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Monday, September 21, 2020

LETTERS: How come Chongan is called ‘Balangbaa’?

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How come Chongan is called ‘Balangbaa’?

Dear editor,

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I am very sorry but I have reached a level where I don’t want to joke or take lightly the plight of The Gambia especially regarding our past history and present state of affairs. Anytime I complain about something, trust me comrades, it’s always genuine and always for our best interest – you and I. We’ve heard from Retired Captain Amadou Suwareh that AIG Ebrima Chongan gave them a verbal order to shoot on sight. When Yundum fell and soldiers were marching towards Fajara, Chongan visited government troops at Denton Bridge to boost morale and also reaffirmed his verbal order for a shoot-on-sight. Now so far, that’s all we know about Chongan and his contribution towards the 1994 coup. In light of this, how did he earned the nickname “Balangbaa”? All my life, I have been made to believe that he led advancing troops towards Jammeh and his fellow traitors.

I read some snippets of his book and this was reaffirmed but the battle itself was blurred and not actually expounded on in details. I was hoping this TRRC will shed more light on the most celebrated law enforcement officer and his bravery but it didn’t. The beauty about military and national security is that it’s always non-political and biased so let’s speak from our hearts and minds. Should Chongan, after all, have stayed at Denton Bridge? Or was the visit to Denton Bridge a white feather for showmanship? I am really really really sorry for all these but these law enforcement officers that our fathers paid with their last little taxes succumbed to few traitors when they were given a magazine containing 60 rounds which is different from the bullets in their rifle pouches. This is a complete and total betrayal of Gambian people.

Their actions ushered us into a very deadly regime that robbed so many young Gambian lives and we are still reaping it! Our society succeeded in vilifying and continues up to date to vilify Captain Samsudeen Sarr when he was in fact one of the greatest soldiers of his time for trying to abort the coup and got jailed as a result. He endured beatings and abuses for years because he stood up against the traitors. Don’t get me wrong, he sucked big time as a civilian and was a complete waste of public employee under Jammeh, but we can all agree that he was a brave outstanding soldier. I respect men who went to jail for The Gambia rather than joining the traitors or refused to report for duty upon hearing the coup (State Guards was emptied on the day of the coup except one soldier). So many senior citizens today – who were military officers during 94 – refused to report for duty that day upon hearing the coup and they are living with us. We must all come together and condemn this tragedy so it sends stern warning to those currently serving us for deterrent! Ok so how did Balangbaa come about?

Ndey Sarr Guelèwar
France

 

The untold story about the newly inaugurated Trans-Gambia Bridge

Dear editor,

It was in 1976 that former president Dawda Jawara proposed to kick off the building of a bridge between Yelli Tenda and Bamba Tenda and named it the Trans-Gambia Bridge with a length of 1.9 kilometres.
On 11 November 2014, the said project was officially signed, a contract awarded to two companies: JV Corsan Corvian of Spain and Arezki SA of Senegal, which was expected to last 36 months, according to the contract agreement.
Readers could recall that on Friday 20 February 2015, the then vice president, Isatou Njie-Saidy, under Jammeh’s administration and Senegalese prime minister M Dionne laid the foundation stone for the commencement of the construction of the bridge.

The project is being financed by the African Development Fund with a grant to The Gambia of D4 billion, aimed at reinforcing the economic cooperation and integration between The Gambia and Senegal and Ecowas community as a whole.
Besides, the Ecowas Protocol on the Free Movement of People and Goods ensures free mobility of the community citizens. The protocol on free movement conferred on community citizens the right to enter and reside in the territory of any member state, provided they possessed a valid travel document and international health certificate.
Surprisingly, a press release issued on 17 January 2019 by the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure has it that the Trans-Gambia bridge will be open to light traffic effective, January 2019 until July 2019, when all ancillary works on the bridge and access roads are completed”.

The question is why should an incomplete bridge be inaugurated considering the risk involved when an accident occurs. On a similar note, a US$10 million Chinese-built bridge in western Kenya, personally commissioned by President Kenyatta collapsed with at least 27 workers injured on 26 June 2017. The collapse occurred less than two weeks after President Kenyatta visited the site as part of a campaign tour before general elections in August 2017.

In Turkey in December 2017, a bridge which costed 100 million Turkish Lira and was under construction since 2013, collapsed just as the final sections were being built.
Could the immature inauguration of the bridge have to do with Senegal’s presidential election which will be held on 24 February 2019? Ahead of the election, two opposition leaders Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade were barred from participating because of convictions for misuse of public funds. The country’s constitutional court has preliminarily authorised five candidates, including incumbent president Macky Sall who was present at the inauguration of the said bridge.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Banjul

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