By Tabora Bojang
Tourism Minister, Hamat Bah has told the people of Niani that he could not believe that even after 27 years of the rule of their own native Sir Dawda Jawara, they could not be provided a single road or any meaningful development to lessen their extreme poverty.
Speaking at a meeting in Wassu, Niani constituency, Hamat said it was shocking for him to hear from several speakers including the NAM Alhagie Sillah, about the deplorable living conditions of the people triggered by the disconnection with development and infrastructure.
“I know Niani better than Saloum, and the first president of this country is a son of Niani and he ruled for 27 years. In 2006 while travelling to Jarumeh Koto with Ousainu Darboe, I shed tears after seeing the poor conditions of the people of Niani. Ousainu asked me what I was crying about. I told him that I could not understand how former president Jawara ruled the country for 27 years and even a single road was not constructed in Niani. He could not even build a road in his own village, which is very shocking. I have travelled the length and breadth of this country but there is no single road in Niani that I know about. They did not even have access to clean drinking water and the day I visited there to work on their wells was when Yahya Jammeh responded and brought a borehole,” Hamat said.
He added that it is not justifiable that after over 50 years of independence, the people of Niani still don’t have access to the basic needs of their lives.
The tourism minister advised Gambians to “cease the social media castigations and insults” and concentrate on development.
“Why should you be on social media and enjoying your coffee and luxury while your natives in the village do not even have access to water? Politics is not about castigation but the act of collectiveness and what is possible and what is possible for the Gambia today is national cohesion and national unity and pledge our allegiance to national development. The strength of the Gambia and its sovereignty lies in instability, strong economic development, and national unity. We are a country inside a country, so disunity is not the way forward,” Bah added.