Gambia: UTG Staff Association to Resume Sit-Down Strike Today

The University of The Gambia Staff Association will today resume its sit-down strike, the association said in a statement issued by its Secretary General, Yorro Njie.

"Sequel to our suspended sit-down strike on the 3 July 2021, and in the implementation of the decision made by Congress on the 8 August 2021, the UTGFSA Executive Committee wishes to announce that the association resumes its strike starting Wednesday, 15 September 2021.

"It is essential to state that the Executive Committee had engaged relevant authorities and stakeholders, including The Office of The President prior to taking this decision, without any signs of resolving the matter," Njie stated.

Considering this, Njie said all UTG activities are to be put on hold, and no office, except the Department of Finance, Internal Audit, and Security, are permitted to work. He said this exception is made to avoid paralyzing the institution. Equally, they have appealed to all the TAC volunteers, among other visiting lecturers, to stay home in solidarity with the UTG Staff.

"As Staff of The University of The Gambia, we resolved that the agreements signed on 3 July 2021 by all stakeholders present at the meeting shall be implemented to the latter.

"Rest assured that we have your back and will not, without fear or favour, compromise the welfare and wellbeing of the staff and students. All shall be duly informed on any positive development," Secretary Njie stated.

Meanwhile, the staff association has also responded to the reaction of the minister of higher education, Badara Joof, on the recent crises at the University of The Gambia (UTG).

The staff association of the UTG has accused Minister Badara Joof of manipulating the President by installing people he can easily handle into the Governing Council of the UTG.

The Minster denied the allegations leveled against him by the UTG staff association, and said the demands of the staff are baseless. He said the strike the staff wants to embark on has no basis.

"With all due respect and consideration to the Hon. Minister, his reaction to the UTG Staff Association's proposed sit-down strike is a gross dismay and insult to the entire stakeholders and in particular the staff association executive and the country at large. Worst enough his statement that; "Staff Association's demands are baseless" is an embarrassment which is not the kind of statement to come from him instead to face the problems with solutions," said Mr. Yusupha F. J. Dibba, a lecturer at the UTG under the School of Business and Public Administration, Department of Economics and Management Sciences in a statement issued to this reporter on Tuesday, 14th September, 2021.

Dibba said since the minister took over the mantle of the University, he never initiated any convergence with the staff to diagnose the problems of the institution under his ministry.

"All the convergence his ministry had with the staff association and stakeholders were externally imposed on him. Hitherto the minister continued to perpetuate the system of divide and rule which has been clearly manifested in his intervention by saying that; "the most important person in the university is the student, and not to go to personal issues, in addition to saying that the demands are baseless."

Dibba said since the inception of this noble institution, there has never been any dispute between lecturers and students..

The minister also questioned the legitimacy of the staff association's involvement in the recruitment of the Governing Council and its members.

"My response to this question is we are not doing business as usual. Therefore, we have to work with best practices happening in the world. I want to assure the Hon. Minister that if we want to construct the Gambia we all want, the "biological families have to give way to ideological families". This is what is retarding the development of the country," he said.

Dibba said the minister has not given any substantive justification for his claims advanced against the Staff Association's proposed strike to be averted without critically analyzing the problems and started crafting positive solutions on or before the deadline.

"My solemn advice to His Excellency is to analyze the issues with their due merits and demerits before taking any decision with the understanding that university is an academic institution and life blood of any country in particular, the economy. Thus, it has to be looked at squarely to arrive at meaningful resolutions," Dibba advised.

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