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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there

Dear editor,

Italian writer, politician and political theorist Antonio Gramsci (1891 – 1937) once wrote: The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a wide variety of morbid symptoms appear.

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This is where our country, the Gambia, currently finds itself. The old order where a handful of rich families lord it over the poor masses is dying. The old order of a society built on the quicksand of tribalism, corruption and impunity, is dying and not yet buried. The old order, where thieves in suits and Kaftans walk the corridors of power pretending to be captains of industry, is yet to be buried.

But the new cannot yet be born. The new beloved community built on a foundation of justice and brotherly love. The new order governed by the rule of law, where nobody is above the law. The new country where we uphold the inherent dignity of each citizen.

That new order cannot yet be born because of the morbid fear of those who temporarily wield power. They sense that power slipping away and they are terrified for they know what they did to attain it and they sense that the hour of reckoning is at hand. They are scared because they cannot survive in a world of fair competition because they have never had to. And they are anxious that their children may not have a place in the new Gambia that we are building. And so they stand stubbornly in the way of the train of change, knowing that it will crash them but unable to get out of its way.\

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But we welcome them, these anxious, terrified, countrymen and women of ours. We reassure them that the Gambia belongs to all who live in it. There is space for all of us. We all have a contribution to make.
Where crimes have been committed, they must be accounted for. But we also understand that you are not the real enemy. At a certain fundamental level, we understand that you too are victims of a system that was designed to keep us all in bondage, and which you have served for far too long without questioning.

We are here to liberate you as well so that together we may join hands and expand the bounds of freedom and may each contribute our time, talent and treasure in turning our homeland of the Gambia into a heritage of splendor and in standing firm to defend it.
So, have courage my brothers and sisters, to let go of the old so that the new can finally be born.


Alagi Yorro Jallow
New York City

Dear editor,

Nko, any resident lawyer around? I need help.
Are the people appearing before the Janneh Commission “witnesses” or “respondents” or alleged offenders? Are they the ones being investigated or Yaya Jammeh and his financial dealings?
Chapter XVIII of the Constitution deals with Commissions of Inquiry. S. 206 stipulates:

“A witness before a Commission of Inquiry shall be entitled to the same immunities and privileges as if he or she were a witness in proceedings before the High Court”
And if anyone who has aided and abetted Yaya or misused his or her powers or office or public trust thinks he or she is off the hook yet, better think again. According to S.200(1), the President can/may set up a Commission to Inquire into “the conduct of any public officer; the conduct of any District Chief or Alkalo; the conduct or management of any department or authority of the public service or any local government authority or public enterprise; or any matter whatever arising in the Gambia in which an inquiry would, in the opinion of the President, be of the public good”
So who is safe?

Would be great to see a Commission set up to inquire into the dealings and workings of Yahya’s instruments of torture re the army, police, NIA and Prisons (and the Immigration. The bodyguards used to be men and women in immigration uniform). And the PMO- most of the letters of those unnecessary, illegal firings/dismissals emanated from it).

And SSHFC. And the Judiciary itself, Yahya’s hand maiden- all those convictions on trumped up charges. And all of them. Yahya alone wasn’t our problem. He had willing hand maidens and co- conspirators still occupying high posts in the New Gambia. Some of them may still have “blood” on their hands. Or may be no other Commission is needed. Karma will catch up with all of them. The evil that men and women do catches up with them here on earth.


Njundu Drammeh

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