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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Congratulations to President Barrow, but…

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Dear Editor,

Indeed President Adama Barrow deserves congratulations for receiving the Africa Peace Award, even though it is still not quite clear what criteria those who awarded him that accolade based their decision on.

It is however an honour to this country which we should all celebrate. Of course it was not a surprise that his National People’s Party (NPP) used the opportunity to organise big celebrations to commemorate the award and I am almost quite certain that they did not need to seek a police permit to hold that event, unlike the ‘APRC No-to-Alliance’ who last week tried to hold a fundraising event and ended up being tear-gassed and violently dispersed by the police.

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Of course the NPP did not have to worry about that as such an idea would never have crossed the mind of any member of the police hierarchy to deny them a permit let alone tear-gas them for going ahead with the celebrations without it.

It is like the Animal Farm syndrome where all the animals are equal but with the tacit understanding that some are more equal than the others. Also, while it was a purely an NPP affair, they had to use the facilities of the public broadcaster, GRTS, for several hours to the extent that there was not evening news bulletin. Yet, such an opportunity would never be given to the opposition despite the GRTS being a public institution sustained by public money.

It is therefore quite unfair for the NPP to be allowed to use such public facilities while the opposition is denied such an opportunity. We certainly should not expect that from the party led by the most peaceful head of state in Africa, we instead expect fairness and equity from anything associated with him.

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Another phenomenon during the event was the fact that virtually all the musicians who graced the occasion had to sing praises to President Barrow, a continuation of the Yahya Jammeh system when only those who sang his praises ever stood the chance of attending his occasions or even appearing on the public media.

This is certainly contributing to the retrogression of Gambian music as no one is interested in listening to such praise singing. This is therefore contributing to the reason why most Gambians are being attracted to Senegalese music because most of our musicians have allowed themselves to be used by the politicians for political expediency rather than developing the industry.

Therefore, until they become masters of their own destiny rather than allowing themselves to become tools of the politicians, our music industry would continue to remain in the doldrums.

Demba Jawo


Don’t sell productive SOEs

Dear Editor,

The Gambia will continue to be a much poorer and unstable country under President Barrow. The ERP of the Jawara government in the 1990s led to the Jammeh 1994 military takeover.

President Barrow’s government is the worse version of the ERP. Anyone who tells you that “state owned” public enterprises are bad for the socioeconomic development of a country does not understand the economics of national development and the history of economic development around the world.

President Barrow is selling off the Gambian national economy in the name of privatisation. He’s divesting the state from the national economy. And that’s why his government is selling off everything, I mean everything, and it’s a very bad national economic development policy thinking and practice.

The Gambia will only be a much poorer and unstable country under President Barrow. President Barrow’s finance minister is blindly pursuing economic development policies. I don’t know what accountants actually understand about economics and national development? But You don’t have to be an economist to figure out that The Gambia government should not be selling off its revenue and income earning enterprises.

President Barrow and his finance minister are made to believe that they have to divest the state from the Gambian economy which means selling off GIA, the Bridge and everything owned by the state.

Every successful economy is a mixed economy with both the public and the private sector working together complimenting each other to generate employment, wealth, provide public services and good standards of living in the country.

The UDP is not a befitting opposition party and the political alternative for change and national development in The Gambia yet. I hope that the party comes up with a more intelligent political agenda for national economic and democratic development in The Gambia. The idea that Talib Bensouda should lead the UDP and The Gambia is like replacing Macky with Idrissa Seck: it’s a stupid idea!

Gambian politics lack the political leaders and ideas for change and national development and the current policy paradigm is broken. Something has to give.

Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang


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