Letters to the Editor


It is congress time for political parties: would women be on the menu or at the table? Dear editor, Our Political parties are organising their congresses and i know the UDP has already conducted elections in some regions. At the end of the day, i would be interested in what positions the women in these parties are elected into. That would be the pointer to me, about how serious our political parties are to giving power to their women members. Typically, and may be an inadvertent design towards exclusion to the top positions, the posts women occupy are already etched or carved for them: Women Mobilizer; Women Coordinator; etc. The title tells who is supposed to be the occupier. The top notch positions-Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary General/Coordinator, Chief Mobiliser, etc- are all occupied by men. Male domination of positions which carry enormous power, privileges, influences and authority. I bet that, by and large, the Regional Chairpersons of all our political parties would be men. Women hold half our sky, about 51 per cent of our population. Superimpose this on political parties, it is likely women would form about half of the membership of any political party. If the numerical strength is anything to go by, then women ought to be in driver’s seat in our political parties. And if they are or become, it would easily pave the way for women’s political ascendancy in the Gambia. Political parties are microcosm of Government, since every political party is a government in waiting. How they treat their women members within the party, in terms of voice, power, position and development of their agency, may determine how they would treat women when they assume the mantle of power. Oh, i know it is an open contest and “nothing” bars a woman member of a political party from applying and vying for any post within, if she feels qualified. There is often a chasm between what the law or rule states and the socio-cultural impediments which fraught its enjoyment or realisation, especially women’s political participation and engagement. Unless political parties make deliberate policy decisions on these… that for every post a lead and assistant are elected and if man is lead, woman becomes the assistant and vice versa. While equal number does not equal to active or meaningful participation, it would serve as “encourager” for others to throw their headties in the ring. When our political parties improves, enhances and increases women’s political participation and greater representation in the higher echelons of our political parties, they wouldn’t just be empowering their women members but would be setting the standards for the Government and for themselves when they come to power. We can do better as a nation, for our women. Political parties set the pace for such. Njundu Drammeh CPA   Re: Gambian in US whose bike-repair business helped Gambia faces deportation from US A new bike in Gambia costs a year’s wages Dear editor, Really? I can go to Westfield tomorrow and buy a new bicycle for D 3, 000-D4, 000 and I’ll find most of the second-hand bicycles arriving by containers are around the same price. While one can feel sympathy for this Gambian’s plight, one has to ask, since when did running a business mean you are above the law? I’m here in The Gambia on a residential visa. If I set up a business here I would be in breach of my visa conditions and could be arrested and deported, regardless of whether my business helped local people or people in my home country. Abdoulie Fatajo went to the USA on a student visa, with strict]]>