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On the 6th of July 2020 Mr Wilfried Adams will be doing a special coverage of the Malawi presidential inauguration of His Excellency Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera president of the republic of Malawi via the platform of Afrinity connect live with Adams
Lamin DF Manneh, a Brufut native living in the UK has indicted the Barrow administration of manipulating people’s properties like former president Yahya Jammeh used to do.
“Given the ‘professional’ background of the current head of state, it is not a surprise land thievery is now on steroids. A cadre of administrators is in great haste to accumulate as much wealth as possible, in as short a period as possible. This is resulting in a feast on Kombo lands – as they embark on ever-more creative ways to future-proof their ill-gotten wealth,” Manneh said in write-up shared with The Standard.
Manneh is in the forefront on the fight to recover several hectares of land allegedly secured by Taf Africa Global without due process in Brufut community ahead of the 2006 AU Summit in Banjul.
“…[T]he current administration displays unfettered materialism, lacks amoral compass, or a sense of care, duty, and responsibility is no longer in doubt. In effect, it is a recycle of the decaying remnants of Jammeh era personalities. Except for half-hearted attempts at cosmetic change, the core has remained intact. No surprises then that there is no difference in either essence or substance between the 2ndand 3rdRepublics [sic]. Thus, like its predecessor, this administration carefully uses a mendacious and cynical cost-benefit analysis on all its dealings with Gambians. This includes which communities to enrage with negligible political cost,” he claimed.
He said the proliferation rise in “estate developers”, the
Burgeoning of “estates”, and their enablement through “crooked administrators and misguided locals”, has bring forward a convergence of necessities for an all-out spanking on custodial lands.
The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in The Gambia threw their recommendations behind the country’s new draft constitution, saying it expresses the will of the Gambian people.
In a joint declaration, they called on President Adama Barrow to bring forward the draft constitution to lawmakers “unchanged”
“It is incumbent on the current government to take all urgent steps necessary to ensure that the draft Constitution is submitted unaltered to the National Assembly to respect the aspirations of the people,” said the activists in a statement read by John Charles Njie, the chairman of Tango, on behalf of civil society organisations in the country.
‘The Draft Constitution, which was submitted to President Adama Barrow on March 30 and made public a day later, is due to be published in the Gazette on May 30 and put before lawmakers in August before it is subject to a referendum.’
Its popular vote requires the support of 75% turnout of 50% of Gambian voters.
“Whilst not all opinions expressed in the consultative process have been incorporated in the final draft, the civil society believes that the CRC has managed to produce a draft constitution based on the views expressed by the majority of Gambians,” said Njie, chairman of Tango.
“The CRC also accommodated minority views in the interest of serving all citizens. The final draft constitution has appropriately taken on board very progressive provisions from different African Constitutions and has now obtained both local and international acclaim.”
Since the draft constitution was put forward, rumours were widespread that the Gambian leader, Adama Barrow does not support it.
Among the things Barrow is said to be against is that the draft counts his current term as part of the two terms he is permitted to serve as president.
His cabinet is also against the “too much powers” the draft has given the National Assembly and that they are also asking for it not to be mandatory for the president to be in parliament.
A current declaration by the European Union proposing its dedication to protect gay rights in The Gambia has instigated controversy and even critism from Gambians, among them are the political leaders.
The EU has been worried about the prohibition of same-sex marriage in The Gambia.
But last year, the Gambia government affirmedly stated in its submission to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group that it has no plans to allow same-sex marriage.
Reacting to the recent EU comments, the Gambia Moral Congress leader, Mai Ahmad Fatty said: “I am aware that respect for fundamental rights constitutes an essential element for EU-Gambia relations. However, our relationship with the EU is first and foremost a partnership. I believe this is an enduring equal partnership founded on respect for each other’s values, not the contrary. It means a mutual relationship in which The Gambia respects European values and Europe also respects Gambian values”. He added
The United Democratic Party spokesperson, Almamy Fanding Taal, said the mindset that cultural values and rights of the people are something that they need to import from the West is a total ignorance.
“I think the EU is just trying to spread values that are completely alien to Gambian ways of doing things. If you look at our criminal code, it was enacted by a colonial parliament in 1933 and it is in that Act that they made homosexuality or what they call ‘sex against the order of nature’, an offense. Of course, our criminal justice system is based on jurisprudence of the United Kingdom who were a colonial master to many countries in Asia and Africa. He explained.
Other parties also refuses to accept Gay marriage in the Gambia, as it is against their culture and insult to their way of life.
Rice growers at the Jahally-Pacharr rice fields, the famous cultivating centre for rice in The Gambia have make known their sadness over the new government’s absence of interest in addressing the difficulty of Gambian farmers.
‘Jahally-Pacharr is an agricultural rice cultivation project designed for communities in the Central River Region south famous for its tons of output in rice production during the days of the PPP government. Its production sharply dropped under former President Yahya Jammeh who took ownership of the rice fields and brought it to its knees.
But the farmers who said they thought the new government would take the farm seriously felt disappointed becoming unrealistic.’
Ansumana Fatty, aone of the farmers who walked into The Standard offices on Tuesday urges the government to, as a matter of urgency, ‘help them with running water and tractors.’
“We are calling on the government to help us as Gambia cannot continue to live in dreams forever. Enough is enough,” he added.
Fatty said farmers at the Jahal pacharr rice field will execute an enormous campaign against Barrow in the 2021 presidential election if his government fails to address their urgent needs.
“As I speak to you, we don’t even have water to cultivate our rice. We also badly need tractors because we spend D1000 to plough each hectare which is very expensive,” he added.
He said since ex_president Jammeh left office their problems have even triple.
“We are confident that Jahally-Pacharr alone can feed the entire country if the needed capacity is there, but unfortunately this government has done nothing towards addressing the constraints of farmers. We don’t even have water to cultivate our crops talk less of farming materials.”
He said had the government concentrated on one of the country’s largest rice field, “Gambia will soon stop importing rice”.
“We have also written to the Office of the President last February for the Gambian leader to swiftly come to our aid but to avail,” he said.
In line with Section 164 (1) of the 1997 Constitution, the National Assembly Make Known the appointment of Mr. Bakary Sanyang as the new Ombudsman.
Putting forward the report of the Public Appointment Standing Committee of the National Assembly, Kebba K Barrow the Chairperson of the Committee said in accordance with Section 164 (1) of the 1997 Constitution, the president is decreed to appoint to the office of Ombudsman in discussion with the public service commission (PSC), subject to corroboration by the National Assembly; that the motion for authentication of the appointment of Mr. Sanyang was tabled by the Vice President on Monday 6th April 2020; that Mr. Sanyang’s appointment by the President is the second nominee for the position of Ombudsman after the Assembly earlier declined the first nominee in December 2019.
Chairperson Barrow said therefore the provision under Section 164 (1) of the 1997 Constitution, curtailed the National Assembly from declining the second nominee for the office of Ombudsman ‘‘subject to the full compliance to the provisions of the Constitution”; that the motion tabled by the Vice President, make it known that the nominee was serving as a public officer as Governor of West Coast Region and that Section 164 (4) provides that a person shall not be qualified to hold the office of Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman, if he is a Member of the National Assembly, a Minister or holds another public office.
Chairperson Barrow said on the ground provision, the motion to confirm Mr. Bakary Sanyang as Ombudsman was taken to the Public Appointments Standing Committee of the National Assembly, as per Section 114, for scrutiny and advice; that Standing Order 114 (2) mandates the Committee to see to it and advise or report on all appointments to public office, to be made by the Executive subject to the corroboration by the National Assembly and any other matter therewith.
All People’s Party (APP) has called for the taken into custody and punishment of officials involved in corrupt misconduct at the Ministry of Health.
“At a time of national emergency on covid-19, when every Gambian life is at stake, is it not criminal when some officials of government are engaged in thievery. We believe that those dishonest officials need to be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Health Minister Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh recently give a sparse awareness into the country’s Health Ministry, citing a string of atrocities haopening due to the bad system take back by the current government.
In a feedback sent to this medium and signed by the party interim leader, Alhagie Gumbo Ali Touray said “The APP has been following proceedings of the National Assembly sessions on the extension of the State of Public Emergency on the covid-19 pandemic held on Friday, 15 May 2020.”
The release further added: “Our party is particularly disturbed by revelation of the Minister of Health Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, accusing his own government of rampant malpractices in the usage of public funds meant for the corona pandemic rather than addressing the problem.”
Looking at it in a broder angle, the party said, the revelation is ‘damming, shameful and degrading’ for a government. “It clearly shows the type of wrong leadership, unpatriotic government and how ignorant cronies are derailing Gambia’s road to development.”
The party said: “It is our firm belief that the APP will do things differently and we will never tolerate any abuse of public funds especially in times of a crisis. The APP applauds the minister for bravely coming out to inform Gambian people and we encourage other Gambians to follow this example in order for this nation to root out this scourge of corruption affecting the country.”
Marie Antoinette Corr-Jack, the Secretary General of the Gambia Teachers’ Union (GTU), has said that payment of teachers should be safeguarded.
Madam Corr-Jack made these disclos lately during a press release put forwaby the Union’s board.
“The salaries, terms and conditions of teachers and education support personnel at all levels should be protected at all times during and after the covid-19 crisis”, said the union, which added that teachers must be rewarded as usual during closure periods.
*The union further called on government to ensure the provision of psychosocial support, including counseling services offered to all affected students, teachers and education support personnel in order to ensure their well-being as the trauma associated with Covid-19 can be devastating to students and educators who lost loved ones.*
The union went on to appeal government to assist private schools badly hit by the pandemic, saying they are at the apex of total collapse without government’s support or bail out.
Additionally, the union call out to the ministries of health and education come together to build and communicate well-defined time line to the resuming of schools.
*It said as a union there are lots of things they are doing in collaboration with the Ministry of Education which they hope will bear positive fruits soon enough.
It also called on education authorities to ensure regular and timely information and updates to all employees in the sector aiming to minimize uncertainty and related stress and anxiety.*
A UNESCO findings have shown a disastrous impact of over 1.5 billion students being affected due to school closures in 165 countries as of March 26th 2020.
This is not less than 87% of all registered students, over 63 million teachers with a giant number of education support personnel also being highly-flown by the pandemic.
Stating these unusual developments, and as such the union said the virus has become an educational catastrophe.
Former Gambian health minister, Omar Sey has insistently contradicted Minister Dr Ahmadou Samateh’s allegations that funds that were meant to fight Ebola were mismanaged.
*Minister Samateh told lawmakers last Saturday during the debate on the extension of state of emergency that the Ebola funds were wasted and equipment which were said to be procured never reached the country.*
But Sey, who was the minister of health during the outbreak of the Ebola crisis, denied this: “The money never came to the ministry of health. It was all handled at the level of the UNDP and the procurement process was also done by the UNDP.We were just handed the materials and everything”.
Sey explained that, when the Ebola escalation was reported in the sub-region, the government put up an Ebola response task force but no money was taken from government because this was around end of year.
“We worked with the UNDP and there was a donor conference in Dakar which I attended with the finance minister and presented our plan. The plan attracted lot of interests from the UN and CSOs who really wanted to help,” he said.
He said the plan was then taken to the UN South-South Cooperation platform and the Japanese government decided to fund some of the activities.
“And all those funds came through the UNDP as the middle body responsible to build point of entries in the border villages, procurement of motor bicycles, ambulances, pickup trucks and some equipment including the ones at the airport”, Sey said.
“So based on the activity plan, funds are released from the WHO account at Standard Chartered Bank to the ministry of health account at the Standard Chartered in the name of the PS ministry of health. The PS will make a request and sign the cheque and give it to the subcommittee to go and implement their activities,” he explained.