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Monday, September 25, 2023

An attack on a vital pillar of our collective security


Dear Editor,

Assassinating two uniformed police officers on duty in a major urban centre in front of people in a targeted shooting is a very serious crime. Beyond the tragic loss of innocent lives, it is a grave national security event because it is an attack on a vital pillar of our collective security as a country. The police are the foundation of our national security architecture. A brazen public fatal attack on their personnel is an intolerable threat our nation cannot countenance. A thorough professional investigation that establishes the facts and circumstances surrounding this crime should be the highest priority of the government and the Gambian people. Those who engage in mindless speculation, weaving and fishing for lies to spread, posturing for attention or otherwise insisting on inserting themselves in this terrible tragedy only reveal the sorry souls they are. This is a very serious issue that requires the collective desire of all decent people to have the facts established and a swift and comprehensive accountability measure imposed as prescribed by law.

If, God forbid, the investigations into this serious national security incident are bungled for whatever reasons, the consequences would go beyond the immediate tragedy itself. It will undermine confidence in our collective security and that is an outcome we must all avoid. I sincerely hope the police will exert every effort to properly and thoroughly investigate this matter using all  means available to them including seeking outside cooperation from partners beyond our borders who can bring additional expertise and tools to bear in this critical case. The wider public should also cease mindless agitation and speculation about this incident and exercise patience until the investigations are completed. The police should take their time and investigate and not feel compelled to be constantly updating attention craven agitators who carry no responsibility to investigate the matter. We’ve got to get this case right as a country because a lot is riding on it in .

Karamba Touray


Posthumous honours are backhanded reprimand for our current crop of leaders

Dear Editor,

Last year the Ecowas Commission recognised the exceptional leadership of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, the first president of the Republic of The Gambia, with a posthumous award for Leadership Excellence presented to his surviving widow Lady Chilel Jawara and two of his sons Dawda Kairaba Jawara Jr and Ebrima Jawara in Abuja Nigeria in the presence of President Adama Barrow.

Staff of the National Centre for Arts and Culture, NCAC, made the nomination for this award to the Ecowas Commission. Therefore, both the NCAC and the Ecowas Commission must be commended in this regard. A few days ago, the news carried a similar recognition for leadership of a very distinguished son of The Gambia. This time it comes from the highly regarded organ of the United Nations Organisation, the World Health Organisation, WHO.

Again, we saw in the presence of the Health Minister Dr Ahmadou Samateh the resident representative of WHO to The Gambia, the president presented the award to members of the late Dr Ebrima Samba, former WHO Africa regional director. One of his sons, Mr Ebou Samba, spoke on behalf of the family and President Barrow said Dr Samba was a household name in The Gambia and that this is recognition for Dr Samba’s leadership qualities was a great honour for The Gambia. 

In May this year, the veteran politician and statesman, Omar Amadou Jallow, was awarded posthumous The Gambia’s highest national honour by the president on the scene of the state funeral held to honour the life and legacy of OJ. The similarity in all three cases is the fact that the recognition is richly deserved but did it come too late? In my view, yes, and the whole concept of posthumous awards needs to reviewed with a view to honouring the lives’ works of our nation’s most eminent leaders during their lifetimes.

Therefore, it is refreshing to see Mr Karamo Bojang, the former principal of Nusrat Senior Secondary School recognised for achievements of The Gambia’s education sector by the regional authority, West Africa Examination Council. The prestigious award of Distinguished Friend of Council is conferred on an eminent citizen for his/her outstanding contribution towards the attainment of WAEC’s objectives.  The late great poet surgeon, Dr Lenrie Peters was similarly recognised in the early 2000s.

The UN System in The Gambia also recognised Principal Bojang for his immense contribution to education in The Gambia in 2018. My beloved principal of Gambia High School and former Minister of Education of The Gambia, Dr Satang Jow, who is celebrating her 80th birthday this year was awarded a doctorate degree honoris causa by the University of The Gambia for contributions to educational attainment in The Gambia.

The Will of Alfred Nobel establishing the Nobel Prizes, perhaps the most prestigious award in the world, has a clear stipulation that the prize be awarded to living laureate. In the USA, national honours both public and private are given to the living. I believe so is the case in most developed nations, so the real question is why do we excel at such meaningless gestures across Africa? I believe the best way  to remember our honoured dead is to live by their values and ideals.

Almami Taal


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