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Battling with the ram saga

Sep 25, 2014, 10:16 AM

Tobaski is fast approaching. It is expected around the first week of October, and we are edgy not only about the general cost of goods and food items, but also about the cost of the ram that we need to slaughter to fulfill our religious duties to our creator Allah the Almighty.

Towards the Tobaski, ram is highly needed by almost all Muslims in The Gambia.

By this time, as in the previous years, rams would have rammed the streets of the Kombos, positioned at vantage points across town for sale, but there seems to be an inadequate supply of ram in town.

Many attribute this shortage to the fact that dealers could not afford to buy much of them from countries such as Senegal and Mauritania, where they are in abundance, due to the depreciation of the dalasi.

Also ram dealers do complain about the difficulties they encounter in trying to cross over to The Gambia via the ferry with their stock of rams.

They cite long queues and other checks, which cause them to spend long hours and nights at ferry crossing points, during which some of their rams would die before they reach their final destination. Some would have to use boats, which is unsafe and of high risk, to cross over.

All these factors and other teething problems faced by the dealers have given rise to the shooting up of the price of a ram exponentially, which is gravely affecting the ability of the majority of Muslims in this countryto afford a ram for the family to slaughter for Tobaski, known as Eid ul Adha.

Our reporter, who recently visited Abuko livestock market to gauge the opinion of livestock dealers on the issue, said ram prices this year range from 7,500 to D20,000.

This is too much for a family man, who has to meet many other needs and demands at home.

The majority of workers in this country hardly receive up to D5,000 as take-home pay.So it leaves us wondering where people could get the money to buy a ram for this Tobaski.

Another pressure point is that the Tobaski coincides with the re-opening of schools, and parents are grappling with the problem of buying books and paying school fees as their children go back to school.

The intervention of the government through the relevant ministries or authorities is highly essential to cushion the financial pressure and stress on our Muslim brothers and sisters who could not afford it.

We would also like to say that while as Muslims we are to observe our religious rites or obligations, we cannot also stress ourselves if the means are not there. Those who cannot afford a ram could go for goats. It is accepted.

For those who could afford it, we should be mindful of the fact that there are needy people among us to be assisted, with meat or money, so they too could have an enjoyable feast.

“We need not stress ourselves to get a ram. Allah knows what is inour hearts.”

The Point