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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Tangara should resign


Dear editor,

I am deeply disappointed by the recent statement made by The Gambia’s foreign minister regarding the expulsion of four diplomats from the USA. The minister claimed that this action would have no impact on the relationship between The Gambia and the USA, which I believe is not the case.

The expulsion of these diplomats was due to their involvement in illegal activities, and it is essential for any serious government to take appropriate action against such behavior. It appears that the minister, Mamadou Tangara, has appointed individuals based on their NPP membership rather than their qualifications, leading to diplomatic issues.

It is disheartening to witness the state of affairs in The Gambia under the leadership of the current foreign affairs minister.

The minister’s responses raise questions about his qualifications and his sincerity towards the Gambian population. In light of these, I believe it is crucial for the minister to step down from his position and allow someone more competent and honest to serve the nation.

Lamin Samateh


Corruption is a crime against humanity. Food for thought?

Dear editor,

Corruption is indeed a conspicuous phenomenon that has generated a heightened awareness of its pervading and debilitating effects on nations and across societies especially in developing countries. Very often it has been treated as ethical.  As a result, its occurrence has been closely associated with a shrinking moral behavior and diminished levels of trust. Its standard definition includes a dishonest and fraudulent behavior.  By implication, and from such a point of view, corruption is seen as an act with a moral undertone and that it may be eliminated or at least greatly reduced, when moral standards are enhanced.

However, corruption should be seen in a wider context in relation to how it affects the livelihoods of people, its effect on the behavior of the State in respecting and protecting the rights of its citizens and in terms of the opportunity cost to the rights of citizens to an aspired and improved standard of living.  It is in this context that corruption is relevant to national development in a tangible manner and thus, having its impact on human rights.

Human rights are an internationally recognized concept.  The UN is known to be spearheading its protection under the auspices of its various agencies.  The Declaration of Human Rights document enumerates thirty such rights.  The most relevant of these rights under consideration are Articles 25 and 26 which state the rights to a descent standard of living and education.  These are indeed the rights of every society to economic development which by extension is the foundation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Systemic corruption, in its common form of bribery and embezzlement, no doubt retards economic development. Access to food, health care, education, clean water and sanitation, electricity and other social services are essential features of a good living condition and economic development. Corruption severely limits access to these services, induces an inefficient use and diversion of resources and negatively impacts the fundamental rights of citizens.  It undermines the mobilization of the needed resources for national development.  Systemic corrupt governments become debt strapped and lack credibility to attract grants and/or concessionary loans. It is recorded that corruption costs developing countries US$1.6 trillion every year.

Corruption weakens and compromises the system of governance in general and the democratic institutions in particular.   It can erode the independence of the judiciary and compromise the transparency of the electoral process.  It encourages the indolent enforcement of laws and can lead a skewed dispensation of justice and a blatant cheating of voters of their choice of leadership. 

General examples can be found in the failure to curb environmental abuses, such as water pollution from the operation of factories, uncontrolled sand mining posing a danger to coastal communities, containing crime and drug abuse, poor quality infrastructure and so forth.  It can also engender a massive public show of discontent and resentment.

Such demonstrations can attract serious repressive measures, the weaponisation of law enforcement institutions, curtailment of individual and collective freedoms and the suppression of the media and freedom of expression.  All these can culminate into the emergence of a dictatorship in order to protect the status quo. With such a domino effect, corruption in all its forms has an overarching effect on the lives and rights of a people.

Lamino Lang Comma

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