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EP delegation to The Gambia calls the government to release all protestors arrested in connection with the April protests

Delegation composed of four members of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), David Martin (S&D, UK), Richard Howitt (S&D, UK), Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL) and Karol Karski (ECR, PL) concluded its visit to The Gambia. The Chair of the delegation, Mr David Martin, has stated: "The European Parliament had expressed its concerns about the human rights situation in The Gambia in its urgency resolution of May 2016. The resolution was triggered by the Gambian government's violent repression of peaceful protests in April 2016, by the arrest and torture of protestors, including leading figures from the main opposition party UDP, by the sudden death of the Executive Secretary of the UDP Youth Wing Solo Sandeng in custody and last but not least by serious concern about the likelihood of free and fair presidential elections in December 2016.   The Gambia is facing a presidential election in December 2016. Against this background, the purpose of the visit was to gather information, to influence the government to improve its human rights record and to support human rights campaigners.    The delegation visited two EU-funded projects on empowerment of women and children's rights, and had meetings with representatives of the National Assembly including the minority leader, with the Independent Electoral Commission, the Ombudsman, with women's associations and with opposition parties.    The delegation appreciated the hospitality and openness of its Gambian counterparts. Regrettably, though, government representatives were not available. The delegation also acknowledged the significant progress made in certain areas like the ban on FGM and the envisaged ban on child marriage and were briefed on technical preparations for the elections.    In order to respect international democratic norms, the Gambian government is called upon to release all protestors arrested in connection with the April protests including the UDP leader Ousainou Darboe, to grant access to state media to opposition parties, to allow the United Nations Special Elections Team access to the country and to conduct an independent investigation into Solo Sandeng's death.    It has become clear that important provisions of the Gambian constitution are still to be fully implemented, especially those on freedom of speech and prisoners' rights. So the delegation also encourages the Gambian government to continue with its plans to establish a National Human Rights Commission.   We are interested in having good relations with The Gambia. If however the human rights situation does not improve or should even deteriorate, the European Parliament has indicated that there would be a need to consider targeted sanctions on officials responsible for serious human rights abuses."
REF. : 20160922IPR43732

Ousman Sonko in Sweden

Ousman Sonko, the longest serving Minister of the Interior (10 years), who was relieved of his post on Friday 16 September 2016, is currently in Sweden seeking permanent residence, according to Aftonbladet, a Swedish daily newspaper. “I can confirm that a person with that name has applied for a residence permit in Sweden,” said Irene Sokolow on the Migration Board’s press department. Since last Friday, it was unclear where Ousman Sonko was. But now Aftonbladet newspaper has reported that the ex-minister had made it to Sweden on Tuesday. Having sought for a residence permit, according to an informant, Sonko landed at the airport on Tuesday evening and, shortly thereafter, he applied for asylum. A member of the Migration Board has confirmed that an application for a residence permit has been received. Otherwise, however, the authority is reticent about the case. “I can confirm that an application for a residence permit has been received from a person who has the name you mentioned,” said Irene Sokolow at the Migration Board’s press department. “What is due in the application, whether it is asylum or something else, I cannot say. It’s confidential.” Migration Board does not want to go out with details of where Sonko is located. Normally, he would have been transferred to the Agency’s arrival accommodation in Singapore. “We make individual assessments in each case in terms of accommodation and other circumstances. But what happened in this particular case, I cannot speak about,” said Pierre Karatzian at the Migration Board’s press service. “When people who have high ranks in foreign governments seeking residency in Sweden, the Migration Board informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or other government agencies,” Pierre Karatzian added. “In the case of a person who has high positions in another country, we can of course contact the Swedish authorities who may be interested to know that the person in question is here.” Source : the point

FAO provides D20.4 million to fight Whitefly infestation

Abdoulai G. Dibba

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has provided the sum of 20.4 million Dalasi to the The Gambia to support the Ministry ofAgriculture to conduct a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) to control the devastating Whitefly infestation in the country. This was disclosed by Madame Mariatou Fall, who was delivering a statement on behalf of the FAO Country Representative at a workshop held in collaboration with the Plant Protection Services under the Ministry ofAgriculture on Wednesday 21 September, 2016 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. Madame Mariatou Njie said the Whitefly which originated from Central America and theCaribbean is now widespread in West Africa and devastating fruit trees, vegetables and ornamental plants in the Gambia thus resulting in economic loss to farmers and communities. She added that this situation is threatening to the livelihood and food security of communities and has great economic significance. It is for this reason, said Madame Njie, that Ministry of Agriculture and FAO designed a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) to control this devastating insect pest. Madame Njie told the participants that the objective of the TCP is to control this Whitefly in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner, by employing integrated pest management approaches and building the capacity of the Plant Protection Services in terms of human resource capacity and equipment to control the Whitefly. The FAO official said the capacity of national experts and farmers will be strengthened and the resilience of farmers enhanced and their livelihoods restored. She said the project fits in well with the FAO’s first strategic objective which is to help eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, and its second Strategic Objective: Making agriculture more productive and sustainable. In delivering his opening statement, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture Sheriffo Bojang said the spiraling Whitefly was first observed in Florida by Russell in 1957 and that in 1992, it was discovered in continental Africa with a severe outbreak reported in Nigeria, thence to other West African countries, including The Gambia. Deputy Minister Bojang said PPS has observed these pests on numerous fruit trees, shade trees, ornamentals and vegetables everywhere in the country, particularly in the West Coast and North Bank regions that this is why the TCP will be targeting these two highly infested regions. Up till now, he said, the population and infestation levels of these flies continue to increase tremendously and that the pests are found to be causing a lot of damages on mangoes, papaya, guava, citrus, plum, sour sop, noni, shade trees and ornamental plants. Deputy Minister Bojang revealed that a significant negative economic impact of up to 100% yield losses has been realised in some instances with papaya and citrus fruits. Plant Protection Services, Department of Agriculture, he said, is the hub for their plant health issues and that the plant health issues are of universal concern as enshrined in the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and in the new Plant Health ProtectionBill 2014 of the Ministry of Agriculture. “To conclude my speech, I would, on behalf of the Honourable   Minister   and the   Government   of   this Country likes to earnestly thank FAO through its able Representative Madam Papetua Katepa Kalala and team for joining hands with us in the fight against the white flies,” he said. Speaking earlier in his welcoming statement, Falalo Touray, the Director General ofAgriculture, said the magnitude of crop loss and destruction to landscape and ornamental plants as a result of the whitefly infestation in the West Coast and North Bank regions is reaching significant proportions. More importantly, he noted, is the fact that there is also a high risk of the insect pest spreading to new locations in The Gambia and to neighbouring countries if preventive measures are not swiftly put in place because the Whitefly has no border. He concluded that failing to address this infestation in the North Bank may have anadverse effect on Upper River and the West Coast.  

“We have been denied access to our clients” Says Lawyer Mendy in UDP 15 trial

By Rohey Jadama

Barrister Rachel Y Mendy, the lead defence   Counsel  in the criminal trial involving 14 UDP militants has yesterday 21 September,2016 told the Banjul High that they have been denied access to their clientswho are being remanded at mile two central prison. Lawyer Mendy made this remark before Justice O. Otaba of the Special criminal Division of the Banjul High Court. She further argued that if family members are allowed access to the accused persons, they should also be allowed access to their lawyers. She said they were kept waiting for 3 hours and only to be told that the person responsible is not around. The accused persons namely   Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, a mother of a four months old baby, Lele Bojang , Alkali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Solo Kurumah (Deceased) , Muhmmed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suma and Lamin Dampha. They  are being tried on seven counts of ‘Conspiracy to commit Felony’, ‘Unlawful Assembly’,’ Riot’, ‘Incitement of Violence’, ‘interfering with vehicle’, ‘Holding a possession without a permit’ and ‘Disobeying order to disperse’, to which they all  pleaded not guilty to. When the case was called Lawyer B. Jaiteh appeared for the state, while Lawyers Rachel Y Mendy, Yassin Seneghore, and Aji Combeh Gaye announced their representation for all the accused persons. “My lord from the records all the accused persons are present except the 6th accused person Solo Kurumah and maybe the state can explain why”, said defence counsel Mendy. Responding to Lawyer Mendy , state counse Jaiteh told the court that he is reliably informed by the prison authorities that the 6th accused passed away.  At this juncture, Sub-Inspector Kalipha Bojang , a prison officer told the court that the accused person passed away last month. “We’ve been just informed that they carried out an autopsy report, if counsel can be provided with a copy of the  autopsy report and  as well as the dead certificate”, said Barrister Mendy. At this juncture, Justice Otaba told Sub-Inspector Bojang to bring the autopsy report and the dead certificate   at the next adjourned date. Sub-Inspector Bojang told the court that he has the original at his office but that he has served state counsel Jaiteh with the photocopy of the said report. However, Lawyer Mendy argued that   the original should be in the custody of the court not the photocopy. At this stage Lawyer Jaiteh applied to withdraw the exparte motion dated 23 August, 2016. Without any objection from the defence team, the said motion was accordingly struck out by the court. “My Lord there is a pending application   before the court which is an application for bail. We were served with an affidavit of opposition and we wish to reply to it.  Apart from applying to move the bail application orally, we wish to file an affidavit of reply”, submitted Barrister Mendy. Delivering his ruling Justice Otaba, ordered both parties to file written briefs. He said it is the constitutional right of the accused persons to have access to their lawyers.  He ordered the Director General of the Prisons to help in facilitating the accused persons to access their lawyers. After parties were given 3 days each to file their written briefs, the case was subsequently adjourned to 5 October, 2016 at 12noon for adoption of briefs. Source Foroyaa

Gambia’s Auditor General presents a grim report on Gambia’s Fiscal Standing

GOVERNMENT AUDITED ACCOUNT IN the year 2011, presented to the National Assembly on Monday19 Sept 2016, and was adopted by the National Assembly on \wednesday 21 Sep 2016 PAC PEC RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE AUDITED ACCOUNTS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE GAMBIA FOR THE YEAR ENDED 2011 2.1       Do-presented Payment Vouchers Audit Query: The issue of Un-presented  payment vouchers has been a subject of previous management  letters  and  audit  report on  the audit  of  the  Government  of  the Gambia financial statements for 2011 showed that 162 payment vouchers were not presented for examination. MOFEA/AGD Response: Out of the 162 documents (D6,129,930.24) that the auditors listed as un-presented, 117  documents  (D5,902,026.47) were subsequently  located  and are available  at the Accounting Unit of the Accountant General’s Department for inspection by the auditors. Our investigation and observations reavealed that many of these documents were previously presented to the auditors, and were marked (with green pen) as seen. Electronic  copies  of  all  payment  vouchers  and  other  documents,  as  raised  and approved hy the ministries and departments, are also available on the IFMIS. 2.2 Payment Vouchers without Supporting Documents Audit Query: The  Auditor  General’s  report  on  the  2011  financial  statement’s  reported  that  58 payments totaling D2,073,017.07 were made without supporting documents attached to the payment vouchers to substantiate payment. MOFEA/AGD Response: During our investigations we inspected 47 (Dl,456,288.07) out of the 58 payment vouchers (D2,073,017.07) that the auditors said had no supporting  documents  at ill, and  all  of  these  have  supporting  documents  to substantiate   the  payments. Efforts are being made to retrieve the remaining supporting documents. The   highlighted   vouchers   relate   to  project   payments/disbursements  that  are normally  initiated  by  letters  of  instruction  to  authorise  the  processing  of  the payments. These letters are attached to the payment vouchers. 2.3       Breach of GPPA Regulations/ Payment Vouchers with Single Quotations Audit Query: The  Auditor  General  reported  that  during  the  verification of  the  payment vouchers, they noted that payment vouchers amounting to D910,165.00 were supported with only one invoice as opposed to the three quotations required by the GPPA. MOFEA/AGD Response: Eight out of the nine highlighted payment vouchers, amounting to D878,195.00, relate to payments in respect of Food and Food Services for the Gambia National Army and Gambia Prisons Services. These were tendered and contracted to suppliers, thereby not requring the usual three quotations. Evidence of the contract awards were provided to the auditors. The relevant invoices were attached to these payment vouchers. The provision of three quotaions for payments relating to maintenance of motor vehicles, for the remaining payment voucher, has been posing a challenge as diagnosing faults do also attract service charges. However, sectors are now fully complying  with  the  provision  of  three  quotations  for  maintenance  of  motor vehicles. 2.4       Virements Audit Query: It is noted from the Auditor General’s     report that virement were made in four (4) budget line items totaling to D6,279,794.00 for which no budget line in the approved 2011 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure. MOFEA/AGD Response: Budget  lines  can  be  funded  through  virements  provided  that  they  are  duly authorised and approved in accordance with provisions of the Budget Management and Accountability Act  2004 Part V section30 subsection 5.  All the budget lines identified were funded   by quoting corresponding savings from within   the approved budget. All the virements were approved by the honourable Minister of Finance, and evidence of this is available for inspection. 2.5       Misclassification of Expenses Audit Query: The  Auditor  General   reported   that   84   payment   vouchers   amounting   to D5,592,230.00 were charged to wrong votes. MOFEA/AGD Response: After  further  review  of  the  list  of  the  84  payments  vouchers  amounting  to D5,592,230.00 that the auditors claimed to be charged to wrong budget line, only 12 payment vouchers amounting to D297,965.00 may have been misclassified or charged to the wrong budget line. 2.6 Exclusion of Government Funds  at Commercial Banks in Financial Statements Audit Query The Auditor General reported that a review  of confirmations from commercial banks during the period of audit revealed an amount totaling D796,879.26 held in various commercial banks which were not disclosed in the financial statements and added that this is in addition to commercial bank accounts totaling D/7,646,324.25  that   were   identified   in  the   prior  year   audit   that  remain undisclosed. MOFEA/AGD Response: We have  written  to all the  banks concerned  to transfer  all the funds  in those accounts to the Government Consolidated Fund Accounts and get the accounts closed.  However,the balance of the embassy account was transferred to the Consolidated Revenue Fund account, and the account has since been closed 2.7 Cash and Bank Audit Query The  joint  session observed  from the Auditor  General’s  report  that reconciling items  arising  from  monthly  bank  reconciliation   were  not  investigated   and corrected on time. There is risk that errors and orfraud might go undected for a fond time  if reconciliations are not done on the specific period it relates to. MOFEA/AGD Response: Bank reconciliations are performed on a daily basis and reviewed by supervisors. Unreconciled  items are adequately followed  up at the level of the reconciliation unit and appropriate actions taken. 2.8 Dormant Accounts Audit Query: It    is  reported  in  the  Auditor  General’s   report  that  a  review  of  the  audited financial statement of the government revealed instances where accounts with substantial amounts, lay dormant for over two years, whilst the government is in need of funds. MOFEA/AGD Response: An instruction to transfer the balances of the three deposit bank accounts to the Government Consolidated  Revenue Fund Account, and get the accounts closed, was issued to Central Bank of the Gambia. This was acted  upon on 28th September  2015.However   one of the accounts is active  and cannot therefore be closed. 2 .91mprest Audit Query: The  Auditor  General  indicated  in  his  report  an  unretired  imprest  balances  of D72,928,499.90 for the financial year ended 3F 1 December 2011. MOFEA/AGD Response: The  outstanding  imprests  totalling  D72,  928,499.90  is  cumulative  as  at  31st December 2011. Out of this amount:
  • D34,227,149.86 relate to  retired  expenditures  from  the  Embassies  and documentations are available
  • Dll,345,616.12 have been retired by individuals, and documentations arc available
Several communications (including Ref: DE 57/0l/P.7 (55,)) have been sent out to the sectors to work on getting the outstanding imprests retired. 2.10Un-presented Loan Agreement Documents Audit Query: Sixteen  external  loan  agreement  documents  were  submitted  by  Ministry  of Finance. These loans have outstanding principal balances of D1,813,841,000.00 as at 31 December 2011. MOFEAIAGD Response: Out of the 16 loan agreements amounting to D1,813,841,000, 10 documents amounting to Dl,465,619,000 are available  at the Directorate of Loans and Debt Management, for inspection by the auditors. 2.11Non-disclosure of Domestic Debt Holders Audit Query: The auditor General reported that a review of financial statements revealed outstanding domestic debt balances of D9,454,271,000 for the year ended 31 December 2011, These domestic debts were not classified in terms of debt holders and could not therefore confirm the subscribers of these debts instruments. There is a risk that disclosures made in the financial statements are inadequate. MOFEA/AGD Response: In  the  financial  statements,  domestic  debt  is  classified  by  categories  of  debt holders and  by instrument  type, as prescribed  in the Public  Finance Act 2014. Hence, disclosures are provided under the following categories: CBG holding, commercial bank holdings and non-banking holding. However, we do not provide confidential data of individual subscribers  for public information. 2.12   On-lending to Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) Audit Query: The Auditor General in his report on 2011 GoTG financial statement reported that a review of documents and discussion with officials at MoFEA reveal that government  on-lend  loans   to   Gambia  Civil   Aviation  Authority,  NAWEC, GAMTEL and Gambia Groundnut Cooperation were omitted from the financial statements. MoFEA was unable to provide the total loans outstanding to these enterprises  during the period under audit. There is a risk that disclosures of on­ lending GBEs are not accurate or complete, lending to misstatement in the financial statements. MOFEA/AGD Response: The  Government  has  the  following  On-lending  agreements  with  State  Owned Enterprises, namely:
  • Rural Electrification Project (EBID)- NAWEC
  • Rural Electrification Project (ADF)- NAWEC
  • Rural Electrification Project (BADEA)- NAWEC
  • Rural Electrification Project (IsDB)- NAWEC
  • Banjul Port Project II (ADF) -GPA
These   are  available   for   inspection   at  the  Directorate   of   Loans  and  Debt Management. 2.13 Non-disclosure of Grants Received Audit Query: The Auditor General reported that his review of financial statements indicated that there were no grants received by government during the financial year ending 3r1 December 2011 but corroborative evidence received during discussion with officials at MoFEA revealed that there were some grants received during the year and concluded that the financial statements did not comply with IPSAS. MOFEA/AGD Response: Government  maintains  two  separate  platforms  for  recording  disbursement   of grants and government financed operations.  Grants disbursements are recorded in CS-DRMS 2000+ platform while government financed operations are captured in EPICOR platform.  These systems were not interfaced in 2011 and hence were missing  in  the  financial  statements,  which  are  produced  from  the  EPICOR platform. The  interfacing of the two systems  is at an advanced stage and  once completed  would address this issue.   However, this data is available at MOFEA upon request and is also published in the MOFEA annual debt bulletin.  Efforts are being made to ensure that they are disclosed in the financial statements. 2.14Un-presented Revenue Vouchers Audit Query: The Auditor General reported that 797 revenue vouchers totaling Dll ,OJ0,233.58 were not presented up to the finalization of the management letter.   The total revenue amounts quoted in the financial statements might not be accurate. MOFEA/AGD Response: All the revenue receipts are available for inspection. 2.15Contingency Fund Audit Query: The Auditor General reported discrepancy of DJ,999,000.00  was identified between withdrawals for national emergencies on note 24 (contingency fund) and the Summary of Expenditure Re-allocated from U-allocated expenditure. MOFEA/AGD Response: The withdrawals  for national emergencies  amounting  to D8,891,000  on Note 24 (Contingency) is in line with the total virements from the Contingency  budget line items       as   can   be   confirmed   frcm   the   Itemised     Virement/    Supplementury Appropriation Report. However, we  are  currenlty  analising  the  Re-allocation  of  Un-allocated Expenditure  figure of D10,891,000 on the Summary Statement of Expenditure Re­ allocated  from  Un-allocated Headings  to  find  the  cause  of  the  discrepancy between the two reports. 2.16GRA tax arrears not provided Audit Query The Joint Session noted from the review of the Auditor General’s report that the tax arrears were not provided by GRA and hence we  could not confirm the outstanding arrears disclosed in the financial statements. Their is risk that government would not be able to establish the full extent of tax arrears owed by individuals and corporations leading to increased risk of financial loss through tax evasion. The joint session recommends that appropriate action be taken by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to ensure that the schedule of arrears of tax revenue is provided by GRA on a monthly basis. This will help identify individuals and corporations that have tax arrears at the year end. MOFEA/AGD Response: Follow  up was made with GRA who have provided the most recent list of   tax arrears and its available for inspection. 2.17     Non Consolidation of Self-Accounting Projects Audit Query: The Auditor General reported that the accounts of self-accounting projects have continuously been  omitted  from  the consolidated government financial statements over the years. MOFEA/AGD Response: Self-accounting projects have not been consolidated because returns have not been received from the projects. Government  has now made a decision to extend the IFMIS  to all self-accounting  projects to ensure that they are consolidated in the Government fmancial statements. Currently we have extended the IFMIS to four self-accounting projects as a pilot. These are IFMIS II and the ISEFPG projects under the Ministry  of Finance and Economic   Affairs,   READ   Project   under  Ministry   of  Basic   and  Secondary Education and WARCIP under Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure. Also  as  part  of  the  IFMIS  Additional  Financing  Project,  the  IFMIS  will  be extended to all the remaining self-accounting projects within Government. 2.18No reconciliation between MO.FEA records and Creditors Audit Query: The Auditor General reported that there was no systemic reconciliation between the outstanding debt records maintained by MoFEA and creditor statements. Discussion with officials revealed that reconciliation is only performed on a needs basis and it is limited to periodic confirmation of outstanding debt balances sent by creditors. MOFEA/AGD Response: There has not been comprehensive reconciliation between MOFEA and our main creditors  due  to  the  irregular  meeting  of  operations  officers  of  the  parties concerned. Furthermore, creditors do not regularly provide periodic statements on the outstanding debt and this has also affected the frequency of debt data reconciliation. Efforts are being made to institutionalise regular debt data reconciliation between the parties. A representative of MOFEA was sent to BADEA, this year, to perform reconciliation on the outstanding debt.  Also, there are plans to engage the remaining major creditors for the purpose of institutionalising debt data reconciliation. 2.19No record of Domestic Debt Information Audit Query: The Auditor General reported that although the debt database at the Ministry of Finance has both the functionality and the capability to capture domestic debt information.   However, the Ministry did not maintain any domestic debt information but instead relies on central/ Bank for its domestic debt information. MOFEA/AGD Response: The responsibility of domestic debt management had been delegated to the CBG through a memorandum of understanding.  All domestic debt data is maintained by  the CBG  as  stipulated  in  the  MOU.  However, the Ministry  has  started recording the domestic debt data in our debt recording system and is being reconciled periodically. Source Gainako


Isatou Njie Saidy shamelessly came to the 71st United Nations General assembly with her “spongy verbiage” again. Calling For WHAT in her speech? An expansion of the united nations security council? Isatou Njie Saidy your shameless hirer Yahya Jammeh and you the emissary of an evil and an uncivil, creepy serpent, should have been murmuring these words before you started disgracing your delegation! Here are the words: “evil sees what evil does”. You are evil therefore cannot see anything else other than evil where ever you go. With regards to what you said in respect of the replacement of the current UN SG, do you think people did not read between the lines? Banki Moon did not entertain Yahya’s insanity when they last saw along the corridor at the UN. Haha! so you are still feeling jittery and riled up about that? Wait and see how the next UN SG will treat Yahya! In fact he or she will be the one to revise reports on his case while his trial is on the way. What you Isatou needed to do though was read your resignation letter at the podium, turn around and seek for asylum, using under serving an incapacitated president as premises to justify your case. Isatou Njie! Before “admonishing” United Nations Security Council here are here is a list or woes and misery caused by you and Yahya Here goes the list: Corruption, Torture as culture, Killings, Disappearances and Turning Gambia Into A Breeding Ground Of Terrorism. Isatou Njie Saidy, Neneh Mcdoll Gaye, Fatou Mass Jobe, Fatou Lamin Faye, Fatou Jahumpa Ceesay enought to show us the The Female Side Of Opportunism, Shamelessness And evil. All of them were close to Ousman Sonko until last week Friday. By The Way Neneh Mcdoll Gaye Get Ready For A Special Release On The Activities Of Daughter “Pikin”. END.

Ousman Sonko Seeks Asylum In Sweden

Swedish newspaper has reported the Gambia’s dismissed Minister of Interior sought asylum in Sweden upon arrival at the airport. Ousman Sonko was fired and replaced by Momodou Alieu Bah last week. He was reported to have handed himself over to the police. Mr. Sonko, a key ally of President Yahya Jammeh, has been implicated in so many atrocities in the country. He was accused of spearheading the assassination of a leading newspaper journalist Deyda Hydara. Sonko was also implicated in the extrajudicial killing of Lt. Almamo Manneh, former Logistics Officer at State House. Ends Source :  Kaironews



 By: Ousainou Mbenga The science fictions of creating monsters in the laboratory usually include a plan to kill the monster when it gets out of control. In the tragedy that befell our beloved Gambia; those who created the monster Jammeh made the fatal mistake of not having a plan to “neutralize” him when he gets out of control. Notwithstanding that this “experiment” was conducted outside the laboratory, there were ample signs of an uncontrollable monster in the making. Out of the original five council members, Jammeh emerged to the top through monstrous acts of outright barbarism. Sadibou Hydara was murdered under custody; Sana sabally imprisoned for 9 years, Edward Singhateh and Yankuba Touray are permanently emasculated after Jammeh soiled their hands with the blood of other soldiers and civilians alike. A few among us raised the warning alarm from day one about these traitorous “soldiers with a difference” shrouded in “transparency, accountability and probity”. But his creators were afflicted then and now with a broad “political blind spot” which retarded their ability for insight and foresight. The “anything but Jawara” slogan became the “anthem” of the foolhardy creators who lifted the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) onto the “saddles of power”. And the downtrodden –meddlesome masses, misled by the euphoria of the empty promises for change became the cannon fodder for their lighting “ascension to power” and ultimately the formation of the civilianized Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC). Plans to control Jammeh’s monstrous actions came a little too late from soldiers and their civilian allies who took Jammeh for granted. From the AFPRC to APRC; a span of 22 years of Jammeh’s tyranny has brought us to another crossroad far more dangerous and volatile than the crossroads we found ourselves in 1994. In fact the wretched conditions in our beloved Gambia have degenerated to unprecedented levels. The social and political conditions under which monsters could be created still present themselves. With escalating uncertainty, the youth see no future to look forward to but the treacherous “back Way” for the” not so greener pastors” of Europe. Our women folk, mostly the mothers of these youth, have come to realize that they have been used and discarded by Jammeh and his APRC. Worst still are the young women who share the same fate as young men but have been reduced to sex objects in return for jobs and other menial favors from the APRC. Remnants of Jammeh’s creators are still around, notwithstanding, some have regretted their association with the Jammeh regime. Many are jumping out of the rudderless APRC ship on the brink about to sink. On the other hand, the willfully ignorant “loyalists” are desperately clinging on to the monster’s tentacles hoping for another election victory for Jammeh on December 1, 2016.     The ominous slogan “anything but Jammeh” must not be part of our discourse just as “anything but Jawara” wasn’t. It is an insult to settle for “anything” after 22 years of rudderless leadership. This is the moment to make DEMANDS of our leaders and put them to the test; not giving them a chance. We must not leave anything to chance with endless wishing.     We must cultivate the society that creates leaders whose “humility is their strength and integrity their greatness”. We must choose from the best sons and daughters of our beloved Gambia for leadership. Putting leadership to the test and challenging their wrong decision are the only guarantees against the abuse of authority. The masses of our people must become more meddlesome in the affairs of government and not leave it to the whims of presidents and their cronies.       In conclusion, our “nation” in anguish is at a critical juncture of our history, demanding for leadership to rescue us from Jammeh’s tyranny. This is the ultimate test to the opposition parties of our beloved Gambia. The vast majority of Gambian voters are poised for the final offensive against the Jammeh regime and ready to cast their lot with a united opposition on December 1, 2016. Are you leaders of the opposition parties ready to make history with the Gambian voters? The political terrain is now more fertile than ever before, let’s plant the seeds and cultivate the upright leadership now and forward into subsequent generations.   ONE GAMBIA! ONE NATION! WE WILL WIN!