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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Response to Hamat Bah

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Dear Editor,

The statement made by the nation’s Minister of Tourism, Hon. Hamat Bah, during the presidential Meet the Farmers tour, has caused frustration and dissatisfaction among lecturers and students studying political science and social sciences, and I understand that. Such comments dismissing the relevance of political science and social sciences for national development can evoke a sense of anger and disappointment within these academic communities.

The Minister’s assertion that prioritising science and technology over social sciences is the primary focus for national development showcases a profound ignorance and underestimation of the critical role that political science and social sciences play in shaping societies and fostering sustainable progress. To dismiss these fields as irrelevant is not only inaccurate but also a disservice to the multifaceted nature of national development.

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Political science delves into the complexities of governance, institutions, policies, and the functioning of societies. It equips individuals with the knowledge to understand and address issues related to governance, human rights, public policy, diplomacy, and social justice. Similarly, social sciences encompass disciplines like sociology, anthropology, psychology, and economics, which offer invaluable insights into human behaviour, societal structures, cultural dynamics, and economic systems.

Political science and social sciences are fundamental in fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, and understanding diverse perspectives—all vital components for a well-rounded and inclusive society.

The office of the Ministry of Tourism is under social sciences, and how many government officials who have studied social and political science today work at the office of the president, including all departments in our government? Honourable minister, the Gambians are very worried about your ministry. We had so much rampant corruption in your department; no wonder our tourism sector is dead due to your ignorance and arrogance. These forms of acts must stop because we cannot continue to entertain such misbehaviour from our officials, misusing our offices because of the powers given to them by the citizens. Try to focus on the job the Gambian people gave you, revitalise the tourism sector, and bring more attraction to the world.

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Science and technology undoubtedly contribute significantly to progress, but sustainable development requires a holistic approach that integrates insights from diverse disciplines, including the social sciences.

We are very aware of some of the reasons why our governments are not interested in the fields of political science and social science. Political science students are oriented towards government and governance; therefore, you don’t want people to know how government officials are misleading their citizens, stealing public funds, and sacrificing the welfare of their citizens in their interests. Because of your ignorance of political science and social sciences, our government today is facing many challenges for economic growth and development. We are used as a proxy nation by our neighbours. Just to give you examples, when the Senegalese government was fighting the MFDC rebels in Casamance, Gambia was used as a proxy state to fight the rebels, which you narrow-minded cannot see, but in the name of a so-called MoU signed, compromising our security and peace. Because of ignorance in global politics, we always hear from the government trying to justify their lack of honesty in economic growth and development, associating it with the Russia and Ukraine war, which people like me understand as a conspiracy.

Students pursuing political science and social sciences feel rightfully indignant at such dismissive remarks. The Minister’s statement not only undermines the value of their academic pursuits but also overlooks the potential of these disciplines in addressing societal challenges, fostering good governance, and promoting social cohesion; therefore, we are urging him to apologise publicly, or else we will demand it for ourselves.

Abdoul Aziz Hikma Kah

 UTG

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