Monday, August 06, 2018

Mr. President, we would like to commend your government for paying condolence to the family of Aja  Fatou Asombi Bojang, the mother of ex-president, Yahya Jammeh.

The delegation led by the Vice President Ousainou Darboe and some Cabinet ministers visited the family to pay tribute to the family of the late Aja Asombi Bojang.

Mr. President, your government’s allowing of the remains of late Aja Asombi Bojang to be laid to rest in The Gambia, after leaving in exile in Equatorial Guinea with her son Yahya Jammeh since January 2017, shows your government’s openness and readiness to unify a politically divided nation. And also as Muslims, this is best way to act towards fellow human beings. May her soul rest in perfect peace. Ameen!

You have also showed Jammeh that, your government is different from his when he was in power. He refused the repatriation of the bodies of some prominent Gambians who died whilst leaving in exile.

People like Kukoi Samba Sanyang who was the coup leader of 1981 abortive coup, Bouba Baldeh who was a minister and Foday Makalo who was NCP member of Parliament in the First Republic were all refused burial in The Gambia.

But as the saying goes: “What goes around comes around” and if it wasn’t on humanitarian grounds, she wouldn’t have been allowed to be buried here.

One will say that “family is not only blood but also someone who is willing to give a helping hand where needed most”.

Mr. President, in a more serious note, during your meet with the People’s Tour, you said in one of your meetings that there were some Gambian journalists who were asking you money so that they would write positive things about you. Since you made the pronouncement of this statement, it didn’t go well with media industry in The Gambia because their integrity is at stake.

We agreed with our colleague Fatou Camara that you should clear the air and disclose the names of those journalists because journalism is a noble profession and it is very unethical for journalists to collect money from people for writing good things about them without any genuine reason. Journalists are here to educate and inform the public and not to compromise this noble profession.

Mr. President, since you didn’t intend disclosing names of those journalists, then why did you say it in the public?

Mr. President, when you assumed office, you promised good working relations between your government and the press so if there is any problem between you and the press, you should call the publishers and editors to solve things amicably.

This disclosure you made during the tour is not related to the needs of Gambians and it wasn’t the right place for you to talk about it as the purpose of the meet the People’s Tour was to know the problems of the people and to discuss your development plans.

Mr. President, we have witnessed in many African countries like Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon, Cote d’ Voire etc. where in governments assist private media by giving them annual subvention and reducing their taxes just to promote the press and strengthen their relationship with governments.

We expect your government to emulate such and promote good working relationship with the press.

The publisher of New York Times A.G. Sulzberger, once said, “any press attacks are dangerous and harmful.”

Finally, Mr. President, the 2018 Grade 12 results in The Gambia is catastrophic and a commission of inquiring should be set up as quickly as possible before schools resume to look into the courses of this miserable failure in the Grade 12 Examinations.

This commission, which should comprise of retired teachers and principals, should look into what went wrong, what need to be done, and how can it be done.

Mr. President, the welfare of teachers, learning materials like curriculums and syllabus, learning structures and facilities all should be revisit again.

This commission should make recommendations to government that will help to improve the education system of the country.

“Learning is better than Silver and Gold.”

Good day!