December polls: Faal outlines 22 key priorities if he wins

Aug 30, 2021, 12:25 PM | Article By: Momodou Jawo

Ahead of the crucial December 4th presidential election, with about 18 existing political parties and independent candidates contesting for the presidency, former lead counsel to the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC), Essa Mbaye Faal, has also joined the country’s political arena, with the unveiling of his candidacy on Friday 27 August at the American International University, Kanifing Municipality.

Mr. Faal, didn’t present his manifesto during his unveiling, however, he outlined 22 key priorities his government will focus on if he is elected into office. The former TRRC lead Counsel will be contesting in the forthcoming election as an independent candidate. He, however, says he is open to coalition with existing political parties if those parties and policies match that of his.

While unveiling his candidacy, at a forum attended by his supporters and relatives, including some activists, Faal outlined key priorities for his government if he wins the December 4th election. Key among them is to bring about unity and reconciliation among the Gambian people.

He equally wants his administration to assess and take full and proper accounting and control of the natural resources of the country which are now “at the mercy of exploiters and embroiled unfavourable international contracts” and fighting corruption among others.

The former TRRC lead counsel also dismissed suggestions from certain segments of the society suggesting that he (Faal) should have waited until the TRRC submitted its report and recommendation before contesting, saying: “My work as lead counsel has finished since. In fact, I was even helping the commission in preparing its final reports. I did a remarkable job and the commissioners have thanked me and prayed for, thus now is the time to contest.”

Speaking at the forum, he said: “This is a very important journey not because of me, but for the state of this country. Our beloved Gambia is at a serious cross-road. The country is regressing and our people are suffering. The cost of living is skyrocketing and there’s no effective mechanism put in place with a view to prevent unreasonable price hikes.”

Salaries, he went on, are exceedingly low because they are unregulated and there’s no minimum wage. “The average salary is far outstripped by the cost of living. In effect, workers are not generally afforded a decent standard of living. In fact, a lot of them are deprived of dignity.”

“The law wages and poor conditions of employment, corruption has been rampant in the country. Recently, people have seen the report that was produced about corruption in the country and that there’s more corruption now than there was six years ago.”

“With this, everyday people continue to die in the hospital because of lack of basic facilities. The health care situation in this country is a death trap.” “People are dying because there are no gloves. People are dying because there are no rudimentary facilities to carry out basic procedures to help them," he posited, while claiming that “today a lot of Gambians make the journey to Senegal for mere medical service.”

His government, Faal added: “Will also provide the right and high standard of education for schools and an army of teachers with better pay to provide quality education especially in maths, sciences and technical subjects. We will also establish a computer lab in every high school in the country and to provide information technology education for children.”

His government, he claimed, will also introduce veritable, reliable and stable 4G broadband internet networks in all towns and cities. “We will introduce minimum wages that ensure their prosperity and make it possible for people to save, lift up the middle class and control runaway costs, reduce corruption significantly to create an investor friendly environment.”

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