Good Morning Mr. President: Shortage of rams, unpaid money to the victims

Jun 27, 2022, 11:22 AM

Mr. President, it's now two weeks short of Eid-ul  Adha (Tobaski) and one of the issues that currently affect many Muslims is the shortage of rams in our market compared to the previous years.

This could be attributed to the border closure between Mali and its neighbours as many of the rams come from Mali and Mauritania. The depreciation of the Dalasi against the CFA and other foreign countries is also another factor causing this shortage. Therefore,  it’s important that your government, especially the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) municipalities and area councils, the Gambia Ferries Service work closely with the livestock association in ensuring that businessmen and women who bring cattle into the country do not encounter difficulties. This would help in ensuring that we have enough rams in the country and at an affordable price. The government can also subside the feeding of livestock like Senegal is doing currently.

Mr. President, The Gambia Police Force (GPF) and the country’s Transport Union and the National Road Authority including other key stakeholders need to work closely as preparation for the Tobaski is in high gear. As usual, many people will be heading to the provinces with a view to spending Tobaski with their families, hence it’s important that these stakeholders work together to minimise road accidents.

 The spate of accidents especially on the Trans-Gambia highway is alarming. Therefore, if possible, the police should increase their presence on the main highways. Drivers who are found overspeeding and driving recklessly should be arrested and taken to court. The traffic jam is a malaise to the country especially Banjul and environs; Mobile Traffic should double their efforts daily to work to ease the problem.

We can’t as a country continue losing our people due to reckless driving and its related activities. Vehicles which are not road worthy should not be allowed to ply our roads.    

The police should also patrol and be vigilant as this is the time thieves operate and are a nuisance in the communities.

Mr. President, the other issue for your government is to prioritise the payment to victims of the Jammeh  regime is their reparations. Your government promised to pay the victims D150 million. However, since the first payment of the D50 million to the victims last year, nothing more followed.

The Attorney and Minister of Justice made it clear last week at the national assembly that "there are no resources  to implement TRRC recommendations this year." The government should engage the international community for both financial and technical assistance to meet the challenges and pay compensations to the victims and implement TRRC recommendations.

No one needs to remind you that these are people who encountered a lot of difficulties during the former regime of Yahya Jammeh. Again, most of them still have some health issues; rent and education bills et; therefore compensating them would help them get the much needed medical attention and attend to other pressing needs. If indeed the government does not have the resources to pay them the money, then it’s important that some of the assets belonging to the former president be sold and the proceeds given to the victims.

The ex-president had several cattle, vehicles, 300 properties, some of them already sold, others remaining including four aircrafts. The government should give an inventory of Jammeh's assets sold, how much money collected and spent on what. 

Mr. President, your government should tackle the issue of the property formerly occupied by the Police Anti-Crime Unit of the GPF. The court has ruled in favour of Global Homm Mission as the rightful owner of the property. Therefore, it’s unfortunate and illegal that personnel of the Police Intervention Unit who are stationed at the premises bar Neneh Freda Gomez, the country coordinator of the Mission from legally entering this building per the ruling of the High Court. 

Mr. President, the judgment of the court needs to be respected even if it does not favour government. If your government is not satisfied with the court ruling, there are legal steps to take for remedy than continuing to trample on Neneh’s fundamental rights as we no more live a jungle life where the strongest call the shots. No one needs to remind you that one of your campaign promises in 2016 was to ensure that the country’s courts are independent.

The courts are independent, thus their judgments need to be respected and your government needs to do everything possible in ensuring that their rulings are adhered to.

The government should also intervene in the land dispute at Kukujang Mariama between the Christian Community and the villagers.

Since it's a holy place, an amicable solution should be found.

Finally Mr. President, we commend you for appointing a new minister of Communication and Digital Economy: Ousman Bah, who has vast experience in technology and a rich profile. He should therefore start work in earnest. The country’s Mobile Traffic is really on the high side if not among the most expensive within the sub-region.

The internet service needs to be reliable and affordable.

Gamtel/Gamcel should be rescued to regain their glories in the market by inviting investors to buy shares to enable them to be well equipped to get a better network.