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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Letters to the Editor

On the current happenings in Gambia

Dear editor,

My heart pains in sadness when we fight to achieve a better Africa yet there are many who have their PhD in CRITICISM but still lack a primary certificate in the rudiments of democracy. We attend public forum and give what the public term as mighty speeches yet they only listen and clap for the speakers without picking an element from the spoken but philosophical words.

I am begging The Gambian people to give their all in support of the current government in the attainment of national development objectives. You shouted for change and the world heard and came to your cry, the change is here and YOU ALL must understand that Adama Barrow inherited a huge responsibility which requires a collective combination of all GAMBIANS both home and abroad but our greatest pleasure to misuse the social media and send a wrong signal to the rest of the world.

The best gift the Almighty Allah has blessed this country is PEACE but sadly enough you are carelessly drawing an expiration date to your peace (may the Lord forbid ) due to your lack of patience. Why protest when in fact government has listened to your quest and is keen on making things right subsequently? Mikel Howard buys cash power here he sleeps in darkness but he understands where the problem lies so he needs not jump and spring in the street or incite the public to disturb the peace and tranquility of the state because PEACE is abstract and enjoyable but cracking it isn’t expensive whereas rebuilding it costs not only cash but attitudes which makes is almost impossible to finding once you must have destroyed it.

Ask my mama Liberia that took 14 years to crack her peace and where is she today? We are less than 5000000 people but in the past two elections including the current one, we always have 20+ political parties contesting the presidency. It shows a divided people, a country that has lost her way some time back, a country that is triballly divided and so on. Guess what, that’s your current direction of travel if you don’t sit down as Gambians and ask yourselves some uncomfortable questions like “who are we ” ” a people of war or peace ” , “a one family kinda country or with diversionary tactics kinda of people “.

Why protest? That only validates my quote that says when muscle appears in manifestation then wisdom is absent. I beg that you leave the street and respect and trust the authority to solve the problems in the most appealing manner. I am on my kneels not as a Liberian but as an African who cries when the peace of any nation is cracked because I cracked minds too many back and I knew what I felt so I don’t want you to be like Mikel who is still healing the wounds of a brutal civil war. You will never experience any bitter pills other countries have felt but you need to be practical and mature to ensure that my good philosophical prophecy – endless peace – stands. I am humbled.

Mikel Howard

Re: #OccupyWestField

Dear editor,

When Solo Sandeng and his colleagues took to the streets on that fateful day in April of 2016, many were awed by their bravery and proud of their enormous sacrifice. Among the many victories that ensued were the breakdown of fear factor, mass mobilisation leading to the defeat of tyranny at the polls and the triumphant birth of democratic dispensation in our country. #OccupyWestfield initiative is part of the victory package fought for by our gallant freedom fighters.

Stability in electricity and water supply is not only a basic necessity but also very critical in the overall economic growth of our country. As someone born and raised in the village, I will neither excuse the past administrations for failing to provide electricity and water in my area nor will I exonerate this Coalition government under which our fellow citizens face even sharp deterioration in energy supplies. I attribute the current status quo as a combination of factors including the government’s lack of initial short term strategic plan/vision on one hand and miscommunication and capacity issues affecting NAWEC on the other. That said, I recognize the efforts being put in motion by the coalition government and NAWEC officials to find a lasting solution to the problem.

Although the #occupywestfield movement is not going to trigger immediate improvement to the power and water situation, it will serve as a symbolic expression of collective frustration in urban areas by extending the conversation from affected households and social media to our streets and hopefully giving it a face.
#Occupywestfield should not be about a power struggle/contest between the citizens and government nor should it be used to advance political ambition or as a “dry run” to ferment trouble and undermine national security. It shouldn’t be about rural areas vs urban centers. It should not be about anti government vs pro government supporters or young people vs older generation. We are all affected in one way or the other. Gambia is affected in one way or the other. Democracy accords and empowers citizens to register their displeasure within the confines of law and requires the government to protect these citizens when doing so.
Hopefully our government will use the event to double check the pulse of the ordinary citizens as they express their state of mind on the matter and work even harder to address it.

Zakaria Kemo Konteh
Queens, USA

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