Thursday, 29 March 2018
Musa is 26 years old and graduated from the University of The Gambia with a BSc. Degree Honors in Management with a minor in Marketing in 2013. His father died from cancer 8 months before his graduation, leaving him with his mother who is a beggar with his 5 siblings.
Musa being the first son of the family with high expectation on him especially his sister Mama who was also attending the Management Development Institute where she read Gender and Development Studies. It was on a Friday when his sister informed him that she was told to pay her fee in two weeks’ time if not she will not sat to the exam.
It was on a Saturday when I visited my friend Modou who lives in Tallinding Farokono and works as an Accountant. During our discussion he suggested to me that he is looking for a gateman who will also double as a special assistant to his wife Horaja.
So luckily on my route home I met Musa in Tabokoto, after 5 minutes into our conversation he told me that things were not easy with him; he had applied to several institutions including NAWEC where he hand delivered the application to the human resource officer but up to date he is unable to secure a job and he is ready to do any job to earn a living. I told him that to thank God since his prayers were answered since it happened that a friend of mine was looking for a gateman. He could not believe his luck and thanked me profusely for recommending this job to him; he happily agreed to become a gateman for lack of anything to do.
One year ago I travelled to Tallinding to stay with my friends Modou and his wife Horaja, so I can facilitate my visa process at the American Embassy. My friend, Modou, has been married to his beautiful wife for three years without a child to fill the house with cries, laughter and joy. In the last week of June my friend travelled to Senegal on official business and something happened in his bedroom.
It happened on a Wednesday, I came back home because I could not meet up an appointment due to heavy traffic along the Kairaba Avenue route. I was reluctant to return home since I had just left but I could not think of a better place to go so I headed home. On getting to the compound, I didn’t find the gateman at his post and I was even angry because of the security risk of him leaving the gate open considering that there was a high rate of crime in Tallinding.
Something got me worried when I saw the gateman’s sandals right inside the sitting room. I got suspicious and told myself that something was going on between my friend’s wife and this dirty boy. I was right, as I moved closer to friend’s bedroom, I could hear screams and groaning of s***** pleasure from his wife and the gateman. I tried to peep into the room but it was difficult because of the protector.
I summoned courage and walked to the door as if I wanted to tell my friend’s wife that I was back. I opened the door and caught the woman red-handed under the dirty gateman Musa whom she was having an extramarital affair with.
I simply walked away and returned to the sitting room, pretending to be watching the Kerr Fatou programme on GRTS. Few minutes later, my friend’s wife joined me and started begging that it would not happen again. I didn’t said a word but when she kept pressing I told her that it ok and that I had heard her plea. She later brought lunch for me but I refused to eat. Although I had told her that it was okay, I was still disgusted by her actions. I believe she sensed that and would not stop crying and begging me to conceal her infidelity from her husband, my dear friend Modou.
The unfortunate thing is that she even tried to seduce me to sleep with her; a tactic I believe she used as a way of assuring her that I would not tell my friend. She would always come to my room half-naked but I refused to succumb to her lures. I stopped eating in the house but chose to eat out in restaurants which resulted to me being broke.
Two weeks after the incident happened, I received a call from the receptionist at the American Embassy informing me that I should pay the visa fee. Unfortunately, I did not have any money with me as I had used all the money to buy food.
Although I worried about how I would pay for the visa fee, I was in a constant dilemma; I kept asking myself whether I should tell my friend about the kind of wife he married or blackmail the wife by asking her for the visa fee?. What will you do if you were Modou’s friend?
By. Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Monday, 19 March 2018
Dr. ABS Taal was a Gambian academic and politician he was born in Banjul the capital city of The Gambia. He completed his high school education at Methodist High School before receiving his B. A. Hons in History and Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Political Science both from the New England University, Armidale in Australia. After the completion of his Master’s Degree with distinction he proceeded to the Massey University, Palmerton, New Zealand where he earned a Ph.D., Business Studies. With dissertation focuses on “An evaluation of the role and effects of tourism policies on the development and growth of the tourist industry in New Zealand and in Fiji” a comparative study: a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Business Studies.
Dr. Taal was among the first Gambians to earn a Ph.D at a world renowned prestigious university at a time when the idea of university education was not in the plans of The Gambia government to build one for her citizens. He served as Secretary General of The Gambia UNESCO National Commission and, later, was appointed Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education where he was responsible for the implementation of the national education policy as the Ministry’s administrative head.
During this period he also served as a part-time faculty member of the European Peace University in Stadtschalaing, Austria. He also served as Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President of the Republic of The Gambia, functioning as a technical adviser. During his tenure in the Office of the President, Dr. Taal was a member of the official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly meeting of September 1995.
Upon retirement from the civil service, he joined the University of The Gambia as a senior lecturer in political science, management, public administration and tourism. He was co-founder, along with Dr. John Meyer (Norwich University and Champlain College) of The Gambia-Vermont link and the University of The Gambia Service-Learning Association. Over the years he has hosted Norwich University students and faculty in The Gambia.
He published several academic papers, such as the influential "Pan-Africanism - An African liberation ideology against the domination of Africans by Whites".
He was awarded International Visiting Academic at the Teesside University in Middlesborough, United Kingdom and further awarded 10 Years’ Service Award UTG. He was also involved in Cross-Cultural Research Studies at the Teesside University where he conducted research on Muslims and Non-Muslim community relations in North East of England.
He was a member of UTG consulting team as consultant on Governance and Human Rights in the Gambia for The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Tango). In 2012 UTG he was consultant for UNECA on Monitoring Good Governance in the Gambia 2004 and 2007 UTG consultant for UNECA on Dynamics of Electoral Governance in the Gambia 2012.
Dr. Taal was not only a lecturer but a mentor and a father to many students. Most of his students are currently working in the international organizations across the globe. The role he played in the Gambia educational and political sector cannot be narrated within an hour neither a day.
He was an intellectual who treat all with respect and love despite of their age, gender, religion and race. I remember when he once told me Alieu be tolerant and always try to make a positive impact where ever you are on earth. He spent most of his time helping the needy as per achieving their mission, as he believed that knowledge is the only tool that can transform the world for better.
He was one time offered the opportunity to lecture in one of the European university with a high pay but he rejected the offer to serve the University of The Gambia for a better Gambia. As he believed that The Gambia belongs to The Gambians both those home and abroad and it is we The Gambians who can make it the last place of hope on earth.
O Allah, forgive Alieu Badara Saja Taal and elevate his station among those who are guided. Send him along the path of those who came before, and forgive us and him.
To be continued……
By: Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Wednesday, 14 March 2018
The Gambia health sector is sinking in the broad day light like the mighty Titanic as a result of inadequate medical facilities and the human resources. Of recent I learnt that the Doctors are on a sit-down strike as per the allegation of theft made by the minister of health. We the poor voters take our families to the Government hospital without facilities while those of you at the peak whom we voted for, to protect and improve our health care facilities take your families to the private clinics. Health should be a priority of The Gambia Government as a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Inaccessibility to health care is a violation of human right. We cannot achieve a free zone disease country until and unless we take in charge of our health care system and pump in to the required resources to meet the ISO standards.
If Edward Francis Small were to arise and see the high increasing rate of killings, robbery, theft and rape happening in The Gambia that he dreamt would one day be the heaven of peace. I am quite sure that he will regret the sacrifices he made to liberate The Gambia.
How do you do the above requirement when lawlessness, murdering and especially armed robberies, are on top of mountain Kilimanjaro? The prevalence of peace and tranquility and safety of the citizenry goes a long way to tell or measure how successful one’s presidency has been. This is in addition to creating jobs for the youth to better their standard of living and curtailing or wiping off institutional corruption and other criminal practices from the society.
The last time I checked the government have lost touch with the people of The Gambia and have lost ability to maintain order, command and respect for the rule of law. This is leading people to take the law into their own hands. With weak governance, and lack of education and leadership some Gambian people have misinterpreted the notion of democracy as having the freedom and right to act as they please without due regard for others or their environment, as Barrow and his administration look on hopelessly.
It is one year now the Barrow led administration is yet to demonstrate any leadership or clear direction. This is believed to be an oversight by the presiding President and his advisers, due to a lack of familiarity and understanding of the existing constitution. To my knowledge the ministerial position for defense also remains unfilled and has therefore been attached to the office of the President? Is it to be assumed therefore that Barrow occupies the roles of President; Commander in Chief and defense minister at the same time? To date there is lack of clarity over this situation. Is it that in the whole country there is no Gambian who meet the professional requirement for Defense Minister position?
Electricity is very vital in our daily lives, the patients who are getting their treatment in various hospitals also face many difficulties as per NAWEC’s inability to supply uninterrupted electricity and water supply to the citizenry. The patients operations are not happening on time as the electricity is moving on and off like a timing bomb. This increases their diseases as the fans of the hospital are not moving which result to the patients feel great pain in their body.
Corruption is one of the biggest threat to the well-being of a society. It degrades the quality of the services and also ruins the life of the common man. Many countries in the world are affected by this disease called corruption. Corruption in The Gambia is an obstacle that restricts citizens on a daily basis in their enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, contributing to the perpetuation of poverty and hindering economic opportunity. The collective recognition of the challenges posed by rampant corruption has led to political turmoil.
Corruption in this country is experienced in many sectors. In politics, corruption is heavy swimming like a canoe in the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the less connected citizens of The Gambia are the one that suffers as wealth which is to be evenly distributed are being utilized by the top politicians alone.
Transparency International have not failed in giving updates on the nations that have stained their hands by indulging in massive corrupt practices. According to the organization, corruption still remains rampant in public sector. Currently, we can concretely say that corruption in Gambia is not just a mere perception but inherently pervasive in the country as evidenced by the recent scandal exposure.
It is a clear testimony that being a politician or a public official is one of the greatest profession in the world. It requires a lot of leadership skills and knowledge in law, economy, ethics, humanity and others. To make sure our government officials, legislators, mayors, governors, etc. are currently capable in doing their respective job, they should be required to have a minimum credit units of continuing professional education every year. If they can’t comply, then they should be fired out from their positions.
Prevention and eradication of corruption is an absolute requirement for better public life. This disease called corruption takes an interesting turn in such a way that everyone becomes corrupt in some other sort if situation permits.
To be continued….
Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Thursday, 8 March 2018
In the early days women were seen as wives who were intended to cook, clean and take care of the kids. They were not allowed to vote while men took care of having jobs and paying any bills that had to be paid. Soon enough it caught on that women should have a bigger role than what other people thought women should have. They faced discrimination like and other race that faced it.
Men have a tendency to leave their wives due to the fact that they had their child and the father was not committed enough or not ready to be a “father.” Women are faced with more responsibility than men but also are faced with a lot more problems than men because they look a woman as a bearer of children. It is a fact that men shouldn’t abuse their wives and its true, but they still are. Abortion is also another problem that women are faced with. Women are sometimes not ready to be a mother and their husbands or boyfriends have already left them. Men usually just walk away from the situation but women have to choose to either have the baby or have it “aborted”.
Today women are playing important role in all spheres of life. They are no longer confined within the four walls of their parents’ or husbands house. They have come out of the kitchens and are working hand in hand with men in all the development programs of the government. By receiving higher education they are becoming pilots, presidents, doctors, engineers, hospitality professionals, teachers, administrators etc. They have been able to prove their worth. They not only do their household work but also work outside of their houses. They are contributing much to the economy of the country. Now it has come to the realization of the men that true development of a country is not possible keeping half of the population idle at home. So it needs no telling that women are playing a great role in the socioeconomic development of our country.
I discovered my life was 87% positively impacted by women. My full-time parent I learnt most from (Mom) my teachers right from kindergarten to university (8/10 have been female) all my advocacy campaigns were 74% women dominated. My most dedicated organization and company staff 70% are women, most loyal customers too are women. My line manager is a woman, “cool manager’s by the way.
My entire life has been impacted by these bold women and I never stopped to think twice of them, all we do think about is the strong men just as society and culture dictates.
Women are in every aspect of our lives, right from bottom to top. We can just keep ignoring their efforts even when they do less to seek recognition of the great works they do or we could do things differently. At work we are blind to the injustices they go through in the hands of our colleagues; the sexual harassment, reduced to blackmail of either the job or her body for sex. We converse about it in a joking manner not knowing how oppressing it is, we don’t think of that woman being our sister or wife. We are silent when all the men are promoted yet she works selflessly and tirelessly only to see others being promoted as she is left on her desk with a claim she is a “woman” or that she is “perfect for her current job”.
|Jaka Dukureh, FGM, Activist|
In our social circles we no longer (as before) condemn women to the kitchen but our reaction when a woman says, “I don’t know how to cook” Or “I don’t know a particular house chore” is clear indication. We have just modernized how we condemn women, how we reduce them to the house hold and being wives. Today when a woman decides to study beyond a man, earn a higher salary than him or even get a higher promotion than him we still get intimidated as if it is an issue. Our media mutely speaks about the success of women. They are only evoked to do so due to international pressure, women are hired by media houses just because they either look good or have a good voice. Yet all women are beautiful if given the chance they can make a huge impact and difference.
When I just started working, my friend Musa told me, “Jarjou, don’t be afraid to work with women”. They are the most dedicated, loyal, hardworking and committed people.” He was right, I had men as part of my team; they have come and gone, but the women I worked with at the start I still work with them, I’m secure they won’t disappoint me. All my female bosses as I worked with them they aimed at empowering me. I will give one example Zainab Jallow, the Director General of Food Safety and Quality Authority of The Gambia, “she hired me when I did not even believe in myself, no matter how many mistakes I made, she chose to look beyond that, finished my contract a refined, empowered and experienced staff” She made it her duty to ensure I have a fall back plan. Today, I run my own organization who does that? Not many men at least.
Therefore, we need to amplify women voices out there, no matter how small their contribution is to society. The teachers, mothers, cooks, civil servants, leaders and more. Regardless of whom they are married to background looks and more. Women are the most vital part of our society structure and are to be celebrated. Every day I choose to celebrate the women in my life, past and time to come. I choose to see you as bold women who changed my life. Let’s believe in more women out there, be bold for change, and don’t hold back for we are all equal. Happy Women’s Day!
Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
It is a big disappointment to learn that President Barrow visited Foni, Sibanor as part of reconciliation efforts where he met the traditional and Community leaders as if Foni is the Gambia’s problem. There will be no reconciliation when parts of the population is labelled as anti-government as a result of their tribe, culture, political ideology and geographical area.
Previously Kanilai bigot the unusual as a bitter confrontation between the peaceful protesters and Senegalese soldiers at the entrance of the village letting to bloodshed. Residents of the rural settlement and the Foni environs demanded the immediate evacuation of both the Gambian and Senegalese soldiers in Kanilai. The protesters were shot on their route to Kanfenda leading to some civilians sustaining injuries and death of one civilian by name Mr. Haruna Jatta who was later laid to rest on the 6th June, 2017.
It was narrated that the ECOMIG soldiers from Senegal were informed to shoot the protesters as they are rebels from Cassamance? If that is true then it is complete idiocy to allow any nation, regardless of the external generosity to fight their enemy within your land, and knowing very well and with supreme belief that the aftermath can be life threatening.
Many will asked this question. Why the heavy deployment of soldiers in one part of the country concisely Foni stuck in the minds of most Gambians? To protest again external forces is not a crime as it happened in Congo, Haiti and many more. In Senegal the last time I checked the number of protest occurred is uncountable but none of the protesters were shot to death with a life bullet. But why on the Fonika’s? Also if protesters were armed with weapons as claimed by the then minister of Interior Mai Fatty. How come only civilians were injured and killed?
The question on might be quick to ask shall be why should it took Barrow for one year to visit foni after all calamity that took place. Barrow is the president which none of the Fonika’s denied. The Gambia belongs to The Gambian’s both those home and abroad. Therefore In rebuilding a new Gambia we all dream all regions need to be represented well and treated equally despite of political ideology. In a place where trust does not exist, love, respect and solidarity are also absent. The lack of trust destroys families, country, as well as social, cultural, and economic life.
The Faroto folks also demonstrated which ended to riot and resulted to the burning of cars owned by individuals. In Bakau the Police were also being attacked by the angry, irritated youth as a result of arresting the drug dealers. There was another bitter confrontation between the Police Intervention Unit Officers (PIU) and the people of Bakoteh which ended of dumping the collected waste at the Mayor’s office in Kanifing but to my surprise none were shot with a life bullet neither a tear gas was used unlike what was done to the people of Foni.
Barrow need to know that Foni is not the problem but the people who prevailed on Former President to subvert the will of the Gambian people are the problem. And those people should never be allowed at any cost to come near to the corridor of authority again.
One cannot use Foni to prevail with the excuse of cajoling for peace. We the sons and daughters of Foni can sort out any issue amongst ourselves in the spirits of one Gambia, one family and one people. In fact, there is no problem in Foni as most narrow minded think and want it to look like. Foni should not and cannot be a prolific ground for anyone to rejuvenate his or her political ambitions. We the Fonika’s are not sleeping and shall continue to rebrand the name of Foni for better. We will take the lead and government must recognize that. Strangers cannot be talking to our people as if we the Foninka’s do not have all what it takes to resolve whatever misconceptions or perceptions that exist.
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 the Barrow lead administration can successfully bring us the long sought dividend of democracy.
Saidina Alieu Jarjou