Thursday, 31 January 2019

An Open Letter To Minister of Health & Social Welfare Dr Isatou Touray (Part.2)

Honourable Minister, I write to you once more again with much sorrow and sadness as a disturbed concern citizen and not a viewer about the increasing rate at which many innocent patients are losing their lives in some health facilities countrywide. Besides, you are aware that Health plays a major role in one's life. It is very crucial for a person to survive on this planet earth. Improper health leads to the death of the person, it also leads to some of the major diseases making the person unfit to execute his task.

Honourable Minister, the purpose of my open letter is not only to congratulate you but it is also to ask you to spend few minutes of your time and think about our patient lying down in hospitals without proper medication. Some citizens in the rural area have to walk long hours to reach the government hospital. When a severe case, most of the villagers use donkeys as a mean of transportation in which many suffer before reaching the hospital, just because it is located far away without access to Ambulances.

The Barrow led administration promised to provide better healthcare to the citizens from Kartong to Koina. It is believed that the clinics and the hospitals supposed to be the safe refuge for the sick. It is the place where we expect that anyone who is about to visit the next world can be assisted to come back to life. Meanwhile, I totally agree that The Gambia health sector has some dedicated professionals who work with passion and try their ultimate best to serve their patients with meagre resources.

Honourable Minister, the last time I checked the health sector under your leadership is in a catastrophic state of concern. Sources close to the corridors of your office has it that, ‘‘the community of Salikene lack Ambulance, Kuntaur District Hospital is also without a Medical Doctor, inadequate cleansing materials for health facilities, the poor infrastructure of health institutions and staff accommodation facilities, inadequate drug and equipment in health facilities’’.

I submit to you that The Gambia health sector under your leadership is sinking in the broad daylight like the mighty Titanic as a result of inadequate medical facilities and the human resources across the country. Furthermore, the sovereign citizens at the rural areas especially those at Bolibanna find it difficult to access the medical facilities.

Honourable Minister, how can the sovereign citizens have trust in the Barrow led administration if the health sector is moving towards an unknown destination? Health is very vital, besides maintaining good health should be your primary focus for a better Gambia we want as per The Gambia National Development Plan. (2018-2021).

Voting is our right, but it is also our responsibility because if we don't take the next step and elect leaders who are committed to building a better future for our kids, other rights our rights to clean air, clean water, health, and prosperity are placed directly in harm's way. (Tom Steyer).

Blogger/Political Activist

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Will The Gambia Be Able To Deliver A Successful And Memorable OIC Summit? (Part.132)

Readers could recall that the Gambia Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretariat at the Petroleum house was established as a Charitable Organization under the Companies Act, 2013. This is under the purview of the Office of the President, with the aim to provide coordination role for in preparations for hosting of the upcoming 2019 summit.

The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization which was established in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on 25 September 1969, consisting of 57 member states, who decided to pool their resources together, combine their efforts and speak with one voice to safeguard the interest and ensure the progress and well-being of their peoples and those of other Muslims in the World. The OIC organizes the Islamic summit, which is the largest meeting, attended by the Rulers and the Heads of State and Government of its member states.

According to its charter, the OIC aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; to back the struggle of all Muslim people with a view to preserving their dignity, independence and national rights; uphold international peace and security; and advance education, particularly in the fields of science and technology. Furthermore, it is financed by contributions and donations of its members and headquarters in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Strategic Intent of the OIC as published on its website has it that; to provide first class accommodation facilities, Improving accessibility with new strategic and renovated roads across the country. With Priority Projects to establish a Plenary Hall with a capacity of 1,031 persons on 2 floors with other facilities and to Construct a new 5 star 400 bedrooms hotel with 60 Royals and Presidential suites.

The Point newspaper on its August 13, 2018 publication has it that Minister of Works and Transportation of The Gambia Mr Bai Lamin Jobe, who led the technical discussions, between a delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Government of The Gambia. Noted, the Government attaches great importance to the organisation of the 2019 OIC Summit. Also listed out other pending OIC projects, in the form of road constructions, airport expansion, the upgrading of the airport’s VIP Lounge, among others. All these projects, including the construction of high-standard hotels, are all included in the government’s development blueprint, the NDP 2018-2021.

With reference to a press release from the Office of the President issued on Wednesday 28th November 2018 where the Secretary-General of the OIC-Gambia Secretariat Mr Lamin Sanneh pointed that ‘‘if you are talking about the projects, very soon. We are at the prequalification stage for the roads, water, electricity, even the expansion of Bertil Harding Highway.’’

Surprisingly enough, the indications to determine the success of the said prestigious summit which is just at the corner as lamented by Mr Sanneh is minimal. The OIC Secretariat and its stakeholders should do everything possible for a memorable summit.

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Blogger/Political Activist

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Untold Story About The Newly Inaugurated Trans - Gambia Bridge. (Part. 131)

The last time I checked it was in 1976; that former President Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara proposed to kick-off the building of a bridge between YelliTenda - Bamba Tenda and named it the Trans-Gambia Bridge with a length of 1.9 kilometres.

On 11 November 2014, the said project was officially signed, a contract awarded to two companies: JV Corsan Corvian of Spain and Arezki S. A. of Senegal, which was expected to last 36 months, according to the contract agreement.

Readers could recall that on Friday 20 February 2015 the then Vice President Isatou Njie-Saidy under Jammeh’s administration and Senegalese Prime Minister Momodou Dionne laid the foundation stone for the commencement of the construction of the Trans-Gambia Bridge at the YelliTenda - Bamba Tenda.

The project is being financed by the African Development Fund (ADF) with a grant to the Gambia of Unit of Account UA 63.55 million equivalent to D4 billion, aimed at reinforcing the economic cooperation and integration between the Gambia and Senegal and ECOWAS community as a whole. (the Point, 2015).

Besides, the ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of People and Goods ensures free mobility of the community citizens i.e. citizens of member states. The Protocol on free movement conferred on Community citizens the right to enter and reside in the territory of any member state, provided they possessed a valid travel document and international health certificate.

Surprisingly, a press release issued on 17 January 2019 by the Ministry of Transport, Works, & Infrastructure has it that the Trans-Gambia bridge will be open to light traffic effective, January 2019 and not Minibus, Bus, not exceeding 35 Passengers. The release also added, ‘‘The above Vehicle categories allowed and prescribed time to use the bridge will be maintained until July 2019, when all ancillary works on the bridge and access roads are completed’’.

The question is why should be an incomplete bridge be inaugurated considering the risk involved when an accident occurs. On a similar note a $10 million Chinese-built Bridge in western Kenya, personally commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta, has collapsed. At least 27 workers were injured when the bridge broke on Monday 26 June 2017. The collapse occurred less than two weeks after President Kenyatta visited the site as part of a campaign tour before general elections in August 2017.

In Turkey on December 2017, the bridge which cost 100 million Turkish Liras and has been under construction since 2013, collapsed just as the final sections were being built. Nearly 200 construction workers on the site witnessed one-eighth of the bridge collapse at its final phases.

Could the immature inauguration of the bridge have to do with Senegal’s Presidential elections which will be held on 24 February 2019? Ahead of the election, two opposition leaders Khalifa Sall and Karim Wade were barred from participating because of convictions for misuse of public funds. The country's Constitutional Court has preliminarily authorised five candidates, including incumbent president Macky Sall who was present at the inauguration of the said Bridge.

Blogger/Political Activist

Monday, 14 January 2019

Does The Janneh Commission Have The Legal Mandate To Sell off Jammeh’s Assets?

Readers could recall that during the 22 years Jammeh’s brutal rule, corruption and nepotism were the order of the day. Jammeh who now lives in exile in Equatorial Guinea under the leadership of Teodoro Obiang after been defeated during the December 2016 polls to the Coalition led by Adama Barrow. Jammeh initially accepted defeat but days later he took a U-turn back which warrant an ECOWAS deployment to oust him but was later averted due to the high presence of the regional forces.

On Thursday, July 13, 2017 President Adama Barrow, the Commander In Chief presided over the swearing-in of four members of the established Janneh Commission of Inquiry with a mandate, to act on the financial activities of public bodies, enterprises and offices as regards to their dealings with former President, Yahya Jammeh who ruled from 1994 to 2016.

The establishment of the said Janneh Commission of Inquiry was in line with Section 200 (1) of the 1997 Constitution of Republic of The Gambia. This empowers the president to constitute a Commission of Inquiry and appoint one or more Commissioners to make inquiry for the public good. The National Assembly may also request the President to establish a Commission of Inquiry if need be.

Furthermore, Section 202 (1) empowers a Commission of Inquiry to:

“(a) Make a full and impartial investigation into the matter in respect of which the Commission is established; and

(b) Furnish in writing a report on the results of the inquiry, including a statement of the reasons leading to the conclusions of the Commission.”

Additionally, Section 203 highlighted that “On receipt of the report of a Commission of Inquiry;

(a) The President shall within six months publish the report and his or her comments on the report, together with a statement of any action taken, or the reason for not taking action.

Surprisingly, a public notice on the Point Newspaper on its 10 January 2018 publications reads; the general public is hereby informed that the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Dealings, Assets, etc of ex-President Yaya A.J.J. Jammeh. Family Members and Close Associates will commence the auction of trucks and other vehicles.

Good governance with good intentions is the hallmark of our government. Implementation with integrity is our core passion. (Narendra Modi).

Saidina Alieu Jarjou
Blogger/Political Activist

Friday, 11 January 2019

Most MoH&SW Staff Cried Upon Hearing The Redeployment Of Its Health Promotion Director

Modou Njai
In July 2012 MoH&SW created the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education with the following components namely: Non-Communicable Diseases Unit including Tobacco and road traffic injury prevention and control; School Health Unit, Nutrition Unit; Health Communication Unit including Community-based Information Education and Communication (IEC)/Behavior Change Communication (BCC); Water Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Unit including hygiene promotion and education and Population Health.

Readers could recall that news was published on the Freedom newspaper on December 19, 2018, captioned ‘‘an insider at the Ministry of Health claimed that there is blatant nepotism at the ministry, headed by Dr Isatou Touray’’.

On January 7, 2019, Modou Njai wrote on his Facebook timeline that; ‘‘I wish to Inform you that I am no longer the Director of Health Promotion and Education at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare following my recent redeployment to the Regional Health Team in Farafenni. It was indeed a sorrowful moment today at the handing over ceremony of a Directorate I established with the support of dedicated and committed staff paid farewell to me. I say a big thanks to the entire staff of the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education for support from June 2012 to now. It was indeed an honour working with all of you in promoting health and development’’.

The said post was received with mix feelings among the staff and many sovereign citizens who know the hardworking Director Njai in his role and effort for a better healthcare system in the Republic of The Gambia. 

Furthermore, sources close to the corridors of MoH&SW revealed that under his dynamic and visionary leadership. Developed a National Health Promotion and Education Policy (2013-2020); Developed and finalized a National Tobacco Prevention and Control Policy (2013-2018); Established linkages with the Centre for Tobacco Control in Africa (CTCA) to fight tobacco consumption in The Gambia; Conducted the review of sectoral policies to include NCDs and developed a situational analysis report on Social Determinants of Health with stakeholders; Developed, pre-tested and produced communication support materials on Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in collaboration with HepDO during the implementation of hygiene promotion and education component of the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project; A total of 7306 Village Development Committee (VDCs) members from 912 communities across the country had an in-depth training on Ebola preparedness and response, and were engaged in the orientation of their community members.

Dr Omar Sey
‘‘If there is anyone's life that you have impacted or changed it's mine. Director Modou Njai I am grateful to you for all the support you have given me for the past four years. You and the former Minister of Health honourable Omar Sey saved me from all the harassment I faced in the field as a junior female Public Health Officer. You guys are heroes and great men that the Ministry of Health will ever have. You accepted me in the Directorate, motivated, groomed and exposed me to many if not all public Health functions. I am proud to have known and worked with you. I hope and pray that the blessings of Allah will visit u soon. Said’’, Jallow

Fatou a Staff at the MoH&SW too wrote. Good luck Njai. I am confident that where ever you are your present will be felt by everybody. You have created leaders who will hopefully sustain the directorate. We are blessed to have you in our region and we wish you all the best.

Blogger/Political Activist

Thursday, 10 January 2019

‘‘The Barrow Administration Should Protect The Rights of The Christian Communities’’

Readers could recall that Foroyaa, June 7, 2018 publication has it that. ‘‘According to reports, a young villager who belongs to the Christian faith, died and was to be buried in the Christian cemetery; that some people refuse family members of the deceased to bury their loved one at the cemetery because the land where the Christian cemetery is located is said to belong to one Seedy Barrow of Gunjur village; that Seedy deliberately decided to seize the whole land area which included the graveyard’’.

It was narrated by members of the Christian community in Teneneh that, they were burying their deaths in the said plot of land for almost 50 years. Besides, any outsider claiming ownership of the 50 years Land will violate the 1997 Land Acts of the Republic of The Gambia which stated that no single Gambian should claim ownership of land which he never built or used as Agriculture purposes for the past 12 years.

A letter signed on December 29, 2018, by Momodou Bojang, head Chief of Kombo Nort District addressed to Pastor Robert Mendy requesting for him to appear before the District Tribunal. Which reads; By virtue of the powers vested on the Kombo North District Authority/Tribunal, you are hereby commanded in the name of the Republic of The Gambia, to appear before the Kombo North District Authority/Tribunal for a dispute resolution over a piece of land within the jurisdiction of the Kombo North District Authority/Tribunal in which your name has been mentioned as a vested claimant.

‘‘The issue has to do with the graveyard which is in use by the Christian community in Younna for over 40 years. In which our ancestors were buried up to date it is the cemetery we bury our corpse. Surprisingly, we were asked to reduce its size. Besides reducing the cemetery size as proposed can have an impact in the future considering the population growth’’. Said, Pastor Robert.

Of recent Fala bigot the unusual, this is an old Manjago community in Kombo south kilometer from Sanyang Village. It is believed that they were given their settlement by the people of Sanyang many years ago. Due to swine production, they have to settle far from the Muslim communities for a better society. The said Manjago Christian communities are facing hostility by the land grabbers from the area. The community members are asked to vacate their over 50 year’s village because some people claim the lands were given to them by their grandparents and now they are reclaiming it. (Omar, 2019)

It is very sad to see the minority being suppressed and subjected to all kind of inhumane and immorality pain in The Gambia that belongs to all religions, tribe, race and gender. The above mentioned have been aggravated by politics. It is sad to say that but most politicians either publicly or privately try to encourage tribal sentiments for their own self-centered interests.

The buck stops with the government. They make the laws and introduce regulations that should ensure this kind of thing does not happen. If there is proper legislation introduced which covers every possible eventuality, it will ensure that no loophole exists to be exploited by anybody. (The Point, 2012).

Blogger/Political Activist

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Is The First Lady Fatoumatta Bah Barrow Above The Law?

Readers could recall that an egg was once broken by the Fatu Network, alleged that the first Lady Madam Fatoumatta Bah Barrow’s Foundation was involved in a corruption scandal as per the famous D35 Million which was said to be transferred by an unknown person/entity.

The news triggered an uprising of various Activist, campaigners and sovereign citizens. As a result, one of the leading Activist Awa Sisay initiated a campaign against the aforementioned scandal “Fatoumatta Kodoo Lay” and that gathered the attention of so many patriots across the length and breadth of our dear motherland The Gambia. In solidarity to Activist Ceesay’s initiative, a lot of nationalists expressed their total disappointment and dissatisfaction beyond human imagination with FABB’s alleged corruption scandal. The Activism revolution rises in the quest to find answers as per the alleged D35 Million.

On a similar note, the Managing Director of Social Security Housing Finance Corporation, Mr Muhammed Manjang, was accused by the staff of the corporation for corruption, abuse of office, and nepotism. This followed a petition they filed earlier last year to the then PAC/PEC committees of the National Assembly among other relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, Manjang was asked to go on leave as the standoff between him and some staff of the corporation falls under Presidential Investigation to look into the claims against him for a better Gambia we want.

Surprisingly enough, no commission of enquiry was made public as opposed to SSHFC regarding the famous, mysterious and untold D35 Million found in FABB’s account. Besides, Section 200 (1) of the 1997 Constitution empowers the President to constitute a Commission of Inquiry and appoint one or more Commissioners to make inquiry for the public good. The National Assembly may also request the President to establish a Commission of Inquiry if need be.

Meanwhile, according to the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. The Gambia is the 130 least corrupt nations out of 175 countries. Corruption Rank in the Gambia averaged 115.80 from 2003 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 158 in 2008 and a record low of 77 in 2011. Corruption is a major disease that is affecting the progress of the New Gambia. All stakeholders should put hands on deck to help eradicate corruption as far beyond Pluto. Furthermore, the Gambia belongs to Gambians both at home and abroad. Therefore, in speaking, we can make our motherland great.

Leadership is undoubtedly the ability to influence and lead by example. Besides, a rule for one should be a rule for all in the strive for rebuilding the New Gambia we want, that would one day be the last place of hope on earth.

Blogger/Political Activist