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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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On the controversial Gnassingbé issueOn the controversial Gnassingbé issue
Dear editor,I have read Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe’s statement regarding the controversial Reuters story on Togo and find it interesting.Firstly, I think it’s a missed opportunity.

Gambia missed an opportunity to set precedence among African governments which are renowned for backing dictators, hiding behind this excuse of Sovereignty.

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I bet we all felt bad when foreign governments invoked the same line as excuse for giving blind eye to Jammeh’s atrocities. Also, the statement published under the name of the Foreign Ministry is too brief to be taken seriously. Reuters is not Freedom Newspaper. The story had direct quotes of Mr Darboe saying the words he has denied saying.

Did he say them unconsciously?A better explanation is needed.Gambia is a beneficiary of what Togo desperately needs today.Kemo Cham
Gambia’s divisive and usurper political force
Dear editor,It is obvious to many that the Gambia is at a crossroads and many of my colleague political commentators and politicians have attested to this fact.

What is not sufficiently addressed and not unanimously consented to the many dangers that fraught this crossroad in Gambian history. Who is responsible for the chaos, coalition intransigence and resulting public disputes that never once serve the public INTEREST? We all know the saying “those who do not have the capacity to learn from history, are bound to repeat its pitfalls”.

This is quite frankly looking more likely to be our fate if well-meaning citizens from all sides of the political divide cannot come together to counter this looming political threat that can have security and socio-economic implications for ‘New Gambia’. The coalition needs visionary, unambiguous and decisive leadership that is not just independent (not favoring any single one of the coalition parties) and devoid of political bias…

but is seen to be independent and democratic. What we have seen and the last outburst against Hon. Halifa Sallah being a prime example is a Presidency that is discombobulated and confused. This is very much symptomatic of an unprepared, untested and an accidental leader that is not really in control. What we have is a reactionary leadership, an underling that is at the mercy of a usurper political god-father.

For months, I have been lamenting on the divisiveness and attempted usurpation of our new political reality. A reality that came about as a result of years and in some cases decades of sacrifice by many Gambians and some non-Gambians. Despite the difference in the level of sacrifice from one victim of Jammeh’s brutal rule to the other, each one of us is directly responsible for the regime’s ultimate and spectacular demise.

That fact seems to be lost to those who have hidden political agendas and only interested in dominating our new political reality and budding democracy for self-aggrandizing. We all must be aware that a corrupt and divisive democracy could easily be worse than a brutal dictatorship.The reality in the New Gambia is very disheartening.

I refuse to be told to be quiet; I refuse to be told I still need to give the new coalition government more time to do the most basic things according to law and due process in a democracy like disclose ministers’ assets and do it publicly, conduct proper tendering of huge government projects or properly disclose the source of funding for gifts of vehicles to lawmakers etc.

because that is not what we fought and sacrificed for. Such action can be an egregious conflict of interest due to their oversight role and the arm of government that ratifies loan, grant and other multilateral agreements. We cannot let unsavory and questionable characters derail our match toward a first rated democracy shepherded by a responsive and responsible visionary government that delivers and is answerable to its people.

This is not the time to renege on political agreements in an effort to prolong political power, reward ourselves or our friends with government contracts and cozy portfolios or go on a childish rambling when confronted with uncomfortable facts by people who we are answerable to. We will not be bamboozled or distracted with frivolous political gymnastics when we demand answers to the many ailments of our politics, economy and security.

Nine months is not long enough a time to impeach a president for lack of substantive developmental accomplishments, but is more than enough time for Gambians to start asking the questions like; when will this government commission a development project that it conceived and developed ( not remnants from the Jammeh era)? Why is Ghana’s new government moving multiple times faster in implementing its development blueprint than our own government with all the goodwill and financial backing of the world? Finally, when will the real President please show up?Lamin Comma
The irony of the WhatsApp tool that gave us our freedom
Dear editor,WhatsApp became the tool that galvanized us as a people, and the final nail in the coffin of the Jammeh tyranny.

The WhatsApp tool became the nexus for Gambians living in small villages and hamlets to Gambians living in the Diaspora, as we shared the platform to remind all of us the need to come together and bring sanity to our homeland. We were tired of the fear, disappearances, impunity, and the realization that our Gambia was off the cliff of becoming a failed state.

The Diaspora was seen by our folks back home as the enlightened sons and daughters who are only driven by love of country, and irrespective of our partisan divide and whatever perceived difference we may have, there is a known truth that we will never engage in processes that will threaten the stability of our country. The irony of it all is that the WhatsApp, the tool touted by president Barrow wherever he goes as the most effective tool that finally brought down the Jammeh tyranny and gave us our freedom, is now seen to be threatening and poised to put us back in the path of self-destruction.

I am sure some of my good friends will find the above statements leaning close to rhetorical hyperbole, but after twenty-two years of what we went through as a country, taking things for granted should be avoided at all cost. During the last twenty some years, I have met folks from the UDP, PDOIS, NRP, PPP and non- partisans, and I am absolutely certain and convinced that the majority will never engage in some of the ugly rhetoric being spewed through the WhatsApp tool. Like most people, I do not believe these folks speak for any singly party or party leader for that matter, and I have to assume that whoever wants to become president eventually, you would want to be a president of a country and a stable country for that matter.

This dangerous minority cannot and will never help anyone become president, or to build a country that all of us can be proud of.It is important for the good people and leaders of the struggle that made the sacrifices and the inconveniences over the years, not to allow their focus for partisan successes only to capitulate to this small minority of dangerous folks spewing hate and ready to highjack our successes.

Let us all work together and remind every Gambian that we can have our political differences, but that’s just what they are because ultimately the preservation of our country and all our people is the most important goal. Heated and contentious debates and discussions are part of pluralistic democracy, especially at its infancy, and I can understand, but when it transitions to something outside the norms and values that we fought for as a people, together we should repudiate and lean on our leaders to do the same. It is too early to destroy the very work we have engaged in for the past twenty some years.
Musa Jeng

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