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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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Re: Gov’t coffers not necessarily empty when Jammeh left

Dear editor,

These clarifications coming 16 months after being made by Mr Mai Fatty come too late and too irrelevant with little or no substance. Which is why the legitimate coalition spokesman at the time, Hon. Halifa Sallah indicated that those assertions needed substantiation. Mr Fatty didn’t substantiate those declarations and the Information Ministry was tight lipped.

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With same sex marriages advocated by Theresa May, it’s not good enough to dismiss it as not a big issue. We can’t wait until it becomes a big issue to tackle it. By then it would be too late. There is no super state called the Commonwealth that should be recommending the legalisation of illicit acts like a man-man or woman-woman marriage. Gayism or lesbianism being appropriate in England and elsewhere out there does not mean it should be embraced by all Commonwealth members…Brexit is all about rejectionist of control from Brussels, what striking similarity…control from London on issues of same sex marriages. God save us.
We have more pressing issues at home in The Gambia, food security on top of the list. This is where Britain would do us a great service, not an apology as to wrong antigay legislation followed by a euphemistic order for enactment of pro-same sex legislation.


Mann Saght

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Dear editor,

Let all parties in this new-found political process in The Gambia discuss issues amicably without expressing anger either by words or physical action. GDC officially made their case to the IEC. Now it is IEC’s duty to respond in kind. I was at the nomination of my candidate, Mr. Bakary Badjie, for Mayor of Kanifing Municipality. Our 3pm time slot for nominating Mr. Badjie was delayed for about an hour because of a large convoy of UDP supporters blocking the roadway leading to the nomination center. Mr. Badjie’s officials and supporters could not get to the nomination center on time.

I narrated our dilemma to the IEC official, who refused to identify his name to me even though I identified my name to him, to ask the UDP convoy to move from blocking our access to the nomination center so that we could nominate our candidate. The IEC official told me that he could not do anything about the UDP convoy unnecessarily blocking the roadway. That response from the IEC official was absurd. I lodged the same complaint to the Commissioner of Police on duty at the nomination center but he too gave the same absurd response. The point I am making is that both the IEC and The Gambia Police Force should endeavor as much as possible to resolve queries such as mine and that of all other concerned Political Parties in The Gambia in a reasonable way within the laws of The Gambia. I urge all Gambian citizens not to pose and or carry out threats at each other because of differences in our political party membership. I helped the UDP from year 2015 to 2016 technically by risking my life by going public in The Gambia campaigning against APRC under former President Jammeh. That does not mean that I am a registered member of UDP. I also supported PPP during that same time because I am a registered member of PPP. For this Kanifing Municipality Mayoral Election, I fully support, both technically and financially, Mr. Bakary Badjie on an independent ticket. That is a real sign of political maturity and exercising democracy.


Sidat Yaffa, Ph.D.
University of The Gambia

Open letter to President Barrow – Keeping focused and alert

Dear Mr President,

I cannot understand why you were baited to take stance on the rights of the (Gambian) LGBT community. Although you rightly deflected the matter as litter urgency in the context of current challenges, it is something that is not going away. There is a well-funded international lobby framing the issue as homophobic when it is not, or framing it as a human rights issue when it is not. For those with some knowledge of Latin, the lobby’s buzzword, ‘homophobia’, used liberally to bully opponents, is utter nonsense. At best, it may be applied to animals with experiential knowledge of human threats to their survival.

In essence, what lobbyists are asking people of faith is to accept and codify into law lifestyles that go against their beliefs and cultures. Framing anti-gay legislation as ex-President Jammeh’s brainchild influenced by his anti-West rhetoric, looks like a special pleading fallacy to me. René Guénon, French Philosopher, is unapologetic in his assertion that confusion over values has its origin in the West, but is now spreading everywhere.

Mr President, I was annoyed by your questioner on LBGT rights at Chatham House and irritated by the BBC journalist who inserted a similar question in your interview, but outraged by the condescending attitude of the British PM, Mrs May when advocating for legal reforms in the Gambia on the subject. Let’s not forget for a moment that, just prior to the Commonwealth summit, Mrs May had broken international law by attacking Syria, and demonstrated disregard for the dignity of descendants of the Windrush generation, still supports the aggressive Saudi war on Yemen through massive arms sales, is deafeningly silent on the latest slaughter of Palestinians living in Gaza by the Israel army. Not much of a resumé for a champion of human rights.

When I listen to Mrs May, she seems to be saying that ”we the British who instituted those laws you have on homosexuality, now being more enlightened, have abandoned them, so should you (the Gambians)”. Does Mrs May know anything about independence and national sovereignty? If she does, I think she doesn’t care. The British Empire lives on. Well, it is time to remind ourselves and Mrs May that rapprochement is one thing but “adopting all the aberrations of the Western outlook” is something quite different. Me Abdoulaye Wade, then a young lawyer in 1956 famously asserted that Africa should develop its own positive laws instead of relying on laws of colonial powers that are often incompatible with our African culture and heritage. Unfortunately, Me Wade did not act on his convictions when he had the opportunity as President of Senegal later on in his life.

Mr President, whether (gentle) pressure is exerted by the UN LGBT czar or high-ranking officials of other (friendly) countries, your accountability is to the Gambian people and God by whom you swore when you took up office. Keep in touch with men and women of integrity and you will succeed, where others who have insulated themselves from wise counsel have failed. Also open up to constructive questions and criticism by resuming press briefings on pressing social and economic issues. As you rightly put it in your engagements, we have more urgent and “wicked’ problems to address. Each issue has its own time.

Abdou Samad Njie

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