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Monday, April 15, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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Time for UDP to prove its worth in political leadership and good governance
Dear editor,
For more than two decades, United Democratic Party has championed efforts in changing the political trajectory of our country from the totalitarian hands of former President Jammeh to a democratic system that promotes cross-cutting prosperity, security and wellbeing of Gambians. In leading the arduous campaigns against a celebrated tyrant, costs in blood, liberty and materials to this party and others who stood by it are self-evident. For consolation, we are told that the fight was never about positions or status but done in the supreme interest of we the common citizens. We are grateful for such unmatched sacrifice!
Now that UDP has been given that clean mandate through a cycle of democratic exercises, Gambians expect the party to turn years of rhetoric into tangible, meaningful, developments through result-driven and assessable policies and programs.

For the avoidance of doubt, failure(s) of this government should not and will not be morally and legally shouldered by any other political party but UDP. When the time comes to appraise the party and its overall performance in all sectors of government, we are not going to blame GDC or even APRC for their constant and often acerbic criticisms and differing political views. Evaluation will be merit based or lack of.
How well the party does in turning the tide against corruption, reducing wastes, strengthening democracy, ensuring transparent governance, promoting affordable, quality health, supporting education, improving and diversifying Agriculture, tackling rising unemployment and lowering cost of living, among others, shall determine its eligibility for confidence vote in the next elections.
It is worth noting that impactful government policies do not need long Facebook status or endless running back and forth debates to defend them; citizens whose lives are positively transformed by these policies will defend them through their votes.

Thus, we hope UDP will draw inference, discipline and focus from its years in the political trenches to amplify the love of the country and work hard towards the betterment of Gambians. Doing so would not be only politically expedient but morally fulfilling. Anything short would be an unforgivable betrayal to the pain, sacrifice and suffering of fellow Gambians dead and alive.
Zakaria Kemo Konteh
Queens, USA

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A cup of tea for Mr. President: Central Bank
Good morning Mr. President,
I humbly serve you this tea which consists of enough sugar of calmness and milk of thoughtfulness. It has been a trying period for your government after the Faraba incident which was greatly disastrous, sorrowful and condemnable. We pray that those who lost their lives Rest In Peace!
However, I wish to direct your attention to another matter of concern which is: the economy. It is true that the only body that is responsible for polishing the economy of The Gambia is the Central Bank. It is established by the constitution of The Gambia (see. s. 161), and further supplemented by the National Assembly in the Central Bank of The Gambia Act in 2005.

The reason behind its inception was to ensure that public finances are free from embezzlements, mismanagement and misappropriations; stabilize the currency; and most importantly be the sole institution that can issue the currency of The Gambia. These responsibilities have made it necessary for it to be the bank of the government. Thus, the importance of this body can’t be overemphasized since finance is the lifeblood of any nation. This makes it crucial for the central bank to be watered with support and measures that will make its path for a better economy smooth and successful.

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Ironically, this was not done in the past 22 years. Simply because the central bank’s affairs were being meddled with and it operated clandestinely in order to suit the interest of the then government. This had made the central bank to have been reduced to a mere ‘ATM’ whereby embezzlements and many fraudulent acts were done by most officials at their whims and fancies. These unjust activities have landed us into a financial devastation, and left our nation crawling. Among which the contemporary Gambia faces is instability of prices in our markets and business sectors. This has led to the creation of individuals who skyrocket prices of goods without any consideration to price controls or measures put in place by authorities. Due to this reason, it has drastically affected the currency and made it lose its magnificent value as in the regime of D. K. Jawara when the dalasis was in its prominence. As a result, the decadence of the currency has increasingly imposed a negative impact on the lives of the low-paid. Since they have mouths to feed, school fees to pay and daily fish-money to give their families – how can such individuals be happy and have better standard of living in such status quo of the economy which leaves them with nothing in their pockets despite their monthly salaries.

To sum it up Mr. President, it will be tackled by allocating independence to central bank to its duties without any interference. Also, engage and ensure that its board is working ceaselessly in stabilizing the currency and its prices. In addition, soliciting financial pieces of advice from the central bank concerning relations with international financial banks, or organizations would yield dividend. It is with a strong conviction that once the above-mentioned are underlined, it will underpin this nation to reach its objectives and become financially strong.
Muhamed Lamin Ceesay
University of The Gambia

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