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Friday, February 23, 2024

Letters to the Editor

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When would The Gambia come out of the slumps?

Dear editor,

I look around my society and feel so ashamed and sad about the way we live. This is why I am writing this letter and hoping it would change someone’s life.
I personally believe in African movement but I sometimes find it so hard to understand how other people from their foreign countries would come and establish themselves and own the major businesses in here.
The Gambia being a third world country and major businesses are owned by foreigners who are not even African in this country and they treat us like we are stupid because that’s how they see us since we are working under them while our fellow Africans are working day and night trying to build their countries.

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One thing that I don’t understand is that how come we, the Gambians, sit and say there’s no work in this country whiles others come with empty hands and make much money to even send it back to their countries and even bring some of their relatives. And we are here saying that there are no jobs drinking attaya.
All we think about is how to get to Europe, most of the time through the perilous back-way or waiting for our relatives abroad to send us some money. If we are not thinking about either of those, then we must be waiting for the government to come straight knocking our doors to give us jobs while others are there working day and night trying to put food on the table.

Editor, in this 21st century it is only in the Gambia that you see a 30-year-old man living with his parents without a job; yet has his three square meals, even after saying the new Gambia. I still see the same old Gambia, looks like to me some people in this country were just saying that we need change and looking for someone to blame for our laziness.
The Gambia is now 53; we cannot call it a young nation anymore, we are still lacking behind compared to other countries in terms of development and this nation will remain like this in the next 50 years if we don’t charge.

It is not only by praying and giving away zakat that will take you to heaven, but developing your country can also take you to heaven.
However, I also see young dedicated people who are eager for change and the development of this country.
I don’t think the Gambia needs change; it is the people who need to change for a better future in the nation. We need to change the way we think. The question we should ask ourselves as Gambian is what we can do for our country not what the government has to do for us.
Let’s stop saying that I voted for the president to do this and that for me; let’s inspire the young generation; let’s build a better nation for the future of this country and make Africa a better continent.

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Aisha Tamba

Letter to the IGP: What happens to the joint Kanilai probe and other investigations?

Dear Sir,

Among many legitimate reasons that energized Gambians in ushering the new democratic dispensation is the opportunity for this coalition government, in a clean break from the past, to be transparent and accountable to the public. To ensure this, institutions and other organs of government must operate in ways that keep citizens adequately informed through timely dissemination of facts even when these facts don’t appear to favor government.

However, Gambia Police Force and Gambia Armed Forces have set a worrying precedence that appears to keep citizens in the dark, at least on the Kanilai incident and those that preceded or followed it.
On Friday, June 2nd, 2017, the people of Kanilai in Foni Kansala district took to the streets and demanded the withdrawal of ECOMIG forces from the area. The demonstration took a violent turn and one of our fellow citizens, Haruna Jatta, was shot and later died from his wounds. Others sustained non life-threatening injuries and have since recovered. Haruna’s death was a particularly regrettable tragic loss of life under the new administration of President Barrow amidst concerns over possible intelligence and strategic response failures leading to the escalation of the situation.

As many theories flew in respect of the motives of such a well-planned violent demonstration, our government, through the ministry of the Interior, assured us of independent, impartial and thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the confrontation. GAF and ECOMIG Command also promised to launch joint probe into the matter and determine if soldiers had acted within the confines of the rule of engagement. Eight months down the road, nothing is heard about it and no report is made public.
The Kanilai riot followed a similar violent incident in Farato on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017, when some youths broke the law and engaged in wanton destruction of property and assaulting police officers. Arrests were made but the full detail of the investigation has not been released.

Mr. IG, on January 10th, 2018, violence and mayhem gripped Busumbala in what was perceived to be politically motivated that saw attacks on innocent civilians and destruction of private property as vigilante justice took center stage before the violence was put under control. A day earlier, touring opposition APRC supporters claimed to have been attacked on the outskirts of Mankamang Kunda.

In the wake of this lawlessness, political activities were suspended and, again, the public was promised full scale investigation with the assurance that those found culpable would face the full weight of the law. But, given the track record of previous police investigations and how they are shrouded in secrecy, it does not smack of cynicism to believe that the outcome may not be made public and those who orchestrated violence may not be held accountable for their crimes.

Sir, Gambia is a land of laws but citizens can only respect these laws if they are enforced without bias, secrecy or selectivity. Aggrieved parties must be accorded fair judicial process to bring about closure and help in healing and reconciliation efforts.

Thus, we call on you to make every effort to expedite these processes, share with the public findings of the investigations and, where possible, indict anyone found to have violated our laws. Your office has the confidence of the President to do the right thing, the resources and expertise to bring all the pending matters to a speedy conclusion. We the citizens are watching.

Zakaria Kemo Konteh
Queens, USA

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