20 August 2018

Gambia: Good Morning Mr President

Mr. President, as the feast of Eidul Adha (Tobaski) will be celebrated on Tuesday 21 August 2018in The Gambia, we would like to wish you, your family, members of your government and all the people residing in The Gambia a happy feast of Eidul Adha (Tobaski) in advance. May Allah answer all prayers and accept our sacrifices. It's also high time that Muslims in The Gambia always pray on the same day be it 'Tobaski' or 'Koriteh.' This year too, the Tobaski will be observed in two separate dates: 21st and 22nd of August. Therefore the Supreme Islamic Council and imams should meet to find a lasting solution to this difference.

Mr. President, each year, the prices of livestock go so high that Gambians find it very difficult to afford it. Rams can cost up to D10, 000 and above which is not affordable to the average Gambian, comparing to their salaries.

It is time for the authorities to have regular meetings with the livestock dealers well before the Tobaski so that they can discuss with them and see how best the price of rams can be reduced for the average Gambian to be able to afford one.

Government should also continue to reduce taxes and encourage livestock dealers by giving them incentives so that prices of rams, cattle, and goats can be reduced.

Mr. President, during your recent interview, you said that the Gambian economy was steadily growing as interest rates from the latest treasury bills indicated a significant reduction in borrowing from 17.4% to 5.5%. We commend your government for that very encouraging and an improvement of our economy.

Mr. President, your government should review the salaries and transport allowances of civil servants in the country by January 2019.

Next month schools will be opening and most parents will find it very difficult to pay fees, buy books, and uniforms because of meager salaries and resources.

Your government institutions should also try to be paying media houses on time to enable them pay their staffs on time.

Mr. President, as the father of the nation, you should accept criticism since we are in the new dispensation of Gambia.

As Gambians, we should all work towards promoting press freedom, freedom of speech, respect the rule of law and promote democracy. This doesn't mean that the citizenry can disrespect you or anybody by using abusive languages.

Gambians should respect each other most especially our leaders. And when criticizing, it should be genuine and constructive in a respectful manner.

As a president and leader, you shouldn't lose your temper in public no matter what the situation is. You should be prepared to hear both good and bad comments about you from different angles as people have different views of different situations.

Mr. President, don't be temperamental.

In cases of such scenarios again, it's better for the government's spokesman to handle the situation, as in most countries when leaders are criticized, it's the duty of the government spokesman to response to criticisms by virtue of his functions as spokesperson, in many countries he or she has a ministerial rank to do the job effectively.

The social media should also play a pivotal role in promoting unity and peace in the country and not the contrary.

Mr. President, during your last interview, you down played the question of whether you will be staying for 3 or 5 years, putting emphasis the need to review the constitution first before going for election.

Then you need to address the nation and make it clear that you will go for 5 years once and for all to end this issue of 3 or 5 years.

The chairman of IEC Alhajie Momar Njie has also said that there are no plans yet for election for 2019.

Finally, Mr. President, the idea of the security reforms and reducing the size of the army is very inspiring as before the 1981 abortive coup, Gambia had no army but Field Force trained by the British, Turkish, Nigerian and American.

It is important that during the review process of the reduction of the size of the army, the authorities should also look into the nature foreigners that are enrolled in the army and the circumstances of ghost workers. Once concluded, the remaining personnel should be educated, well- equipped and motivated.

They should be trained to be professional in areas of medicine, media, law, engineers, and Information Technology etc.

The army should build close collaborations with Senegal, Nigeria, Britain, U.K. and U.S.A. to be able to get more exposure.

Good day!


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