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City of Banjul
Friday, January 15, 2021

Letters: Open season begging and endless charity bowls

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Dear editor,
Will the government officials, the elected officials and the politicians reduce their begging calls for charity that is becoming the unpleasant feature in The Gambia.
It’s not the call of government officials, elected officials and politicians begging and asking people for charity for whatever reason.

We have a government for a reason.
People pay their taxes for a reason.
It’s sickening that The Gambia is becoming a begging charity basket case open season begging and calls for charity from government officials, elected officials and the politicians.
Begging and charity cannot replace what the government is supposed to be doing.
We cannot rely on begging and charity to make up for the failings of the government.
If we want to live in a developed country and eradicate poverty, we have to make our government assume its duties and responsibilities.

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It’s pathetic when government officials and politicians are openly begging for charity like sick people when they should be talking about policies to address the socioeconomic development challenges facing the people.
Begging and charity is fine in every society but it’s the third sector and not government officials, elected officials and politicians who fund raise for charity to supplement government efforts.

Charity and begging cannot suffice for the role of the government in tending to the socioeconomic development needs of the people.
Our focus should be on how to make our government assume its duties and responsibilities to the people, better manage public finances and the national economy to develop the country and eradicate poverty.

This open season begging and charity basket case going around is becoming uncomfortable- especially when it’s the government officials, elected officials and the politicians who are leading the out of tune sing song charity chorus.
Can we focus more on the better management of public finances and the national economy and government policies?That’s what will develop the country and improve the living standards of the people?
In that lies the solution but not this unhealthy begging and charity culture.
Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang



Let us not let our guard down
Dear editor,
I was at the beach this Sunday and saw thousands of young people congregating and having fun as if government has not declared a state of emergency and forbid mass gathering of people. Armed police had to come to forcibly disperse them. This coronavirus thing is REAL. It is not a joke.

Covid-19 has been slow to arrive in Africa, or at least has been slow to be detected there. But the wave is coming. Our health systems cannot absorb additional shocks. We are preparing for disaster. If we do not prepare well and let our guard down.
Right now the numbers may appear manageable. The African countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 cases are South Africa (1,934), Algeria (1,666), Egypt (1,560), and Morocco (1,374). No sub-Saharan country has more than 1,000 cases. The countries hardest hit are those most connected with international travel, especially to France.

(Kenya, at 184 cases; Ethiopia, at 56; and Nigeria, at 276, have numbers that remain suspiciously low.) Burkina Faso—not an especially connected country, or one with a huge population—has 414 cases. Every country in Africa has testing kits, many of them due to the largesse of China’s Jack Ma. In some countries, such as Rwanda (110), quarantines and the careful tracing of contacts have kept the numbers down.

We should not be too relieved that these numbers are not as high as, say, those of the United States (457,000). Every country’s numbers started small—and every country with endemic Covid-19 had a period when outbreaks looked contained, until a thousand fires ignited at once, and the caseload started doubling every few days. So far, Africa seems unlikely to be exempted from these iron laws of exponential contagious spread. If the spread seems slow to develop, that may be because no African country has the same volume of international travel as the countries elsewhere that are already suffering.
Most worrisome is the lack of any possibility of an effective response.

The Covid-19 strategy in most of the developed world has been to “flatten the curve”—spread out the infections across the year, so that at any given time, enough ventilators and ICU beds are available to accommodate everyone who is sick. If you flatten the curve enough, the tail end might even get vaccinated and avoid infection altogether.
In much of Africa, this strategy is absurd, because no amount of home quarantine will flatten the curve enough to let everyone have a turn at one of three ventilators.
Bamba Kah

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