanse the country of witches and wizards. They managed to kill at least 12 in Sintet alone and exiled their Alkalo to Casamance for 3 months. The hunters were being protected by soldiers who were reportedly led by Major Bojang.
Also, protecting them was the Green Boys, a civilian vigilante group associated with former President Jammeh.

Manneh came to tell ‘a truth’ to the world. He sat before ‘a’ Truth Commission in Sibanor, a settlement about 29 minutes from Kanilai, the birth place of Jammeh.
As Manneh testified before the Commission, in the crowd were students from Sibanor and natives of Sintet.

Last week was the second week of following the trail of witch doctors. There, I sat, as people narrated their stories, from Jambur to Sibanor, pondering. I have watched tears fall on peoples’ breasts. I have watched people bite their lips in anger. I have seen anger; an anger unmitigated.

How wicked is time? How wicked is the wind? They have connived to wipe their footpaths. I could travel in the minds but couldn’t see the footprints—the footprints of the witch doctors.

As Manneh burst, Horejah looked on with an expressionless expression. Her eyes blank. Perhaps like me, she just doesn’t know how to feel the ridiculous. How does one convince himself that any sane President would send people on forceful confession mission—that people are witches but somehow, you who notice that, you are not?
Like everyone else, Horejah too must have a tortured mind. It has been ten months of a truth. A truth we sometimes hope does not become the truth. We doubt not only ourselves but even our gods. Dictatorship is an embracement of the absurd!
This truth that tortures a nation! But a truth expired, that was. Truth is supposed to save, they say. For truth is what shall set men free. But how does it save when it is not said on time? Is truth and time separable? Must truth come after the crime, during or before?
I could use some distraction. On my phone, I turned to some Quran. I could not hear Manneh anymore but I could feel and see his expression—the picture on his face. “Which of the blessings of your Lord will you deny?” said a voice in my ear. Me, I said to myself.
Who must I hold responsible for this ridiculous excess of the Authority? The gods who, like men, were silent witnesses? Must that be the blessing I deny? But could the poet Khalil Gibran be right?
“And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, so the wrongdoer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all,” said Almustafa to the people of Orphalese.
“Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self. You are the way and the wayfarers. And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone.”

But was it Khalil, the writer, who was talking of Almustafa, the character in the tale? This rule is a bad law. How can the murdered not be unaccountable for his own murder, and the robbed not blameless in being robbed?

Perhaps, Horejah, like me and the rest of mankind are all sinners. Together, we did the witch hunting. Or by our mere existence, must we be accomplices? What if I say it is your tax that funds the witch doctoring?

What if I tell you that it was your silence that perpetuated the witch doctoring? How about if I tell you that it was your votes that gave us Jammeh for election results are a product of all those who voted. It mattered not who you voted for.

That was perhaps the frustration on the face of Dr Baba Galleh Jallow. Jallow sat next to Horejah. He buried his chin in his palm. His lower jaw fell, exposing his teeth. He too needed air. Everyone under the tent in Sibanor needed fresh air.

Like the rest of Mankind, the last to despair, the man who makes fun in hell, also looked on. At the TRRC only Dr Lamin Sise jokes. Often no or little laugh greets his joke. Not that his storylines are not funny but tortured minds knew not what fun is. Tired eyes recognised not what is happiness.

His face nevertheless lit. Dr is a kind soul. In Jambur I have watched him make fun of an old woman who in her 80s, he said, is still a beauty that will shake many men. Eventually, we would come to know that Dr Sise was speaking for himself. Who loves a witch!
There was no ST. You would a man of that standing, his lyrical clarity and artistic purity, to say IT. For even Dr knows in our world, Konga, has long died.

Dr Sise occasionally gets appalled with 22 years of Jammeh making the absurd normal. But if wrongdoers are sinners, so are onlookers. Helplessness is an excuse Heaven takes not. He was at UN. We were here.

It is like Mutabaruka taking Christopher Columbus to court. They don’t even live in the same century. Thus, brother Muta and the Judge One Thousand Years have a music but they do not know a court case.

Konga is time. So, shall it expire? And as it expires, like toffee, its taste disappears. So, must this nation speak Konga while it is useful? For useful truth, not a truth but the truth, saves life. Such truth would have prevented detention of an Angel.

Even Angels were detained in Jammeh’s Gambia. Three-year old baby of Nyima Jarju and Bully Badgie was detained at Sibanor police station. The couple sat before me, revealing a story they kept to themselves for a decade. As Nyima began the story, she sobbed, paused and picked a tissue before her. Tears started streaming.

“…We were put in a cell and we did not have dinner that night. I was in the cell with my baby. There was no ventilation in the cell. I spent the night with my baby,” she said before the Commission on November 28. Is Gambia a nation of faith or the faithful or simply, hypocrites?
Nyima would be in that condition for a week. Jarju was in the same cell with her mother-in-law. As she cried, Badgie sat there, helpless. Much like the day of the crime.
As the couple addressed a guilty nation of criminals that left them alone to the mercy of a tyrant, Dr Sise looked on, lost in his eyes.

It had been 4 days of torture. In the midst of madness and total insanity, were sane teenagers. They were not witnesses to the crime.
During TRRC’s session in Foni, I got to notice the obvious: only people in Sintet testified. And according to a native of this region I spoke to, this is the most affected region by Jammeh’s witch doctors. So, I asked some guy at the TRRC why only Sintet.

And his response was that they only get witnesses from Sintet. This may sink with the usual Foni stereotype: “Foni does not want to testify”. Kumba Sanneh, a native of Bwiam, would have disagreed. When I went to Foni, I wanted to have a feel of the environment. I mean how people there think of Jammeh and his occasional madness.

I would talk to several students from Sibanor upper and senior schools. Kumba is at grade 12. On my first day, I approached her in the midst of her colleagues. “Bouma,” I stretched my hands. She took it and smiled. “You can speak Jola?” she asked. “Yes,” I said. “Just a little.” Standing by her was a Fatou Badgie. Both have bright eyes, smart looks and wearing a veil. They must be religious.

“What do you think of the TRRC,” I asked. To both I stared. They stared back. Some seconds of silence ensued. Then Kumba stepped forth. “I think they are doing a great job,” she said. Kumba is a big fan of the Commission. She thinks Jammeh made mistakes and must be held accountable for them. Fatou does have a difference in opinion. She thinks Jammeh is, on his overall score, a great leader. Never mind his human rights abuses.
“He [Jammeh] built so many schools, introduced free education for girls and many others,” said Badgie. Her face lit with a smile. I smiled back. She looked down. I feared she may think I am disappointed in her holding such an opinion.

For many, TRRC is after Jammeh’s head and anyone with them must be after his head too. I held her hand. “It is ok to hold all sorts of opinion,” I said. I hope that reassured her.
Then a sudden silence. In this whole time, four of their other colleagues stood by. Innocent onlookers, they were. I would later have an interview with Kumba before she wrote her letter to TRRC.

She would even confide in me about the political party she supports. “I am a socialist,” she said. I smiled. I believe in not the angel, nor the gods or the land or its dwellers. I just smiled at nothing, the not believing.

“We are sure that the very existence of the TRRC is to dig out the human rights violations committed by the former regime,”.
“We are really optimistic that if the truth is revealed, it will surely encourage healing, reconciliation and reparations in order to develop our beloved country, The Gambia, into a well-coordinated society where the past evils will be forgiven and forgotten for good,” said Kumba in her letter to the Commission.

Throughout the TRRC’s session, each day I spoke to students. The first teams of 4 students I met on the first day would come looking for me on Thursday. That was the day we were supposed to leave.

“Hey,” I heard while walking back to the tent. I stopped and looked back. It was Jarju and Jallow with their colleague I didn’t know. I took a seat and sat near the tent, at the back.
“We have been looking for you,” said Jarju. Both girls are very intelligent, by standards. They did hold different views on Jammeh. Jallow’s is more interesting.
She said she thinks Jammeh is a great leader. I asked why, she said “he used to invite us to his birthday party in Kanilai”. “He would also sometimes bring lot of stuff for us or give our school money,” she added.

To this, her two colleagues laughed. She appeared embarrassed. “Iteh, domoro,” said Jarju, a native of Sibanor. Then we all went quiet for a moment. I broke it. “We all have our priorities,” I said. “Let’s not impose our definition of what is important on her.”
The girls would later shift our conversation to journalism. Both of them want to be journalists. But, the testimonies in my mind, continued. It is a world of many sides where evils are not evils and prophets are not prophets.

We are the way and the wayfarers! A nation that failed Nyima’s 3-year-old baby.

Letters: Resist the temptation

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Dear editor,

Supreme documents like the Constitution are supposed to strengthen the union, not weaken it by assigning all the rights and privileges to some while denying them to others. The knowledge of and adherence to this principle is the secret that separates enduring democracies built on institutions of trust and integrity from states that are still meandering, floundering, in total chaos and decadence for generations without any hope of ever disentangling themselves from the madness.

The Constitution is the only law that matters; it is the only document that matters, the reference point for all things regarding the degree of one’s acceptance and level of citizenship in a given country. In a world of social stratification, discrimination of all sorts, rich and poor, haves and have-nots, high and mighty and the peasants, patriarchs and underprivileged women, religious bigotry, tribal issues, the Constitution is supposed to be the equalizer.

Everyone is equal under the law should be a valid and meaningful refrain. The writing of such an Almighty document should therefore not instigate the kind of elbowing that we continue to see in most African countries. Elbowing creates winners and losers, it leaves some happy and celebrating while others disappointed, sad, dejected, and hopeless. Any law that does such a cruel thing – whether intentional or otherwise should be discarded and thrashed.

Africa’s failure is not in its past, not in its abundant natural resources, but in its treatment of each other. We are too mean and vicious to each other. We have somehow managed to convince ourselves that we cannot win unless the other loses, that our success lies in the failure of the other, that there is great satisfaction in dashing the other’s dreams and aspirations, that life’s simple pleasures reside in watching others fail, that unless affected by it, the issues of our fellow citizens should not be our concern at all. This attitude my dear people is not sustainable, the net effect will continue to bite us all regardless of what side of the divide you belong.

We either sail together or sink together! When the Constitutional Review Commission set out to draft the constitution, there was great hope that finally we will get it right – we will right all the wrongs that have held us back for so long. We all know that we must accord every citizen their rightful place in this country of ours. But unfortunately, we yet again couldn’t resist the urge that got us in trouble in the first place. Our demons won’t allow us to make each other whole for the first time in our history – the most important part of hitting the reset button – a prerequisite for the advancement and development we yearn so badly for. We proceeded to influence, campaign, and advocate – not to put our agenda on the table but to take concerns of others – concerns that are critical to making them feel a part of our beloved country, off the table.

To top it off, instead of negotiating whatever differences we have, we are insisting on our way or no way. If we get this wrong, we are stuck in the past for another decade after decade. Those demons residing in us I alluded to earlier would rather have that though, and that is what makes this untenable situation so tragic for us and many other African countries before us – from countries we have sadly even decided to copy from in most cases, verbatim this very draft. So here we are – at a crossroads. We can resist the temptation, bite our tongue, and create the country of our collective dreams, or go for it – burn and slash till we have fully satisfied our egos and narrow interests. Let’s pick our poison so help us God!

Banka Manneh
USA

 

 

 

 

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities:more needs to be done

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Tuesday last, 3rd December, 2019 was celebrated as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme for this year’s celebrations was ‘promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’.

Unfortunately, in The Gambia here, the day passed by largely unnoticed. There wasn’t any major event to commemorate this day as envisaged by the United Nations who have now recognized that the issue of persons with disabilities is a crosscutting issue of development.

There is certainly a need for more inclusion of this segment of society who have an equal right to take an active part in the development of the country. However, in The Gambia, many people see persons with disabilities as liabilities; as people who should be given charity and told to run along.

Times have changed and this is becoming an issue to be dealt with some sense of urgency. Firstly, there needs to be comprehensive and modern laws which will aim to protect and guarantee the rights of people with disabilities and mainstream them into society.

Most people with disabilities are marginalized and/or discriminated as they are viewed as liabilities and as people to be patronized as if they are doing them a favour whereas they have equal rights as any other Gambian.

For instance, in the education sector, many who are living with some form of disability or another find it very hard to have access to schools and enough learning materials. This is some form of violation of their rights and should be highlighted and thoroughly looked at by the government of the day and civil society in order to seek solutions.

Laws which are geared towards promoting the welfare of all peoples, including those living with disabilities, must be formulated and implemented for the good of all. All government buildings, for instance, must be made user-friendly for people with disabilities.

Ecowas train Gambians on financing mini-grids

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Representatives from the private sector in The Gambia and other agencies are learning how to finance operations and develop mini-grids.
A mini-grid is an off-grid electric distribution network involving small-scale electricity generation.

The four-day workshop is organized by ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Government of The Gambia trough the Ministry of petroleum and energy.

Addressing the seminar, Baboucar Njie, project manager of ECREEE said the goal of universal access to energy in the ECOWAS region by 2030 is an achievable one. “The electricity access rate of over 50% clearly shows a positive trend, although I think we have the potential to make rapid progress if we make the right policy choices; with more involvement of the public and private sectors in diversifying energy supply thereby harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources to improve access to energy. This is an urgent imperative, as less than half of the ECOWAS population have access to electricity,” he told the participants.

He also disclosed that decentralized electrification is the most appropriate and cost-effective solution to allow these rural areas to have the fastest and longest-lasting access to electricity services, principally because of the availability of renewable resources and the rapid decline in the costs of renewable energy technologies.

“The ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency registered positive efforts in creating an enabling environment for sustainable energy investments in general and electricity access in particular. In 2013, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments adopted the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) that aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix by 35% in 2020 and 48% in 2030,” he said.

Kemo Ceesay, director of Energy thanked ECREEE and other partners for the workshop and urged the participants to make full use of the training underway at Metzy Hotel.

‘jammeh Will Never Come Back To Rule Again’

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By Tabora Bojang on tour

President Adama Barrow has told the people of Foni that they must not allow themselves to be fooled by people who tell them that former president Jammeh will come back to rule The Gambia again.

Addressing a meeting in Sibanor, Barrow said Jammeh will not come back to power and people who are saying otherwise are fooling others.

“However as a citizen of The Gambia, it may be possible for him to come back and live an ordinary life some day. But to come back to rule again, that is out of it,” Barrow said.
The President further informed the people of Foni that he has nothing personal against Jammeh, saying the former President was voted out which he added was also made possible by the will of God.

“Imagine how powerful Jammeh was with his men, money and all whatnot, yet a man like me who came from nowhere defeated him. We have to accept that only God could make that possible and that’s what we should all realise and move on,” Barrow said.

He said when Jammeh’s mother died, he and his government freely accepted President Nguema of Equatorial Guinea’s mediation for her to be buried in The Gambia. “We had no objection at all to that request, even though Jammeh had denied some Gambians of the right to be buried in their own country,” Barrow said.

The president however thanked the APRC leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta, who he said showed maturity and magnanimity when he joined the crowd to welcome him back.
“That is what politics is all about. It is not about enmity because all of us are Gambians working to serve our people,” he said.

Driver ordered to compensate policewoman D50,000

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By Bruce Asemota

Principal Magistrate Omar Cham of Brikama Magistrates’ Court yesterday convicted and sentenced a driver to pay a fine of D25,000 in default to serve one year imprisonment.
Ansumana Camara was found guilty of reckless driving, causing harm to a police officer who was on duty.

Mr Camara was also ordered to pay D50,000 as compensation to the victim, Bintou Colley in default to serve three years imprisonment.
Ansumana Camara hit Bintou Colley, a police officer with a motor vehicle at Mandinaba Police check-point.

Bintou was left unconscious and was immediately taken to Brikama hospital where she was treated.
In another development, Principal Magistrate Cham transferred the criminal case involving one Ousman Dibba to the High Court. Dibba is charged with robbery.
Ousman is accused of threatening one Bintou Jadama at Farato with a knife and taking her phone.

Woman, 83, narrates witch-hunt ordeals

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By Mafugi Ceesay

Jainaba Sonko, an 83-year-old woman from Essau, has told the truth commission that she was forced to drink at least two liters of concoction by Jammeh’s witch hunters in 2009.
She said she was told that Jammeh brought people who could cure illnesses but, to her surprise, when she and her colleagues reached the place, a man dressed in red apparel started smelling their hands.
She said they were then forced into a waiting vehicle and taken to Baba Jobe’s residence in Kololi.

She said three young men then put a plastic bag on her head and forced her to confess.
She said they were detained at Baba Jobe’s compound for three days and were only given food without shower.

She said her colleague, Jonyi Sonko died shortly after drinking the concoction while she still lives with effects of the concoction.
The octogenarian said she lived in stigma for long as some people ran away from her.
“Even my own people in the same compound would often avoid me,” she said.

She blamed former Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh for destroying her life but said Jammeh will suffer for his evil deeds.

Pastor challenges CRC to include secularism in draft

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By Omar Bah

The controversy surrounding the absence of secularism in the draft constitution continues to confront the CRC with pastors now joining the discussions.

Pastor Seal Jammeh of Light and Sait Crystal Chapter, who is the first Pastor to comment on the issue, said the Christian Council clearly stated in their position paper that “secular” should be inserted in the draft constitution.

“The Christian Council’s position clearly states that the secularism of The Gambia and the right to freedom should reflect and that the wordings of the 1997 Constitution which states that Gambia is a sovereign secular state should be maintained in the New Constitution.
“This provision will ensure there will be no discrimination of faiths and interest groups.
“If the CRC has not seen the position paper from the Christian Council, they should go back and check it or ask the Council to give it to them,” he urged.

Pastor Seal Jammeh said when the National Assembly was outlining the CRC’s mandate, they clearly spelled out that they must not discriminate between religious and interest groups.

“We are equal in this country; so we believe the government should not use tax payers’ money to build mosques. The Christian Council has built lot of schools and hospitals in this country and personally, I am paying school fees for lot of students, majority of who are Muslims,” he stressed.

He said the absence of secular in the draft constitution has reignited the fear that engulfed Christians when Jammeh declared the country an Islamic Republic.
He said the Christian Council is preparing another position paper to re-advise the CRC to include secular in the draft.

“Yes, the secular has reflected, but the Christian community is not happy with the way it has reflected in the draft constitution. We believe by refusing to include secular, the CRC has cut the roots out of the tree,” he added.

The CRC chairperson, Cherno Sulayman Jallow said the Commission had selected a committee of educated personalities to look into the controversy surrounding secularism but they couldn’t agree on its definition.

“Some of them believe if a country is a secular state, it means the government should not have anything to do with religion, while others believe secular means a country that doesn’t believe in religion,” he added.

He said what makes a constitution secular is what is written in it and not necessarily the word secular.

He revealed that only two people wrote about the section but none of them instructed the commission to insert the word in the Constitution.

Justice Jallow added that eight other institutions, including the Christian Council have written to the Commission about the same section but only three institutions recommended for them to insert the word.

“I want to call on those who want secular to be included in the draft to write to the CRC. I also want to call on the Muslims to understand that the worries expressed by the Christians are genuine because someone has once declared the country an Islamic Republic,” he added.

Turkish ambassador bids farewell to FM Tangara

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The Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, on Tuesday December 3rd received the out-going Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey, His Excellency Mr. Ismail Sefa Yuceer, in his office in Banjul and they had a kind and friendly discussion.

Ambassador Sefa Yuceer was in the Minister’s office to bid him farewell. In his statement, he paid tribute to Gambians whose character, resilience and peaceful nature made the 2016 change to democratic system of governance possible. He lauded the good relations that exist between the two countries and promised to continue to support The Gambia. He was confident that his successor will take the relationship to higher heights.

Minister Tangara said that the friendly relations and cooperation between The Gambia and Turkey developed satisfactorily in recent years under the guidance of the principles of mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win. He believed that the relations of the two countries would further develop with the joint efforts of the two sides. He also commended the President of Turkey and the Turkish government for the cooperation between the two countries. The Ambassador thanked the minster for his open-door policy and general professionalism.

Issued by the Communication Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians
Abroad

Court orders 3 Sierra Leoneans’ deportation

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By Amadou Jadama

Magistrate Pirrette Mendy Sarr of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court yesterday convicted and sentenced three Sierra Leoneans to various fines, plus an order for their deportation.
They were found guilty on three counts of forgery.

According to the charge sheet, the Ibrahim Sesay, Adamie Kamara and Albert V. Young, conspired to forge a Gambia Immigration residential permit, a Gambia High School certificate, a GTTI certificate and a WAEC certificate.

Police Supt Bakary Njie said: “One of the suspects Abdou Asize Touray, was apprehended with a suspicious residential permit by the Immigration intelligence officers and taken to the Immigration post in Senegambia. During the interrogation he told the officers that Albert V. Young prepared the document for him. After further investigations, Albert too was arrested by the intelligenc officers and he revealed that the permit was prepared by Ibrahim Sesay, who was also arrested later and taken to his shop in Sukuta where a lamination machine, printer, and a computer were found. Later Adamie Camara was also arrested,” he said.

Supt Njie further disclosed that a search was conducted in Camara’s house where a GTTI certificate, a Gambia High School certificate, a WAEC certificate as well as a Gambia High School transcript were recovered.

According to Supt Njie, the Gambia Immigration Department wrote a letter to WAEC and GTTI to ascertain the documents and both confirmed that the documents are false.
“Looking at the nature of the offence, it threatens the Immigration Department which could suffer revenue loss not to talk about the school documents that were compromised. Forging national documents is rampart in our country,” the policeman said.

In their plea of mitigation, the convicts begged the court to tamper justice with mercy, arguing that they are all family men and this is their first time.

However, Magistrate Mendy on count one fined each of them D10, 000 dalasi in default to serve one year in prison. On count two she fined Ibrahim Sesay D20, 000 dalasi in default to serve one year in prison, while on count three she also fined Ibrahim Sesay and Adamie Camara D25, 000 dalasi in default to serve 2 years in prison.

Semis In Wafu Today Gambia play Senegal, Mali meet Sierra Leone

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The Gambia’s title defence in theWafu Under-20 championship will be tested again this evening with a semi final against Senegal in Conakry.
This second semi final in the championship will kick off at 7PM with first one Mali versus Sierra Leone coming at 4 PM.

Gambia coach Matarr Mboge said Saturday that everything is looking good with his boys especially after a 5-1 win over Guinean club ASK Kaloum in friendly a few days ago. “That match allowed us to see yet another combination of players. We look forward to having a fantastic game of football and we hope that everything we put and worked for at the training ground and our game plan will be enough for the boys to go out and win the game,” he continued.

Mboge told GFF media that his team has performed with high intensity and fast football in humid conditions in the two group matches they won and drew.
“We will have to make adjustments bearing in mind the kickoff time is at 19:00 hours and that suits them. As a coach, my team talk is already done. All we have to do is to look at our opponent and understand, and as Gambians we have the opportunity to make our entire country proud and happy again,” he said.

“It is a Senegambia derby. Playing against Senegal alone is enough to sharpen minds and make sure the boys are focused to go out and deliver”, he added.

Country Focus-the 2020 Gambia Budget

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Momodou Camara (Acca)

At Standard, we wish to bring you undiluted 2020 Budget Figures of The Gambia Government through MOFEA-Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs. We will endeavour to serialize and analyse the figures after the publication and make an informed opinion for our readership and the general Gambian populace. Be patient with us in the weeks ahead.

2nd. CHAPTER

THE UNDILUTED FIGURES
Receipts of Revenues, Grants and Loans
*****To be continued next week!

THE CURRENCY MARKETS
*** These are indicative figures as per the 2nd. December, 2019.
THE COMMODITY MARKETS IN THE GREATER BANJUL AREAS
*** Market prices are as at 02nd. December, 2019
ENTREPRENEURSHIP QUOTES

1. You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.
By–Dave Ramsey
2. Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.
By–Paul Samuelson
3. Every time you borrow money, you’re robbing your future self.
By–Nathan W. Morris
4. Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.
By–Zig Ziglar
5. Never spend your money before you have it.
By–Thomas Jefferson
6. The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.
By–Phillip Fisher
7. Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
By–Benjamin Franklin
8. It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.
By–Robert Kiyosaki
9. I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
By–Thomas A. Edison
10. If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know & start charging for it.
By–Kim Garst
11. I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.
By –Thomas Jefferson.

‘Barrow Is Killing GDC In NBR’

By Omar Bah Former Jokadou chairman of the Gambia Democratic Congress, who recently resigned to join President Adama Barrow, has claimed that his former party...