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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The critical agenda in President Macky Sall’s visit: Ensuring the future of senegambia political and security arrangements


Dear editor,

President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal is scheduled to visit The Gambia on July 31, 2023. This visit holds significant importance for both nations as they share a complex history of political and security interactions. Senegal’s military intervention in 1981 foiled a coup attempt in The Gambia, leading to the establishment of the Senegambia Confederation in 1982. However, the confederation collapsed in 1989, straining the relationship between the two sister countries. Since then, both countries have made efforts to stabilize The Gambia, and President Macky Sall played a crucial role in ensuring a peaceful transition of power in 2016. Despite the positive developments, there are concerns about how President Sall’s impending departure in 2024 may impact the current political and security arrangements in our country. This issue must be a critical agenda for discussion during President Sall’s visit to secure the future of the Senegambia region.

Hence, the upcoming state visit of President Macky Sall holds immense significance for securing the future of Senegambia political and security arrangements. President Sall’s efforts in stabilizing The Gambia and his cordial relationship with President Barrow present an opportunity to address potential challenges that may arise after his departure in 2024. It is crucial for both leaders to come to an agreement that transcends any future government and ensures the necessary upkeep of security in the region. Failure to do so may have unfavorable consequences, given the complex history between the two sister countries.

Samsudeen Sarr

Has the UTG Governing Council unlawfully extended the Registrar’s term in office?

Dear editor,

The Governing Council (GC) is the supreme organ of the University of The Gambia (UTG) which is responsible for the formulation and reviewing of policies. It is also responsible for the overall guidance of the university. Given these functions, it is rather unfortunate that the Council seems to be micromanaged by the UTG management. In 2019, each council member was paid an allowance of not more than D3,000 per sitting. As of today, the Chairman of Council receives D12,000 while the Deputy Chair receives D10,000. The rest of the Council members receive D8,000 each per month, regardless whether there is a meeting or not. This is unfair and uncalled for especially in an institution where students usually sit on broken chairs and desks. As per section 17 subsection 1 of the 2016 Tertiary and Higher Education Act, “The Governing Council shall hold ordinary meetings at least once in every quarter, at such times and at such places as it may determine for the transaction of its business”. If this is the case, then why receiving such exorbitant amounts on monthly basis at the expense of the crawling and struggling university? Are they (GC members) on UTG’s monthly payroll? The answer is simply NO. The Council’s allowances should be paid as per sitting but not on monthly basis, otherwise it would be considered as salary.

Moreover, the current university Registrar, Dr. Momodou Lamin Tarro was appointed as the Registrar on the 1st of February, 2014 after acting for three to four years. He was required by the UTG’s Conditions of Service to serve for a fixed term of three consecutive years, renewable once. His second term in office expired in February 2020. Dr. Tarro continued to unlawfully served as the Registrar for another three consecutive years until April 2023, when the Vice Chancellor – Professor Herbert Robinson appointed him and Ousainou Corr – the Director of Finance through a Council resolution dated on 23rd March, 2023 as permanent pensionable staff. These positions as well as those of the Deans and Heads of Departments are rotational in most academic institutions around the world. According to Section 8.5 subsection 8.5.1 of the UTG’s Conditions of Service, “Appointments to the position of University Registrar and Director of Finance shall be for a fixed term with the possibility of renewal, but only once. Such posts shall be filled through advertisement, interview, and assessment,”. In early 2022, I petitioned the Governing Council over elapse of Registrar’s tenure but it was ignored by the current Council’s Chairman – Mr. Matthew P. Ndure. The story was published by the Standard newspaper on July 5th, 2022.

Since the circulated memorandum from the Vice Chancellor’s office about Council’s resolutions on the tenure of the Registrar and Director of Finance dated on 23rd March, 2023 was only signed by Prof. Herbert Robinson, has the UTG’s Governing Council unanimously extended the Registrar’s term in office or it was an unlawful arrangement by the Registrar, Finance Director, and the Vice Chancellor without the knowledge of Council? The public needs to know.

Dr. Alieu Gibba

Senior lecturer and former UTG staff president

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