I would call it a tribute to a departed legend’s soul who fought against human rights abuses that led a nation to be independently democratic.
A man who dedicated service to his country.
A man whose love and compassion to his people was immeasurable and incomparable to none.
A man whose vision was seen under the horizon for many unborn children of my generation.
A man whose legacy a world can cherish to rebuild its lost treasure for its sustainable development goals.
This man I would call was Alhagie Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, founding and godfather of a small republic called The Gambia.
May his gentle soul continue to rest in peace.
May his actions continue also to guide us.
My deepest condolences to the family and the Gambian people at large.
Are the police helping or hindering our businessmen?
The Gambia Police Force (GPF) (or should I say The Gambia Police Service?) from the beginning of this month announced plans to clear our roads and rid them of illegal parking of vehicles and other items.
They revealed that this illegal parking of vehicles and other goods (especially secondhand goods) on the side of the roads make the roads narrow and difficult for other vehicles and pedestrians to pass easily.
This will make the roads wider and perhaps beautify the city and/or town as well.
This idea is commendable and would have been beneficial to the country and her people if it were to be carried out effectively and transparently.
If the authorities do this right and ensure that people are treated fairly and justly, then everyone will certainly applaud the police for their efforts as our roads have become a nightmare to travel on.
However, reports have indicated that it is not being carried out as efficiently and transparently as it should be.
Citizens have complained of being ripped off of the little earnings they make while they sell their goods in the market.
I have been informed by some vendors at the Latrikunda Market who have shops, and of course goods in front of their shops, that the police came there last week and took away those goods that were on the road (in front of their shops).
When they followed them to the Bundung Police Station, they were allowed to negotiate and pay some money and get their goods back.
The strange thing is that these vendors paid monies and were not given receipt as they were told that that was just a negotiation to prevent them from being taken to court.
Now, won’t it defeat the purpose if the vendors simply have to pay a bribe (because that is the only name one can give to this type of payment) to the police and are allowed to return the goods and place them right where they were taken away from?
The other thing is that in addition to paying the ‘bribe’, a vendor would have to hire a taxi to return these goods to his/her shop.
Imagine a poor vendor who makes peanuts from daily sales from which s/he feeds his or her family paying up to seven hundred dalasis (D700) just to regain control of his or her goods, and then hiring a taxi to return to his or her shop, what will such a vendor make at the end of the day?
One vendor has told me that she paid seven hundred Dalasis in order to get her goods back and she knows at least three others who did.
The exercise was wide and must have taken away the goods of tens of other vendors, if all of those had to pay something to get their goods back, then those police officers are having a great season indeed.
But is that what a good government and its agencies does for its people? The people elected the government to serve them and not to use them to enrich themselves illegally.
One remembers the saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
The intention of the authorities to clear the roads may be good, in fact, a marvelous idea, but if the way and manner it is to be done is not well thought out, it will just add to the suffering of our people.
I call on the National Road Authority (NRA), the Gambia Police Force High Command and the National Assembly to look into this and formulate ways to do it right and efficiently.