GOOD MORNING MR PRESIDENT: Freedom of Expression should be promoted

Monday, February 05, 2018

Mr. President with the dispensation of new Gambia, We want to remind you that democracy, freedom of expression, press freedom and respect of rule of law should be promoted, protected, adhered and upheld by you and your government since your government want to be different from the former regime of dictator Jammeh.

Mr. President you were elected to be president with a difference especially in combating injustice, abuse of human rights, promote freedom of expression and democracy.

Mr. President the recent arrest, detention and release of Dr. Ismaila Ceesay, a Political Science lecturer at the University of The Gambia was not necessary. Dr. Ceesay is a political analyst and his interview with a local newspaper The Voice was more of an advice and a constructive criticism than sabotage to you and your government especially in this time when the country is going through some security challenges and lapses.

Mr. President, the Constitution of The Gambia guaranteed freedom of expression to everyone in the country. People should have the right to speak their minds, criticise when it’s necessary without hindrance. Sharing of divergent views should be promoted and protected. Gone are the days of arbitrary arrest and detention especially in areas of freedom and expression and human rights violations.

Mr. President, appointments into certain positions especially senior posts should be based on merits, credibility, qualifications, experiences, good character and do not have criminal records. Any person, you appoint should be well scrutinised and found fitting for that position.

If you appoint someone who is not delivering well in an area, you should be able to change the person to his or her area of speciality or relief that person from the post. There are very efficient and experienced personnel in the country who can help you salvage the country.

Mr. President, various ministries and departments should be left to handle issues concerning their areas. Departments like GIEPA should be left to deal with investors as they have experts in investment. The Ministry of Youths, and Sports should be able to tackle issues of youth and make policies in that area. Your government needs to reduce the appointment of people to some positions, which are seen as duplicates of existing posts or departments that can take care of those responsibilities.

The economy of the country is still limping and any mechanism that can help minimize unnecessary expenditures should be welcomed.

Finally Mr. President, we are appealing to your government to look into the hiking prices of basic commodities in the country, despite the fact that your government has reduced the importation tax of rice from 15% to 0% effective 2018.

We are now in February and the prices of rice still haven’t gone down in the retailing shops. A bag of rice is costing D1, 200 or D1, 075 in many shops.

Good day!