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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Letters: The plight of rural kids

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Dear editor,

Honourable Minister of Education, Madam Claudiana Ayo Cole, how are you doing in these trying times of Covid-19 pandemic we are confronted with. I hope you are keeping it safe and following the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

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It has been a while since I last sent you an open letter on the matters ranging from corruption and improved service delivery for a better educational sector we want. However, in today’s letter, I am writing with mixed feelings and total dissatisfaction beyond human imagination in the heart of Kudang, Central River Region. Also, you could recall that during one of my letters sometime last year when you assumed office, I reminded you of the heavy task on your soldiers.

Honourable Minister, I know Covid-19 came at a time when our great nation is not prepared. However, your ministry is able to come up with a development and provision of distance learning materials, the use of television and radio as a medium to dispense learning, and the use of social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
Honourable Minister, you will be surprised to know that there are kids in CRR who are not aware of the online classes conducted as listed above. Furthermore, most of them do not have access to radio or TV. Besides, their parents are farmers who live from hand-to-mouth. I have no doubt that as a mother you will be the least satisfied person to hear such a piece of horrific news in the 21stcentury.

I submit to you that Edward Francis Small must be rolling in his grave. Since he is the champion of ”no taxation without representation”. Honourable Minister I was privy to saw the alkalo’s taxpayers book and to my surprised, these people are one of the most law-abiding citizens when it comes to the payment of tax. To and extent of paying for fire insurance too.

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That has been said, they should also have their share of the national cake. Else it will be discriminatory as stated in Section 33 of the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia. Meanwhile, I will be pleased if you can take a tour to the rural Gambia and do a feasibility study to come up with a way forward and action plan for a better Gambia we want where all will be treated equally in terms of resources.




Saidina Aliou Jarju

Permanent secretaries, how permanent?

Dear editor,

I’ve seen groaners and moaners grunting about President Barrow’s reshuffling of Permanent Secretaries in the civil service.
Their lame argument is that permanent secretaries are supposed to hold onto their jobs as the word permanent goes- it’s a ridiculous argument.

Permanent secretaries are functionaries who help to implement government policies without political persuasion. Permanent secretaries do not initiate policy but only facilitate to implement government policies.
So what are the groans and grunts about the president reshuffling appointments in the civil service?

The challenge facing democracy today especially in the West is about how and who exercise political authority over the people- is it going to be the unelected bureaucrats hiding behind bogus laws or the people elected into office with a political mandate to implement.
Elections in a democracy are about giving the country the opportunity to change its political, financial, economic and foreign policy direction.

There’s nothing permanent about how democratic politics work nor the appointments in the civil services- permanent secretaries are appointees in the public sector who do not have any agenda on how to govern the country- what matters is the government ministers drawing up credible and relevant policies to govern the country.

The swamp it’s referred to as in the West- unelected bureaucrats who no one voted for resisting any possibility to change the political, financial, economic and foreign policies of the country by the government elected by the people- permanent secretaries do not have any permanent tenure of office in the civil service.

Permanent secretaries are as permanent as implementing diligently the policy agenda of the government and nothing more.
I’m not talking about the politics that lie behind the president’s decision to reshuffle his civil service but the idea that permanent secretaries have a permanent tenure of office is absurd.

Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang

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