Monday, 29 January 2018

African Leaders Unite in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Union.

The theme for this year’s Summit is ‘Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation’. This theme presents a unique opportunity to reflect on an address specific challenges related to the fight against corruption on the continent. The AU summit deliberate on a number of issues, including institutional reforms of the African Union, continental free trade and the state of peace and security on the African continent.” including the consideration of the report of the Executive Council, the Annual report of the Chairperson of the Commission for the period January to December 2017 and the report on the implementation of the Assembly Declarations including that on the Solemn Commitment on the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM).

The PRC meeting was the first statutory meeting of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the AU, which was held from 22nd - 29th January 2018. The PRC meeting prepared the agenda of the AU Summit with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Executive Council, which took place from 25th to 26th January 2018. The meeting brought together all the Ambassadors of the 55 African Union Member States based in Addis Ababa and other key AU officials.

In his opening remarks, the African Union Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat told the delegates that this year’s summit will deliberate on mechanisms for combating corruption, as a means of transforming Africa. He further more highlighted on the efforts that are being taken by African states to fully finance the African Union as agreed in 2015, in addition to implementation of the Single African Sky.

According to a 2016 Corruption Watch report indicated that the most prevalent types of corruption reported in the continent over the past few years center on abuse of power, followed by bribery and then procurement corruption.

Within the framework of the 30th AU Summit, H.E Dr. Abou -Zeid Amani, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, on Friday 26 January 2018, hold a press conference on the following issues launch of the Single African Air Transport Market, Status update on DotAfrica, Update on the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), Update on the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), Operationalization of the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) and the Regional Geothermal Programme and Update on E-Governance.

In another development the Single African Air Transport (‘’SAATM’’) which was launch is one of the Flagship Projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063. It will ensure that aviation plays a major role in connecting Africa in order to achieve social, economic and political integration and boost intra- Africa trade.  Travel and tourism is vital to the globalized economy. Aviation is a vital tool for development globally and has the potential to greatly transform and improve economic and social benefits across Africa.

On her part Amira Elfadil Mohammed, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs said the free movement of people will help reduce dangerous migration trends, mainly to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. As the free movement of people will offer potential overseas migrants, particularly those taking dangerous routes, new options and thus help their pursuit for better life and employment across Africa.

She furthermore highlighted that nothing more than 80 percent of African migrants commit intra-Africa migration, she lamented that easing visa restrictions within the continent has the potential to further reduce the current 20 percent of migration to Europe and other parts of the world mainly via dangerous routes.

Commending the achievements of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the free movement of people, she also called on other African regions to take lessons from ECOWAS and create an integrated continent.

African leaders also committed to eliminating malaria by 2030, as articulated in the Continental development Agenda 2063. Malaria, a treatable and preventable disease, already costs the African continent’s economy US$ 12 billion per year in direct losses, and 1.3% of lost annual GDP growth, an earlier report by the RBM Partnership, Action and Investment to defeat Malaria, has shown.

According to the World Malaria Report 2017, progress across Africa has been uneven, putting at risk the tremendous progress to-date and African leaders’ collective ambition to end the disease. While some African countries have seen a greater than 20% increase in malaria cases and deaths since 2016, others are showing that beating malaria is possible.

Participants also heard that high-burden countries such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which account for 27% and 10% of the global malaria cases, respectively, also face significant gaps in financing their malaria efforts over the next three years. Nigeria faces a financial gap of US$ 1.4 billion, equivalent to 68% of the country’s needs, whereas DRC requires an additional US$ 536 million to fully implement its national malaria strategic plan. Alternatively, several African countries that have stepped up their efforts, such as Senegal and Madagascar, have achieved a greater than 20% decrease in malaria cases in 2016, according to the World Malaria Report 2017.

In June 2014, African Union Heads of State and Government adopted the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for shared Prosperity and improved Livelihoods. Among other commitments of the Declaration, the Assembly specifically committed to mutual accountability for results and actions by conducting a biennial review that involves tracking, monitoring and reporting on the implementation progress in achieving the provisions of the Malabo Declaration. The inaugural report and the Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard, tracking progress of the implementation of the Malabo Declaration, was presented to the Assembly. The Biennial Report and Africa Agriculture Transformation Scorecard comprise individual country performance scores on progress made for implementing goals set in the Malabo commitments.

The growing terrorism threat in Africa is a shared responsibility, requires the intensification of our efforts in a coordinated global approach. The transnational nature of terrorism knows no borders + no single state can fight it alone. Said Moussa Fakki Mahamat, the AU Chair.

H.E Paul Kagame in his inaugural speech in front of his peers as the new President of the Union for the next year. He is also supervising the AU Reforms on behalf of the Union. His personal commitment to this trans formative agenda for the Continent remains key in making Africa great.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Tribute to Sir Femi Peters, The Gambia's Malcom X.

The ability to feel sympathy for each other is one of the most beautiful traits that we possess as human being. The human condition is one of fundamental isolation. When we reach out and share our sympathies with another human being in pain, we are offering a great benevolence to the individual in pain.

I have no words to express how deeply sorry I am to hear about the demise of one of the founding fathers of Gambia’s democracy. I'm in shock to here this news from a friend. While the loss of a loved one is never easy, even when anticipated, it is most certainly the hardest when they are taken from us too soon at a time when needed.

I offer my sincere condolence and deepest sympathy to the United Democratic Party. May the outpouring of sympathy, the kind acts of friends and strangers and the comfort in knowing that your loss is felt by many, help the Party in this difficult moment.

I acknowledge the fact that Femi was a fighter who want to see that one day The Gambia would be the last place of hope on earth. He was arrested during the Jammeh’s regime but that doesn’t stop him from speaking for the voice less beyond any political dimension. As a result of his effort that today we are enjoying the “right of freedom of speech and expression” and “right of academic freedom”, which are expressly guaranteed by section 25 (1) (A) and section 25(1) (B) respectively, of The Gambia’s 1997 Constitution.

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. (Leonardo da Vinci).

You will always be remembered Sir for your selfless effort in making the Gambia great. And I wish the Barrow lead Administration could build a statue in recognition your service to the nation.

Socrates once said that to fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise, for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them, but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?

The sorrow of the faithful is not that of permanent loss, but the tender sense of sadness that comes in saying good-bye for now to someone we love. May today's sorrow give way to the peace and comfort of God's love. Till we meet again.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Political Activist

Cc: The Secretary General United Democratic Party

Friday, 12 January 2018

Open Letter To The Inspector General Of Police, Landing Kinteh. (Part.3)

Please be reminded that The Gambia Police Force is the primary law enforcement agency in The Gambia. Under the Ministry of the Interior, the force is headed by an Inspector General of Police. The first police force in The Gambia was the Gambia River Police, formed in 1855. Prior to this, security in the small colonial enclaves was provided by British troops and a small local militia, drawn from traders, freed slaves, and other settlers. The River Police's role was to control smuggling, enforce taxation, and prevent insurgencies. Its 10 men were aided by the local militia, and were further reinforced in 1866 by the establishment of the paramilitary Gambia Constabulary. Initially formed with 40 constables, this was increased to 100 in 1870. At this point, all imperial troops were withdrawn from the colony and policing was left to the Constabulary and local militia.

A Frontier Police force was founded in 1895. The establishment of the West African Frontier Force in 1900 led to the creation of the Gambia Company in 1901, which also aided in maintaining the colony's security. In the Protectorate, security was the responsibility of the district chief. In 1909, the British issued an ordinance granting the chiefs to appoint 'badge messengers', who were allowed to keep the peace and had all the same authority of the colony police. Francis has noted how "Although Gambians staffed the lower level of the force, to the local population, the police and security services, limited as they were, represented an essentially foreign presence."

At independence in 1965, the Constabulary and Frontier Police merged to create the Gambia Police Force. Following the Gambia Regiment being disbanded in 1958, the police took on all defence responsibilities. A 200-man paramilitary force, the Gambia Field Force, which was part of the police after 1958, maintained responsibility for internal security (Wikipedia).

It is in that note I write to draw your kind attention to numerous lawless activities going on in The Gambia that we dream will one day be the last place of hope on earth. Hardly a day goes when an incident connected with theft, rubbery, rape or snatching won’t take place.

Of recent I learnt with dismay, disillusionment, disenchantment, discontent and disappointment when I saw a video footage of the “Busumbala Youth” lighting fire on the road chanting slogans which are threatening to our newly born democracy.  

Please be informed that Police officers play a central role in the law enforcement system. They monitor criminal activity, take part in community patrols, respond to emergency calls, make arrests, interviewing suspected criminals, taking statements, writing crime reports, dealing with paperwork, gathering prosecution evidence, giving evidence in court, fostering good relationships with the public, patrolling areas by foot and car, investigate crimes and testify in court as needed.
I submit to you that Political difference is often a major cause of crime in The Gambia. It is seen that many used the image of the political parties to do their own mafias, undemocratic and unethical things to subjugate the people. Political power is often misused to take advantage of weaker groups and people and the dissidence that rises out of such situations often force the victims to resort to crimes. Politics is more related to crime on a much larger and a much heinous level than anything else.

As we are in a democracy state but not in a dictatorship or a military regime, the police are democratically and constitutionally conferred with the powers to protect the citizens of The Gambia. You as the head of the Gambia Police Force is to guarantee the safety and protection of the President in particular Gambians and their properties in general as far beyond all human imagination.

If one is not safe inside and outside of his/her home due to the fear of being rape and attacked by thieves, mafias and armed robbers, how will they have confidence in your leadership for doing a brilliant job? Is it not a popular saying among some Gambians that if you are hungry, starving but feel safe and are peaceful, you are much happier?

The rate at which crime is increasing is quite alarming. Theft and rapes seem to have be­come the order of the day. It is quite baffling that in spite of the security measures taken up by the government. There appears to be no respite. What is more shocking is the fact that these crimes are being committed in broad daylights, particularly robbery. Moreover the dowry deaths which seemed to have come down a year back, has again shown an upward trend.

Peace is very important that need to be embraced by all and sundry without peace we cannot achieve our desire aims and objective. In the Qur'an, it is recommended to cease disagreements by peace and not to commence further disputes, fights, confusion, and discord; in addition, people are asked to take a balanced approach and seek justice (Qur'an, 8:1; 49:9–10).

The real trick to good governance is to place the needs of the masses above everything else; to lead not just with words but with action. Actions define priorities. It’s the only way your administration can successfully bring us the long sought dividend of peace.

Registering grievance through conflict, inconsistency and violence will not solve an issue therefore all hands should be on desk despite of our political differences and ideology. Policies should be re-written to ensure that all criminals and offenders despite of their political affiliation, tribe, religion and position should be treated equally in front of the laws of the land in order to make The Gambia great.

To be continued….

Saidina Alieu Jarjou


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Is Mai Fatty’s GMC a Ghost Or A Real Political Party?

A political party is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.

Parties tend to be deeply and durably entrenched in specific substructures of society in a sustainable and well-functioning democracy. They can link the governmental institutions to the elements of the civil society in a free and fair society and are regarded as necessary for the functioning of any modern democratic political system.

The Gambia Moral Congress (GMC) was founded by Mai Ahmad Fatty in 2009.The motto of the party is People Power for Human Rights and Economic Justice. The GMC was part of the Coalition 2016 presidential election, where Adama Barrow was declared the coalition's candidate and subsequently won. Mai Fatty served as the Interior Minister for nine months before being consumed by the law on a Friday.

The last time I checked a political party is a group of people who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests.

While there is some international commonality in the way political parties are recognized, and in how they operate, there are often many differences, and some are significant. Many political parties have an ideological core, but some do not, and many represent ideologies very different from their ideology at the time the party was founded.

The question one might be quick to ask will be is GMC a political Party? Or a party made up in thin air during the night where everyone is highly intoxicated? If so then the leadership of the said party need to make a hay while the sun shine as it is not the way its aims will be achieved.

The party don’t have representative in the parliament and at the council level. Such representative are so important because they are so close to the voter. The Member of Parliament and the councilors are responsible for motivating the electorate to vote for an entire slate of candidates, from the councillorship, parliamentary board all the way up to the Presidential. It is involved in all aspects of campaigning, from fundraising to getting out the vote. In order to build a strong national political party.

Political parties are often described as institutionalized mediators between civil society and those who decide and implement decisions. As such, they enable their members’ and supporters’ demands to be addressed in parliament and in government. Even though parties fulfil many vital roles and perform several functions in a democratic society, the nomination and presentation of candidates in the electoral campaign is the most visible function to the electorate.

It is believed that if you plan on motivating your members and local leaders, you must be in constant communication with them. Luckily, this is easier than ever. Establish an e-mail mailing list and e-newsletter that you send out regularly. Keep one list of activists and another of more passive members, and use it to spread your message, organize events, and keep your political party motivated for a small fraction of what a traditional snail mail newsletter would cost.

It is clear that there are tensions within political parties over how they relate to their young members and the way that young members want to do politics. The membership of young people in political parties should be seen as positive both in terms of providing opportunities to encourage active life-long forms of citizenship and also strengthening democracy by making their voices heard. However there is urgent need for a review of the terms of party membership offered to young people, particularly regarding opportunities within political parties offered to younger members, and the organisational relationships between youth wings and the main parties.

In another note the problem that often plagues party leaders is a refusal to delegate. Often, the qualities that make a good political leader, such as confidence and specific know-how, also make a poor delegator. In order to strengthen your political party, it is imperative to delegate. In order to increase the role your political party plays in the local community, encourage your members to build mini-organizations on their own, under the umbrella of the GMC Party.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Political Activist

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Open Letter to the Vice Chancellor, University of The Gambia (Part.3)

Reference is invited from the article published on the Fatu Network, January 8, 2018. “Gambia’s President, Adama Barrow is to be presented with an honorary doctorate for Human Rights from The University of The Gambia (UTG)”.

The last time I checked European universities began granting degrees “for the sake of the honor” (honoris causa) in the 15th century, and the first such degree was awarded at Oxford University in 1478 or 1479 to Lionel Woodville, Dean of Exeter, the brother-in-law of Edward IV and the future Bishop of Salisbury. These were essentially academic peerages, entitling the recipient to full privileges in the university, privileges that were much more extensive than now. At the same time universities conferred degrees on certain scholars whose career achievements warranted such recognition.

If “honoris causa” are embedded in the culture of higher education, then it seems that institutions must award them more carefully. No one can predict the future perfectly. But if past performance has any predictive weight, at all, in relation to future behavior, academic leaders ought to take past character of potential honorary degree recipients quite seriously. If administrators do not believe in the moral obligation to be intelligent, they might at least consider the obligation to be moral, or honorable. Award honorary doctorates to those least likely to dishonor both the institution and higher education generally. Make sure the genius in the portfolio before you has few-to-no character questions.

The question one might be quick to ask will be:

What is the PhD for?
What is the citation in the first place?
What has he done to earn such an award?
Is the UTG in a position to grant such an award?
Is the UTG now politicized?

If the University is pleased with his human right records it will be better for him to be awarded a certificate of achievement in recognition of his effort. Within the span of one year how can you determine the efficiency and effectiveness of an individual?

Education is one of the most important instruments of change in any society. And in order for any fundamental change to occur in terms of intellect and social outlook in a society, it is has to be proceeded by an educational revolution. The term education comes from the Latin word e-ducere meaning “to lead out.” Education is referred as the process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning, and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.

Please be informed that the University of The Gambia have pressing issues to solve rather than this unnecessary recognition that will not add value to the education system. The University does not have books that are up to date, most of the books in the main library were outdated before I was born. During my time as a student at the University from 2010-2013, there was never a day when the internet allowed me to download reading materials

However, if we want to have better educational system where students learn to develop themselves and strive hard to learn the values of life, we must focus our energy and resources on the university where it all began. We must have the right people with right qualifications at the university and people who are honest, decent, and determined to ensure that our brothers and sisters are successful in their education.

There is need for basic furniture for lectures to take place, the environment needs to be conducive for learning and as it stands the boards are so old. Their needs to be development with regard to learning, times have changed and in the 21st century there is a necessity for the use of technology in the classroom. The University still lacks basic projectile or video presentations of important lectures. In a nutshell, there is zero use of latest technological innovations to help students at the university in their learning.

I don’t deny the fact that The University of The Gambia has produced many intellects, brains and will continue to produce who are able and competent enough to compete in the marketplace of ideas and world market of recruitment as far beyond Pluto. But despite the fact of all those efforts we still need to double up and tighten our belts for a better university we dream that will one day be the last place of hope.

Taking initiatives to refine education without the resources that needs to be implemented is wholly unrealistic and ensues as a misery in disguise on students. A case in point is the “Ph.D.” proposed program. There is not a single reason for what one should appreciate this opinion. The initiative has turned out ordinary to burn a hole in students’ pockets without giving them a good education in return.

I submit to you that if the proposed PhD is conferred to President Barrow I will return my BSc. As I don’t have hope in the Gambia’s first and only University any more.

To be continued………….

Saidina Alieu Jarjou

Alumnus, School of Business and Public Administration