May 27, 2020, 2:30 PM
The Gambia on Monday joined the rest of the continent in celebrating the Africa Liberation Day (ALD). May 25 annually is commemorated around the globe as Africa Liberation Day.
ECOWAS and the African Union should intervene now before it’s too late.
Mr. President, it is important that both authorities and citizenry of ECOWAS are mindful and very vigilant towards the jihadists who have based in Mali and Niger. They are well equipped and trained; the jihadists are fighting with both Malian and UN forces.
On the 8th October 2020, 200 of the jihadists detained in Mali were released together with the Malian opposition leader, Soumalia Cisse.
These jihadists, according to reports, masterminded attacks in Niger, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire and killed many people.
Now that they are free their movements should be monitored throughout the region.
They are also threatening to sabotage the elections in Cote d’Ivoire which is scheduled for 31st October 2020.
Mr. President, there is need for ministers in charge of security and top security officers to meet and develop a common strategic plan to be on the standby to tackle all these unrests.
Gambia is not an exception and your government should be fully on the alert and prepared as we are also going for elections in 2021.
Mr. President, it’s time for West African Presidents to take their constitutions serious and respect their term limits as stated in constitutions.
All Presidents should come together and fight against this unacceptable behaviour. Politics should not divide us and if care is not taken, there will be a lot of civil unrest and innocent people could lose their lives.
During these past days, we have witnessed the killings of many people in the region.
In Nigeria, protests against the riot police have claimed 69 lives according to President Buhari; in Guinea Conakry, before the final result was announced, 30 people were killed; in Cote d’Ivoire, during their campaign 16 people reportedly killed. For sure, after the results of 31st October elections, there will be unrest and some people will lose their lives for legitimately challenging the results.
Both Presidents of Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire forced themselves for third term which is not stated in their constitutions.
ECOWAS should introduce tough measures to its members so that they will adhere to the two term limit while voters’ lists is approved by members of the ruling party and the opposition.
Mr. President, it could be recalled that in 2014 in Ghana, it was only Gambia and Togo that rejected the two terms proposal but recently it seems most of these Presidents don’t want to adhere to the proposal again.
The political situation and the jihadists’ issues should be revisited and given the required urgent consideration; if not all West African states could be destablised.
Back home Mr. President, everybody is happy that schools are reopening and children are going back to school after a 7 month hiatus, but majority of parents cannot afford to pay school fees especially in some private schools.
The school fees and bills for this year are exorbitant and government should intervene; if not there will be lots of children staying home because they just can’t afford to pay.
Since March private teachers have not been paid and the reduction in the number of students per class is also affecting many schools; there are limited spaces for teachers to operate normally. Some schools are going for afternoon shifts whilst others are operating on alternative days of learning for some grades.
More intervention is needed in the education sector for proper and effective learning to take place.
Finally Mr. President, it’s long overdue to fill the ministerial portfolio of Trade, which has been vacant for more than three weeks now.
This ministry is playing a key role in the country in covering ECOWAS activities. It therefore shouldn't be left vacant for so long. There are competent people both male and female who can fill the post.
The Gambia, yesterday, joined the rest of the continent to commemorate the annual Day of the African Child. The Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the rights of the African child and recommit to bringing down the barriers to children’s rights.