Oct 22, 2015, 9:06 AM
would like to wish our President, his government and the Gambian people a happy
and peaceful anniversary, as The Gambia celebrates the 22nd Anniversary of the
July 22nd Revolution.
As we celebrate this august occasion, we would also like to extend our focus on the developments registered by the government over the years, as well as its challenges to overcome.
It is gratifying to note that the Jammeh government has registered tremendous development in sectors such as health, agriculture, roads, security, education and human resource development such as the empowerment of women and youths.
On 23 November 2015, the President banned FGM in the country. On 10 December 2015, the country was declared Islamic State and on 6 July 2016, child marriage was also banned in The Gambia.
Having highlighted some of the developments registered so far by the government, we would like to draw the attention of the authorities to some other aspects of great concern to the Gambian people.
Firstly, it would be prudent that robust improvement be made on the electricity and water situation of the country. The epileptic showing of electricity and power supply across the country, especially in the Greater Banjul area, is still adversely affecting the development aspirations of the government and this nation.
Sport also needs to be improved upon, with the necessary financial boost and encouragement for the good of the nation, as well as roads such as those in the capital city and environs. They are all of great necessity to national and human development in this country.
The telecommunications networks, internet facilities especially, should be improved upon with its charges and tariffs reduced as its need is increasing daily in this world of technology.
Talking about human rights issues, there is still a concerned over people being detained for more than 72 hours, without being charged and or released.
Currently, according to informed sources, there are several people who have been detained or remanded for long time. This should not be the case in a democratic dispensation.
The judiciary should also be given all the necessary encouragement and support to do their job fairly without hindrance.
On press freedom, we would like the government to consider the press or media as partners in development, not enemies. There should be a constant dialogue between the press and the government.
Government should facilitate access to pertinent information of national interest, so as to foster better relations between the media and the state authorities, as well as between the government and general public. This will spur national development.
Furthermore, the government should also promote or encourage the expression of divergent views in the state media as freedom of expression is vital in our society.
All draconian media laws should be abolished, so as to foster and promote ethical and professional journalism in the country.
Our call also goes to the municipalities for them to maintain a clean and hygienic environment across the country, by ensuring that all waste or garage deposited around our environment and the markets is regularly collected for onward disposal at the designated places or locations. The bi-monthly ‘set setal’ can be done by allowing business to go on.
For the transport sector, Government should enhance the Gambia Transport Service Company and more buses deployed to help passengers travelling the Banjul-Brikama and Banjul-Tabokotu routes.
The people, especially civil servants and students, find it very difficult to get vehicles to take them to workplaces and schools in the morning on time.
More ferries are also needed in Banjul, Barra and Yellitenda terminals for the ferry crossing. There is also need for more companies to invest in air transport to improve and provide more airlines to cover the sub-region.
In the diplomatic field, The Gambia should always engage in dialogue with the international community, especially with our neighbours and promote south-south
Countries like China should be encouraged to invest more in The Gambia in sectors such as health, education and agriculture.
This year is year of elections. Presidential election is scheduled for December 1, 2016. In the past years and previous elections, political parties were given 10 days to campaign and 5 minutes airtime on the state TV. We appeal to the IEC to at least increase the campaign period from 10 days to 3 weeks and airtime on the state TV to at least 30 minutes.
These and many other pertinent development aspects of our nation must be taken into consideration, and addressed properly.
Notwithstanding, we also call on the people to be law-abiding and respect authorities or the powers that be.
We seize this occasion of the celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the July 22nd Revolution to appeal to the President to grant amnesty to all those who have offended him in one way or the other and pardon all political detainees. As Muslims and Christians, we should forgive and forget.
We pray for the peace, tranquillity and prosperity of our beloved nation, as well as appeal for national unity and reconciliation.
“An anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity. The order varies for any given year.”