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Saturday, September 23, 2023

Revealing government secrets


Dear editor,

While the rest of the world, particularly the United States is contending with the leak of politically explosive classified documents, I couldn’t help but wonder about just such a scenario in The Gambia.

These types of leaks are as painful to those in power as they are embarrassing. If you haven’t read American Embassy cables about Gambia and Gambians on Wikileaks, take the time to do so. You will see what others think of your senior government officials under the rapist and thief, Yahya Jammeh. If you have a keen eye for detail, you may also be able to suss out which ministers were pledging allegiance to Jammeh while carrying water for his sworn enemies. Go on Wikileaks and search for yourself!

I know there’s a classification system in The Gambia but as with most things here, what’s on paper is not exactly how we do things. While at the TRRC, we requested and laid hands on communications between Yahya Jammeh and his NIA and reading some of those memos can make you lose any hope you have for Gambia. The memos laid bare the spinelessness of various directors who ended all their memos with “Your Humble Servant.” Grown men and women calling themselves servants of a fellow man!

I also remember the expressed frustrations of Gambia government officials at the leak of certain “sensitive” documents. I particularly remember the terribly embarrassing, and poorly written operation plan that the Gambia police police drafted in response to a planned demonstration. I remember our very smart Gambia government officials saying they will be putting markers on documents in order to help them trace leakers. Such brilliant solution. Instead of seeking ways to safeguard information, they are focused on reacting to those who may leak information!

When a government operates in the dark like ours does. and makes transparency its enemy, or when corruption takes root in any government, secrecy becomes your best friend. Unfortunately, as the old saying goes, there is no honor among thieves. When it’s time to share the spoils, someone will always feel hard-done by and that someone will find a way to reveal the deals that took place in the dark.

Alagie Saidy-Barrow


Dear editor,

Nigerien authorities cut off electricity, water to French Embassy.

Military administration also takes similar action at French consulate in Zinder.

Niger’s military administration has cut off water and electricity to the French Embassy in the capital Niamey with no food deliveries allowed, multiple reports on social media said Sunday.

The country’s leadership has also taken similar action at the French consulate in Zinder, the reports said.

The president of the National Support Committee for the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country (CNSP), Elh Issa Hassoumi Boureima, has asked all partners of French bases in Niger to suspend all water and electricity supplies and food products, said the reports.

In addition, any partners who continue to help the French in the process of supplying the goods and services will be considered “enemies of the sovereign people,” the reports added.

The reports come after a two-day deadline given by the military administration to the French ambassador to leave the country expired Sunday.

Amid tensions that have risen in the weeks following the ouster of the West African nation’s democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, the administration’s Foreign Ministry gave Ambassador Sylvain Itte 48 hours to “leave Nigerien territory.”

Niger was plunged into turmoil on July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Bazoum.

France launched an operation earlier this month to evacuate its citizens as well as other nationals from Niger.

France’s policy on Niger is based on envoy’s commitment in face of pressure.

Nigerien authorities cut off electricity, water to French Embassy.

Samsudeen Sarr

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