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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Why renew the SEMLEX contract?

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GoTG said they have renewed the contract with SEMLEX after SEMLEX went on ‘strike’ for a while and refused to process documents until a new deal is worked out.

Originally it was signed in 2016 but the Jammeh regime cancelled it shortly after signing. After lengthy negotiations, in June 2018 GoTG decided to go ahead and ‘restore’ the 2016 contract. It was said to last for 5-years, ending June 2023. That contract gives 70% of the total revenue generated from the project to SEMLEX and 30% to GoTG.

With the increased document fees for 2024, SEMLEX keeps 70% of those if the new deal uses the same payout scheme. For example, the Resident Permit A costs D5700 for 2024, up from D1850 during 2022 and D3000 during 2023. GoTG’s 30% cut doesn’t add much of a boost to GoTG much needed revenues, but it certainly boosts those of SEMLEX. 

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This agreement was claimed to be a ‘technology transfer’ type deal. Back in February 2018, The Point newspaper reported … “The purpose of this agreement, according to a media dispatch from the company of February 6th 2018, is to build, operate and transfer in favour of The Gambian government a technical infrastructure aiming at producing the necessary highly secured biometric documents for identification and authentication.”

The GoTG is to take ownership of the system at the end of the contract. In fact, that is what the 2016/2018 contract says, a copy of which can be found on the Internet.

So why the need to renew the contract with SEMLEX and gift them 70%? What’s even more puzzling, why was production of the SEMLEX biometric documents halted by SEMLEX in the first place when GoTG presumably now ‘owns’ the system? The Minister of the Interior has some explaining to do.

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Amet Ngallan


It’s December again: Guide on Semesters

Every December semesters of all kinds flood our little Gambia; our little country becomes even more colorful, and our pretentiousness goes up a notch. There is nothing more dangerous than the African that has mastered the ways of the “colonial masters.” Someone told me of a show they call “Semester Avenue” and if I was in Gambia, I would have volunteered to host this show for one day. My favorite semesters are the Baddibunka semesters! Oftentimes, besides how they do everything humanly possible to not look Baddibunka, you can always tell they are from Baddibu. Just listen to them talk but if you cannot tell, here are some guidelines!

American Baddibunka Semesters: If they live in the New York area, they say things like “Aye yo song, that’s Faburama ma nigga from Saaba song! Nuhmsaying… nigga lives with me on Garang Concoss… we horsul outta burodeway nuhmsaying! If they live in Jojjah, they call themselves Mustapha Clinton Trawalleh and it’s pronounced Moostafeh Clingting Thrawall!

If they’re from Seattle area like Ousman Ceesay, you’ll hear them saying: I living lake Victoria in Seaddle. I always buy my “kitchen” from Kadijadou’s “chicken.” I see Vankuba from my window, me, am used to water ma main (if you hear anyone bragging about being used to water, they are from Baddibu No-Kunda).

Germany Badibunka Semesters: They think they’re better than Spain Baddibu semesters. Especially the light-skinned ones. These poor Baddibunkas are often very uppity and secretive. Like all Baddibunkas, they either have an S in their name or they know someone who is Badibunka and has an S in their name. Ceesaynding can bear me witness. Because they think they’re better than the Spain Badibu semesters and England Baddibu semesters, they adopt a Baddibu American accent because they admire Badibu’s American semesters, especially the ones from farrafenni like Masanneh Bajinka.

Spain Baddibu Semesters: They all think Njundu is the most edumacated guy in The Gambia. They will sit there arguing …. Seee Njundu noshkeh … he is more educated than everybody that is why he is komsona. They love to carry the fake Gucci man-purses and wear skinny jeans that have long since faded with fake gold chains to boot. When they get angry, you hear them say caburong or pehdayho!

Italy Baddibu Semesters: They are often the loudest! And they are the ones that have no issues with harassment of any kind. They call at all times of the night and hardly ever sleep. They love selfies and marketing themselves on WhatsApp status and will never claim badibu because they claim to be from Latrikunda or Jeshwang or Bundung! The ones that think they are sophisticated claim Banjul. You see them with names like Sammy or Alex. Some go by Sabs and others go by Samson or Becks. They believe Mustapha K Darboe works for the government as a spy!

Then you have the Finglang Semesters of Su! They love their naming ceremonies! They have names like Sabs! Mariama becomes Marianne or Marriiii… They love cowboy hats and you’ll not hear of a naming ceremony where you’ll not find a semester from Finglang!

My other favorites are the Baddibunka semesters from Hinglang! I call them the Hinnits. There are few things Badibu Gambians love more than a Breetish accent! I heard it gets you a lot in Gambia. And Badsiders are perfecting their accent!

Lamboy Signateh: Yuggi wa yu gi hinnit (“You get what you get” is what he’s saying)

Kassamanding Jamba: ( she just returned from Hinglang after a one month visit and it was her first time visiting but she thinks she’s British already).

Afwe med fore: ( she’s asking Lamboy if they’ve met before).

Lamboy Signateh: Wangbi mi layd (do you want to be my lady)

Kassamanding Jamba: Doome look like your type? (Do I look like your type)

Lastly, if you hear of any fights in December in any nightclub, know that a Badibunka will be involved, and never expect Mustapha K Darboe to talk about corruption in Badibu! Every journalist has something they will never talk about!

You can thank me later!

Alagie Saidy-Barrow

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