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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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RE: Gambian diplomat receives another award Dear editor, Barely two months ago, we congratulated our saintly professional, gentleman Ernest Aubee for being honoured and awarded a certificate by the Partnership Alliance for Control of Aflatoxin (PACA) in Africa, for his contribution in mitigating the harmful effects of Aflatoxin in Africa. In that congratulatory message, we prayed to the Unseen Witness to every deed, to witness more of such. Our prayer has been answered. This time around, our dear Ernest, a household name in The Gambia, has received another “award of honour” for his immense contribution to the development of Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) in the ECOWAS region. This is a farming system that adopts special measures, including environmental “safety nets” and related use of organic inputs that ensures access to safe and nutritionally adequate food. This strategic objective focuses on promoting the incorporation of EOA objectives into national and sectoral policies and plans. This is the humble and most modest Ernest with a well recognized reputation as a caring, honest and hard working international public servant, who serves as an unparalleled source of information for anyone who cares. Some of the lessons we can learn from the work of Ernest is that agro-rural development at the regional level can only be stable and sustained if we can acquire the habit of continuous cooperation. But before we can do this, we must change our national attitudes and, before that, our individual attitudes to work. Hence, it is understood that any design for Utopia or any design for a stable regional community even on most modest terms can be achieved only by some kind of an educational process. Only thus can stable and sustained agro-rural development geared to an enhanced poverty reduction be realized. We have no doubt that Ernest’s vision which is recognized by the institution giving him this award will play a very significant role in this educational process. Educational processes take time. Meanwhile, let us continue to pray to the Silent Listener and Unseen Witness that we have enough time in our hands to see the realities of Ernest’s visions unfolding. GOD Speed and Bless. Suruwa B. Wawa Jaiteh Bakau   Deyda Hydara: 14 years on and still waiting for justice Dear editor, It is 14 years since the brutal murder of Deyda Hydara by yet unknown assassins, and we are still not much wiser as to who may have been responsible for the heinous crime and why. The government of Yahya Jammeh never showed any commitment to getting to the bottom of the case and completely shunned all calls for thorough investigation of the matter. In fact from the very beginning, the Gambia Press Union and other civil society groups had called on the authorities to invite more competent investigating bodies from abroad to help our security forces to unravel the case, but the regime had always turned down the call, saying that our security forces had the competence to carry out the investigation, and yet they woefully failed to carry out any serious investigation. There is no doubt that if they had agreed to such a proposal then, by now the truth would have been known as to who killed Deyda and why. Therefore, the failure to investigate the case for all these years was yet another big dent on the Jammeh regime’s image as a respecter of the rule of law and provider of justice for its citizens. No doubt, in view of the time lapse since the assassination, it would be much harder to lay hands on the relevant evidence, especially when all the vital evidence such as the bullets and the autopsy report may have been tampered with or destroyed. While there is yet not enough tangible evidence to point a finger at anyone for the killing, but all indications seem to point to the former regime or its agents. Even the very fact that former President Jammeh was never comfortable with any mention of the case and every time he was asked about it, he made some ambiguous remarks which tended to confuse rather than clarify his regime’s stand point on the issue, indicated an apparent guilt. We can recall that during one of his interviews with GRTS, he was alleged to have asked anyone who wanted to know who Deyda’s killers were to “go and ask him”. Also, during an interview with BBC’s Umaru Fofana shortly after the presidential election in November 2011, President Jammeh compared Deyda’s brutal murder to the deaths of other Gambians in road accidents, thus further dashing any hopes that his regime had any genuine intentions of investigating the case. We can also recall that the only report ever produced by the authorities entitled ‘Confidential Report’, was released by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in 2005 in which, instead of displaying any seriousness in investigating the case, they chose to subject Deyda’s personal character to all sorts of disparaging comments, even to the extent of blaming his death on his wayward behavior. Even the failure of the authorities to make the autopsy report available to the Hydara family or to even carry out a forensic analysis of the bullets recovered from his body, which are some of the most basic things anyone would expect from any responsible authority, could easily be interpreted to mean an apparent attempt at a cover-up. However, with the advent of the New Gambia, there is now high hope that the case will be handled with the utmost seriousness it deserves and that it will be one of the cases to be given priority by the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC). We also hope that people with first-hand knowledge of the case would not hesitate to come forward and give evidence to the TRRC so that we would all know what happened and who was responsible for such a dastardly act. D. A. Jawo Former information Minister]]>

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