#Editorial

Good Morning Mr. President: No complacency over COVID-19

Jul 6, 2020, 11:37 AM

Mr. President, it is very sad that the Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the Gambia when countries are relaxing on the control measures and lockdowns. 

The number of Covid-19 since June has been increasing on a daily basis and The Gambia has now registered 57 cases with two deaths. Out of the total number of recorded cases, 84% were imported; 28 active cases and 5 probable cases, 464 under quarantine at the time of writing this piece, medical sources said.

Mr. President, the situation is alarming and Gambians should not downplay this killer disease. 

More campaigns of awareness should be done, and people should continue to respect the WHO rules by using face masks, sanitisers and observing social distance in all public places.

Declaring a state of emergency without your government making sure that these measures are taken by force to avoid getting community transmissions could lead to a worst situation.

Mr. President, if cases continue to increase on a daily basis, then the government should start considering home quarantine, as nobody can predict how long the pandemic will last.

Most of Gambia's cases are imported which means more work needs to be done with the land and air borders.

Mr. President, the directives given by ECOWAS for all borders to be opened by 31 July 2020 needs to be looked into and proper measures put in place to avoid putting the lives of Gambians at risk.

People travelling without urgent reasons should be sent back as many movements will be expected especially during the festivity days of ‘tobaski’. 

This will help the government in the spending of money on quarantine only; which is not sustainable and further prevent community transmissions. The media which is on the forefront should be assisted financially without delay.

Mr. President, we commend the TRRC for the reconciliation organised between prison officers and victims. It was a very good and appreciative move and hope more will follow. It's important that once the truth is obtained then reconciliation follows.

Mr. President, it's also important and timely for your government to look into the prison conditions of both inmates and officers. 

Not much has been done in the prisons since your government took over power; not forgetting that you promised to rehabilitate that place once in office. 

Mr. President, one important way to reform the prisons will be to put the Department of Prisons under the purview of the Ministry of Justice; as it is done in many countries in the West, Asia and in Africa. This will help the courts to be able to work directly with the prisons and have direct access to the inmates.

The Ministry of Interior should also engage the Chief Justice to move the court to Mile 2 so that the bulk of cases still waiting for trial at the remand wing can be reviewed.

Mr. President, the Ministry of Justice should equally introduce the electronic bracelet for some cases to avoid sending people to prison. The prisons department should also work with the nutrition agencies for advice on the types of diets the inmates need to eat to avoid uncalled for diseases. 

Finally Mr. President, Madi Jobarteh, a human right activist and Country Director of Westminster Foundation was charged last week for false publication and broadcasting, a charge that attracts a fine of D250,000 or two years imprisonment or both according to the law.

We appeal to your kind office and for the sake of national reconciliation to please drop the charges. 

As a leader, you must be ready to face critics as we are in New Gambia where freedom of expression without abusive languages should always be welcomed. Your government should abolish the draconian media laws to promote democracy and rule of law and good governance. 

Always remember that The Gambia is signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human and Peoples’ Rights which guarantees the right to freedom of expression amongst other things.

Good day!

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