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Friday, December 8, 2023

Letters to the Editor

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A cup of tea for Mr President: National Assembly

Good morning Mr. President,

I serve you this tea to direct your attention to an organ which is doing well in upholding rule of law and good governance in contemporary Gambia. They have been crucial in the process of national development; because they are primarily tasked to make, amend or repeal laws that regulate the affairs of people. This organ is known as the ‘National Assembly’ in The Gambia. It must be noted with a strong conviction that the legislature is the backbone of a nation since they help to ensure that leaders are held accountable, transparent and work tirelessly to meet the demands of the people. This push exerted on the government will encourage rapid development through various robust plans which will be tabled and debated on for long hours in order to save time, resources and ideas from wastage. Thus, putting our heads together is what the National Assembly preaches since it will enhance most policies to be scrutinized and made obtainable – if they are for the best interest of the Gambian populace.

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However, I must sketch that the National Assembly should not be used as an engine of dictatorship, or to salvage the interest of any party. This should not be condoned, or entertained – no, never! Experience is the best teacher and it has taught us well during the past two decades. In those periods, we had seen the National Assembly being used to satisfy the whims and fancies of an individual and his political party. This all happened by giving approval to all the budgets put forth by the then government without holding them to account; passing draconian laws such as the Indemnity Act, National Intelligence Agency Act, Public Order Act, and so on, to silence genuine whistleblowers from speaking against injustice; and giving absolute power to the executive without any checks and balances being implemented.

A classical example was the 10th April, 2000 when some students were shot dead and others were seriously injured as they engaged in protest. The National Assembly instead of finding means or laws to bring those perpetrators to justice, shamelessly went ahead to formulate an Act (Indemnity Act) that would prevent security apparatus from any legal actions from those victims they tortured or killed. Also, during the impasse in 2017, the National Assembly passed a State of Emergency to satisfy the whims and fancies of a mere man whose dream was to be in power for billions of years. This is a smoking-gun of their negligence, lack of patriotism and wickedness to the Gambian people back then.


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Therefore, I humbly plead with you, Mr. President, to take these sincere reservations from me, which are:
A. Never assent to a Bill that is an ingredient to dictatorship and witch-hunt. These two elements are recipes for injustice and chaos in any society they exist. You’re empowered by s. 73 (3) & s. 100 (3) which give you the privilege of not assenting to a Bill unless it is further supported by two third of the National Assembly wherein you have no choice. In that circumstance your hands are tied but your integrity is forever raised.
B. Enlighten the National Assembly about the harmful, draconian or venomous laws bring into a nation during your annual address to the National Assembly (see. 77 (1)).

C. Also, whenever you are called by the National Assembly in any sittings that involve national issues, kindly seek this opportunity to preach peace, patriotism and commitment to build The Gambia into a stronger country. This will ingrain the seed of hardwork and passion to push this nation to higher heights of development economically, politically and socially. It will assist in repealing some draconian laws and ensure amendments of provisions that are roadblocks to the path of success of our nation.
Finally, it is with a strong conviction that once this is done – we will hit our targets, and the policies highlighted in the National Development Plan (N.D.P) will be a success.


Muhamed Lamin Ceesay
University of The Gambia

To the Gambian ambassador in Dakar, Ebrima Ousman Ndure

Dear editor,

Due to the advent of modern travel, today’s world is a much smaller place in relative terms. With this in mind, it is considered important that the nations of the world have at least a small staff living in foreign capitals in order to aid travelers and visitors from their home nation. As an officer of the Foreign Service, an ambassador is expected to protect the citizens of their home country in the host country. An ambassador from any country should always be conscious of the fact that he has a tremendous responsibility because he is the representative by whom his country is going to be judged. Given that the doubtless unsuspecting taxpayers of The Gambia provided The Gambia Ambassador in Dakar with free housing, a Foreign Service allowance in addition to his salary.

Mr. Ambassador, I don’t know you at all, but from last week to date the little research I did on your job ethics and your professionalism does not tell well on you. First from own Dad. He encountered with you in your office when he visited you in Dakar about a month ago. Secondly, I read an article about you on FATU NETWORK written by one Musa Bah. Thirdly, the narration of one Mr. Darboe, a Faraba Banta victim (Foroyaa) when he was in Dakar for treatment.

I sent an email to you last week. You never responded which is a common practice of your office.
Mr. Ambassador, public confidence in the integrity of Barrow’s Government is indispensable to faith in democracy and when we lose faith in the system and people in leadership positions like you, we then lost faith in everything we fight and spend for. When our nation is filled with strife like you, it will be very difficult for patriotic Gambians to flourish. Your knowledge is not a substitute for your passion. No matter how knowledgeable you are, when laziness takes the lead in your daily decisions, your knowledge becomes valueless. If you wait for the mango fruits to fall, you’d be wasting your time while others are learning how to climb the tree.

Mr. Ambassador, it’s easy to make a mess when you’re not the one who has to clean it up. When people refuse to pay the price of personal responsibility for the problems of the nation, these same people end up paying the high price of irresponsibility, which is often in tragedy and sorrow. The devil may not be interested in preventing you from knowing the undone job. What he may do is to make you think it’s somebody’s job and not yours.

Negativity may misguide you to see daylight as moonlight; and then you go to sleep instead of rising up to work. No every irresponsible act is caused by laziness; negative attitudes take a bigger share. When there is no personal responsibility in any society, there cannot be a responsible government. No nation becomes great without first eradicating laziness from the lives of its citizens. A nation could be blessed with all the natural resources and potentials but if that nation does not destroy laziness and revive hard work in its citizens, that nation will be as underdeveloped and economically recessed as if it has no resources and potentials whatsoever.

The taste of your life depends on the spices you used to brew it. If you keep adding laziness to it and it becomes bitter as bile, but if you change your spices to good attitudes you will lick your lips more and more due to its sweet taste. Sometimes you may just feel reluctant to do something when day breaks, but you must remember that there is always something that needs to be done when day breaks, for each day we meet as we journey in life comes with its own agenda! He who fails to know the real reasons why day breaks shall always abuse the real and true essence of each day, knowingly or unknowingly! Be alive when you wake up and do something with all your might when day breaks for you surely leave a footprint each day you wake up! When you wake up, wake up to uplift lives of GAMBIANS residing in SENEGAL. Every time you mistreat someone, you reveal the part of you that lacks love and needs to heal. It is essentially an attitude of respect and reverence towards our fellow GAMBIANS. In a servant leadership culture we learn by choice or example that if you want to be great, you have to serve others respectfully.

Lamin Jallow

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