Letters: Gambia, a nation beset by pipedream politics

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Dear editor,

In a recent television interview, President Barrow remarked that politicians say all sort of things during campaigns and while this is mostly true, I find that very notion to be among serious fundamental problem that has affected our people and derailed development of our country for decades.

Selling unattainable or fanciful promises to the electorates with a view to deceiving them just to get their votes remains a critical eyesore in our politics.

Majority of Gambians live and experience scorching poverty on a daily basis but they put their hopes on politicians to help them ease the burden through responsible, responsive and impactful policies and programs.

They don’t ask for handouts but fair opportunities for themselves and their families. Instead, all the electorate get in return is the enrichment of those they vote for and a continuing vicious impoverishment for themselves and their families.

Our fellow citizens are dying en masse in hospitals for lack of basic healthcare services related to inadequate funding and mismanagement in the sector yet our National Assembly wastes no time approving allocation of staggering amounts to the office of the President to support and maintain the lavish lifestyle and luxurious living of the President and his family.

A whopping D2m (about $41,000) is spent every month on the First Family’s grocery alone while our brothers, sisters and parents die of ‘oxygen shortage’ a block or two from the Presidency.

Thus, unless we recognize and immediately act on false and empty promises from our politicians, clean our politics of dishonesty, hold public servants accountable and severely punish them at the polls or through other democratic means, what President Barrow said in his interview will continue to add deaths and poverty to the growing statistic of development failures in our country since Independence. We must make a stand against pipedream politics ASAP!

Zakaria Kemo Konteh
Queens, USA

 

 

 

 

Mrs Tambajang, a surprising advocate for the 5-years

Dear editor,

It is surprising how Mrs Fatoumata Tambajang has so suddenly become the advocate-in-chief for the 5-years Constitutional mandate, as opposed to the Coalition’s 3 years agreement.

After all, when the Coalition agreed on the 3-year transitional period, they went on a nationwide campaign on the 3-years platform.

To begin with, Gambians didn’t vote for Adama Barrow, rather, their determination was to vote a dog or anything, but Yahya Jammeh.

In that case, the election was based, not on electing a new government, but on voting Yahya Jammeh out.

Mrs Tambajang was fully aware of this, which is why she was accused of making contacts with the UN in order to ensure that Adama Barrow vacates the position after the 3-years, so she as Vice-President, will replace him as President.

This may have been related to her firing from the VP position.

Now, unfortunately, she is singing a different tune. With almost unanimous agreement denying that the opposition collectively agreed to extend the 3-years to 5-years, Adama Barrow has an option to resign, in the face of unanimous opposition to his and Mrs Tambajang’s unethical scheming, so preparations for fresh multi-party elections can be held.

Mathew K Jallow
USA

Commending the Barrow Government for addressing the plight of victims

Dear editor,

It is indeed a great initiative that the Gambia Government has provided fifty million dalasi to TRRC for the welfare of victims of the Yahya Jammeh tyranny. This is commendable, long overdue and in the right direction.

What is even more remarkable with this gesture is that it is the Terror-In-Chief Yahya Jammeh who is paying for his own crimes out of the people’s wealth that he stole.

This is what is called justice in its true sense. He caused the harm and from him we treat the harm.

Of course, his own full day of reckoning is coming sooner than he expects when he will be placed in a dock in full view of his victims and citizens and then sent behind bars for 150 years!
Victims of the dictatorship have been suffering for long in body and mind beyond imagination.

Therefore, one would have expected that this gesture should have even come much earlier than this especially when there were offers to take care of April 10 and 11 victims in Turkey.

Among the victims of April and May 2016 many have died already who could have probably been saved if there was such substantive support from the beginning.

That notwithstanding the Government deserves commendation for putting action to its words that it will cater for victims.

Fifty million dalasi indeed is a huge amount of money.

But the pain of victims far surpasses this amount, hence it is also heartfelt when the Government described it as an initial amount, meaning more funding would be coming to address the plight of victims.

No one is asking that victims be fully restored to their previous state before they were victimised in the first place.

However, it is necessary and important that victims be catered for in a way that essentially restores their rights and dignity significantly which means considerably enhancing their social and economic wellbeing.

Some victims need urgent health care while others need to get education or skills in order to become fully independent, self-reliant and live with their self-esteem and dignity.

The other issue one needs to highlight about these funds is their transparent, judicious and efficient management.

Therefore, one needs to shout out to TRRC that we are also watching the use of these funds to ensure that victims and only victims are the beneficiary for the right reasons.

I have no doubts in the leadership of the TRRC that they will ensure that transparency and accountability will prevail.

I am sure TRRC will ensure that in the provision of the necessary goods and services as forms of reparation for victims they will be guided only by their conscience, the law and the best interest of victims and nothing else.

This is important to highlight because the victim population is diverse – from the political, to the ethnic, to the religion and region to gender and age.

Hence serious consideration is necessary where there is so much diversity of victims in order to ensure that no victim feels unfairly treated on account of his or her status while there are also no negative public perceptions about who has benefited or not.

I trust the TRRC has more than enough capacity and competence to handle this.

Once again, I wish to indeed commend the Barrow Government and especially the Minister of Justice Abubacarr Baa Tambadou for this remarkable decision.

For the Minster in particular, we have seen under his watch how his Ministry continues to spearhead various compensations for various victims of Jammeh and we hope this trend will continue in order to repair the soul of the Gambia and reconcile our conscience with truth and justice once and for all.

Madi Jobarteh
Kembujeh Village