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Pope Francis calls El Paso bishop and thanks him for showing solidarity with George Floyd protesters

A bishop in Texas received a call of support from Pope Francis after he was pictured kneeling during Black Lives Matter protests that have swept across the country following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Catholic Bishop Mark Seitz, of the Diocese of El Paso, was joined by 12 other priests as they knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds – the amount of time Officer Derek Chauvin stayed on Floyd’s neck.

The group had their eyes closed as they held signs that read ‘Black Lives Matter.’ They also had on masks and held white roses in their hands.

Others at the demonstration held signs that read ‘I want to breathe.’

Two days after the clergy’s demonstration, Seitz received a call after Mass that he was not expecting.

Pope Francis was soon expressing – in Spanish – how grateful he was for Seitz’s response, CNN reports.

‘Through me, he’s expressing his unity with everyone who is willing to step out and say this needs to change,’ Seitz said. (DailyMail)

China steps up its support to Gambia as agricultural supplies land in hands of agric ministry

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China on Friday stepped up its support to The Gambia as its ambassador handed over agricultural machinery, equipment and fertiliser to the ministry of agriculture.

The supplies are set for onward delivery to the country’s farming community.

Ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement on Saturday: “Speaking at the handing over ceremony at the Department of Agriculture in Cape Point, Bakau, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture, Ms. Amie Fabureh, said since the restoration of relations with the People’s Republic of China, The Gambia has seen cooperation in various sectors but most especially in agriculture.

“This, she added is evident with the display of variety of farming equipment and fertilisers received from China. She said the official handing over of this magnificent agricultural equipment/machinery accompanied with their state-of-the-earth accessories and fertilisers has yet marks another milestone towards the realisation of the development of Rice and Horticulture sub sectors value-chain prioritised as flagship projects in the National Development Plan.

“Minister Fabureh said the equipment and fertiliser are crucial ingredient to The Gambia’s economic growth given that agriculture employs over 70 percent of the population and more than half of them are women farmers, noting that women farmers are the core rice and vegetable producers.

“Minister Fabureh on behalf of the President of the Republic of The Gambia H.E. Adama Barrow commended the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Gambia for facilitating the delivery of the agricultural equipment and extended thanks and appreciation to the President of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Xi Jinping for China’s continuous support to The Gambia.

“The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Excellency Ma Jianchun, in his remarks said the handing over ceremony marks an important milestone of cooperation in a bid to protect The Gambia’s food security and to also support efforts of Gambia’s agricultural production and development.

“Ambassador Ma expressed optimism that under the leadership of H.E. President Adama Barrow and with efforts by the Government and the People of The Gambia, there would be victory in combating the novel coronavirus. He pointed out that the economy and people’s lives will get back on track.

“He disclosed that this donation is part of cooperation in the area of agriculture between the two countries. Ambassador Ma recounted the numerous agricultural achievements registered by the Chinese agricultural experts in the Central River Region of The Gambia, adding that the Chinese agricultural experts have reclaimed 7 acres of rice farms to conduct the research for strengthening Gambian rice varieties, and the experiments on adapting high-production hybrid Chinese rice varieties to local natural environment.

“The items donated by the Chinese Ambassador includes 10 metric tons of fertiliser, 30 sets of walking tractors, 30 sets of small rice threshers, 29 sets of rice mill, 25 sets of pumps, 1 set of steering-wheel tractor, 2 sets of diesel engine and corresponding spare-parts, maintenance tools and other materials.

“The items were inspected by dignitaries including the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, Dr. Mamadou Tangara, which followed the singing of Exchange Note by Foreign Minister Tangara and Ambassador Ma.”

‘The evidence speaks for itself’: TRRC’s Dr Jallow says it’s foolhardy for one to say probe is a joke

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By Lamin Njie

It is foolhardy and very unrealistic for anyone to claim that the TRRC is a joke, executive secretary of the probe’s secretariat Dr Baba Galleh Jallow has said.

The TRRC will resume its public hearings on Monday following a six weeks hiatus enforced largely by the coronavirus pandemic. The commission is now set to return.

But the TRRC however continues to be seen in some quarters as a witchhunt of former president Yahya Jammeh. Many of his supporters claim it as a joke.

The investigation’s Dr Baba Galleh Jallow however told The Fatu Network: “The evidence speaks for itself. People have been educated about the human rights violations that occurred in this coutnry within two years.

“We are putting together a historical record for this generation and future generations. That is not a joke. It’s not a joke that victims have been sent to Turkey for medical assistance.

“We are helping victims here at home, medical assistance… We have given employment to some victims, they’re working with the TRRC right now. That’s not a joke.

“Of course critics would have… They have the right to say anything they want and it is for them to change their mindset. As far as the TRRC is concerned, nothing has changed. We’re going to continue doing our work to the best of our ability.

“At the end of the day, we would come out with recommendations to the government as to what we think should happen in terms of institutional reforms and prosecutions.”

Malians rally against President Keita, demand his resignation

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Thousands of Malians joined a protest rally in the capital Bamako on Friday to demand the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita over what they say is his mishandling of many crises plaguing the West African nation.

Keita, re-elected in 2018 for a second five-year term, is struggling with a years-long security crisis in northern Mali, an outbreak of the new corona-virus and political tensions arising from a disputed legislative election in March.

Various political groups and human rights activists helped organise Friday’s demonstration, which had the backing of influential Muslim cleric Mahmoud Dicko.

“I’m here today to tell President IBK (the widely used initials of Keita’s names) that he is incompetent and that he cannot govern this country. He should resign,” Moussa Traore, an unemployed man in his 30s, told Reuters.

Some protesters brandished placards that read “IBK must go” and “No to bad governance”.

Police declined to give an estimate of the number of protesters, but the U.S. Embassy in Mali said on its Twitter account that approximately 20,000 people had gathered at Bamako’s Independence Monument at the start of the rally.

“The crisis in the north has worsened and spread to the centre of the country. There is no security, no jobs,” said Ben Adama Diarra, 33, a spokesman for one of the rally organizers.

“Everyday we record deaths (from the violence and COVID-19). Mali is becoming a large cemetery,” he added.

The Sahel nation, which has a population of around 19 million, has so far reported 1,485 cases of COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the new corona-virus, and 87 deaths.

Mali, which produces gold and cotton, has struggled to find stability since 2012 when jihadist fighters hijacked an insurrection by Tuareg separatists, seizing the entire desert north of the country.

French troops helped to recapture the north but violence persists, despite the presence of thousands of United Nations troops, with groups linked to Al Qaeda and Islamic State stoking inter communal tensions. (CGTN AFRICA)

Breaking news: Government suspends ‘all sales’ of Jammeh’s assets amid appellate court misery

By Lamin Njie

The Barrow administration has halted ‘all sales’of properties stemming from the Janneh Commission’s recommendations, the ministry of justice has announced.

The ministry of justice has been busy selling assets of former President Yahya Jammeh and his associates after the Janneh commission recommended that they should be sold off.

The exercise however suffered a setback earlier this week when the Gambia Court of Appeal ruled against the government saying the Janneh Commission wasn’t an adjudicatory body. The ruling has put the Barrow government in difficult spot.

The ministry of justice reacted to the appellate court’s 1 June ruling in the M.A Kharafi case against the government on Friday saying the court did not in any way state that the Janneh Commission recommendations cannot be enforced, in an attempt to push back at suggestions it was engaged in illegality.

“The Government notes that different interpretations of the ruling are being offered by many including sections of the media,” the ministry of justice said in a statement.

It added: “The Government wishes to clarify to the general public that The Gambia Court of Appeal did not in any way state that the Janneh Commission recommendations cannot be enforced.

“Rather, in a departure from long established practice in this jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal held that an additional legal step needs to be taken by the Executive in order to execute some, and not all, of the recommendations of a commission of inquiry such as the Janneh Commission.

“Indeed, the Gambia Court of Appeal has accepted, in the said ruling, that the position arrived at by the Court in this matter is a novel one.”

The ministry of justice then announced the government is putting on hold ‘all sales’ of properties stemming from the Janneh commission’s recommendations.

“Meanwhile, consistent with the Government’s strong commitment to respect for the rule of law, all sales of properties flowing from the Janneh Commission recommendations have now been suspended in deference to the ruling of the court of appeal until a final pronouncement is made on the matter,” the ministry said.

The ministry said the government plans to seek further litigation regarding the ruling.

“The Government however disagrees with this position by the Court of Appeal and intends to further litigate this matter,” the ministry said.

Full text of Ambassador Carl Paschall’s statement on black man George Floyd’s death

The response of Americans and Gambians to the tragic death of George Floyd is profound pain and anger, as well as a pressing legitimate need to express frustration and seek truth and justice.

Healthy democracies require freedom of speech and peaceful assembly. Those who peacefully gather in our two countries and in democracies around the world to demand justice, an end to racism and discrimination, and meaningful reform are putting into action our shared values of democracy and respect for the human rights and human dignity for all.

In the words of an American hero, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” But, “we must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

We must hear the demands for true equality and justice, and we must all as individuals, and as persons united in our determination, act in our daily lives to put into place a world that realizes true equality and justice. That is my solemn conviction, and that of my entire team. We are committed to listening and I invite you to watch this video on the Embassy Facebook page and to leave your comments.

– Ambassador R. Carl Paschall, U.S. Embassy Banjul

Gambians take part in Friday prayers for the first time in weeks

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The Muslim faithful welcomed the reopening of mosques across the country with congregational prayers on Friday.

President Adama Barrow in March shut down places of worship to combat a spread of coronavirus.

Muslims in the country on Friday descended on mosques to take part in the traditional weekly congregational prayers after the withdrawal of the shutdown on Wednesday.

At Jah Mosque in Kanifing, hundreds of worshippers turned out to participate in the session.

Outside the mosque, social distancing proved impossible as worshippers stood shoulder to shoulder for the two rakah prayers.

Madi Jobarteh shares letter police wrote to them amid claims Gambian activists are fake

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By Lamin Njie

A letter from the police asking a group of Gambians planning to protest against racism in America to temporarily shelve the idea has been shared online by Madi Jobarteh.

Madi Jobarteh and some Gambians under the group name Black Lives Matter The Gambia had wanted to protest outside the US Embassy in Banjul on Monday against the killing of black man George Floyd and Momodou Lamin Sisay.

The group had applied for a permit to embark upon the protest only for them to be told verbally by the police chief he would not be able to grant their request due to the state of emergency.

Madi Jobarteh then announced that the protest had been postponed after a meeting with the police chief. His announcement was however greeted by claims online Gambian activists are not genuine as they didn’t complain against the IGP’s decision.

On Friday, Mr Jobarteh shared a letter the police chief wrote to them through his assistant.

“This decision is premised on observing the 21 days state of public emergency declared by the president of the republic of The Gambia as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 pandemic,” the police chief in the letter signed by Assistant Inspector of General Ebrima Bah said on Friday.

It added: “However, this office respectfully suggests you wait until the expiration of this declaration to enable it consider providing the needful.”

Gambia rights commission tells gov’t it has duty to protect homosexuals

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By Lamin Njie

The National Human Rights Commission has called on the Gambia government to take legal and other measures to protect the human rights and equal treatment of LGBT persons in The Gambia.

The commission in its report submitted to the national assembly standing committee human rights and constitutional matters on Friday has also urged the government to deepen efforts to combat acts of discrimination and violence against LGBT persons as well as create a culture of tolerance for diversity and differences.

“As the primary duty bearer for the respect and protection of the human rights of all persons, regardless of sexual orientation, tribe, sex, religious or other status, the state has the obligation to fight impunity, discrimination, violence, bullying and human rights violation perpetrated against every person living in The Gambia, including the LGBT community. It also should create the environment for everyone to enjoy his or her rights and to protect members of the LGBT community from physical or psychological harm, injury or abuse by other sections of the society,” the NHRC said in its activity report.

It comes as the EU Ambassador got heavily bashed over suggestions The Gambia should moved towards a society where gays would live in peace.

‘They’re part and parcel of this’: N’Yundum VDC accuses NAMs of helping gov’t take their land

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By Lamin Njie

New Yundum Village Development Committee has raised the alarm some of the country’s national assembly members are conspiring with the government to take their land.

New Yundum is the latest Kombo town to become enmeshed in a land crisis amid reports the government has dished out land it took from the community on the pretext of expanding the military barracks there to national assembly members and ‘senior’ government officials.

“They (national assembly members) are part of parcel of this,” Malang Bojang, Village Development Committee secretary told The Fatu Network.

The land in question measures 1000/500 meters and its on the Kombo Coastal Road opposite the Yarambaba Housing Estate.

The Gambia government gave plots of land to the country’s lawmakers from the 40% of the land under its custody.

The people of New Yundum said the government never followed due process of which the national assembly members are complicit.

Bojang said: “Our problem with that area is that when the 40% is being given to national assembly members, at that point in time our issue was at the national assembly already being presented through the Honourable Minister of Information, then he was representing the local government minister.

“He understood that the community is making a claim of the particular land. So we believed that when that 40% is being given to the government, before they start dishing out amongst themselves and even some private individuals…

“So we said, ‘this is a court order, we have issues there, we think the national assembly members should understand our plight as a community before they taking these things [plots of land] to them[selves]’.

“That they must raise a flag to the government, inform them that this [problem] is before us. There will be discussion going around whether they will be going to court or not. But they[re] being complicity. They are part of parcel of this. We will challenge this thing at the courts, whatever the verdict we will take in good faith.”

The chairman of New Yundum Village Development Committee Alhagie H Ceesay said they’re disappointed with the NAMs.

Ceesay said: “We are disappointed with the NAMs. Because these are people that are there for the people and when people have issues, these are the people they go to for help. But to my surprise, in today’s Standard I saw that some NAMs said they would return their land if the court says so.

“They should lead by example. Whatever the government gives them… Even the vehicles [given to them] people have been asking that they find out where it is coming from. So the same thing applies to the land.”

Why the TRRC has still not invited Jammeh to testify

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By Lamin Njie

The TRRC will resume its public hearings on Monday after the coronavirus outbreak in the country saw the investigation abandon the tedious activity.

The probe will finish its public hearings in five months’ time, according to executive secretary Dr Baba Galleh Jallow.

Former president Yahya Jammeh is the man who really matters as the investigation roundly centres on his 22 years rule. He however is yet to be invited to testify.

Dr Baba Galleh Jallow told The Fatu Network in an exclusive interview his probe hasn’t yet reached out to the former leader, who now lives in Equatorial Guinea.

“We haven’t reached out to him for the simple fact that we are still looking at his government. At some point, we might reach out to him but we haven’t done that yet,” Dr Jallow said.

Missing in Action: Jongkunda Daffeh, Gambian Philosopher, Journalist and Activist

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By Hassoum Ceesay

Jongkunda Daffeh was born in 1947. In 1967, he finished at the top of his A Levels Class in Pure Maths! ‘But I had prize winning aptitude in history, literature, French, and Latin also’, he told me in an interview, a few years ago. In 1967-1968, he was pupil teacher at Armitage High School, then very prestigious.

In 1968-1969, he taught at Crab Island School, then a nursery for activists and political hotheads.

In 1969-1970, we worked as assistant reporter at Information Department, sub-editing The Gambia News Bulletin.

In late 1970, he flew to Paris, France, for further studies. In a short period of three years, Jongkunda had garnered profound experience in teaching and newspaper work. But he had gathered experience in other areas too!

He helped to mobilize Gambian youths to vote YES for the 1970 Referendum which took The Gambia into Republican status. As a member of the Ad Hoc Committee of The Gambia National Youth Council, he toured the country telling youths to end the last relict of colonial rule by voting for a Republic of The Gambia!

Therefore, thanks to Jongkunda’s efforts, The Gambia became a sovereign and free Republic. ‘I was very clear in our rallies: I said we the youths need “complete national independence”, he told me in a rare interview on 29 April 2014, at my office at the National Museum, Banjul.

But Jongkunda refused to support Jawara government’s invitation to President Senghor of Senegal to The Gambia on a State Visit. The Youth Council worked with subterranean youth groups like the Kent Street Vous and Fansoto to disrupt Senghor’s visit. Tear gas welcome the Senegal poet-president at Clifton Road, now Independence Drive.

Jongkunda worked with other activists to protest along the route of the state visitor and they succeeded in making Senghore cut short his visit. ‘Senghor was a neocolonialist. He had just put down a popular student uprising in Dakar University in 1968. He refused to allow Amiclar Cabral’s PAIGC use Senegal territory to fight for their independence against the Portuguese colonial rulers.

He was jailing Cheikh Anta Diop and other progressive Senegal leaders. So for us in the Pan Africanist youth movement in Bathurst, Senghor was an unwelcome guest’, he told me. Thanks to Jongkunda’s intrepid leadership, Senghor gave up all ideas of annexing The Gambia or taking President Jawara into the neocolonial fold.

More, in 1969, Jongkunda used his position in the Youth Council to welcome Mariam Makeba and Stokley Carmichael aka Kwame Ture, the great Black Panther and Pan Africanist, to Bathurst, The Gambia. The popular couple were given a hero’s welcome. They met Jawara, and held numerous meetings at Gambia High School Hall and Brikama Youth Centre, preaching the Black Panther ideology of Black Power.

For a short period during their visit, our The Gambia was the mecca of Pan Africansim, anti-Apartheid, Black Power and Left Wing activism against imperialists. Thanks to Jongkunda’s inimitable mobilizing skills, the Makeba-Carmichael visit became a great success.

What was also a great success were Jongkunda’s academic journeys. He read greatly and widely such that by 1972, he was in the league of great thinkers like Daniel Cohn Bendit, the German avant garde intellectual, who led the 1968 student uprising in Paris which almost brought De Gaulle’s right wing government down.

Bendit saw in Jongkunda a effervescent Marxists intellectual! From Paris, Jongkunda went to USA, where he joined the Student Non Violence Coalition(SNCC), which was fighting the kind of racial injustice that led to the murder last week by Police of the Black American, George Floyd. Jongkunda rose through the ranks of the SNCC so quickly that US Police hunted for him. They got him. That is where his mental troubles started.

Where I will end this piece is that when he was forcibly returned home in the late 1970s, he was a mental wreck by design, most likely as he had been adjudged a ‘dangerous and calculated Bolshevik mass organiser’ by the Western Intelligence agencies. They told Gambian police at the Yundum airport: ‘watch this man, he is dangerous’. Nana Grey Johnson has written eloquently on this troubling stage of Jongkunda’s life; so I need not say more.

Except to add that Jongkunda rested a while and then went back into journalism. It was a brilliant sojourn. Be it the Sun, Hibarr, Sun-Torch, Jongkunda wrote the most profound editorials in town. It was thanks to journalists like Jongkunda that the Jawara regime became respected as the champion for human rights in Africa.

Because Jongkunda and others used the liberal space The Gambian constitution afforded them to scrutinize, criticize government policies and personalities. His ilk did not wallow in cheap penmanship, or inchoate journalism. They did it maturely with decorum, firmness and stealth, sometimes.

For example, in 1986, Jongkunda went to the RVH in Banjul armed with his recorder. He had been told by a source that the jailed Gambian intellectual and politician Pap Cheyassin Secka, was sick and would be in hospital that morning.

For nearly a lustrum, Pap, a brilliant Gambian Marxist theoretician alumni of Columbia University, was held in solitary confinement at Mile Two. Gambians were curious to hear from him.

Jongkunda put his small recorder in a thermo flask and gave it to a nurse saying that it was hot water for Pap. Pap, did what he should do and returned the thermo to the nurse who gave it to the crusading journalist Jongkunda. The next day, Jongkunda wrote a five page transcript of Pap’s interview.

But it was final line of the editorial that caught my eye: ‘I know Pap is worth to The Gambia more outside of Jail than inside it. I know also that Jawara, the Fount of Mercy, knows this. I know Jawara loves The Gambia just as Pap. Pap has no place in jail. Let Pap out!’ A few years later, Jawara pardoned Pap.

My uncle and friend Jongkunda has been Missing in Action for nearly three weeks now. ‘Missing in Action’, because he remains a soldier for liberation, free thought, conscience, and humanism. I pray that he is safe and sound. I pray that he returns to family and friends soon.

Remittances to Gambia plunge pushing families into hardship

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By Fatou Camara

Families in The Gambia have started feeling the pain of the coronavirus pandemic as the crisis has seen a lot of their relatives who live abroad go out of work.

According to the integrated household survey, a government study released in October 2017, more than 122,300 households in The Gambia directly benefit from remittance.

“Things have been very hard for me and my family specially during the cause of the Ramadan and Koriteh. I lost one of my son who was here with me and the one in the Diaspora is not working due to the coronavirus and that is why he is not able to send me anything. However, I pray things get back soon “Aja Binta Jammeh told The Fatu.

Aja Binta Leigh on her part said: “I have brothers in the Diaspora and they used to help the family just like others will do.

“What I want to say is that people should understand that it is due to the coronavirus that is why they are not doing it now.”

A released research document by the international fund for agricultural development, June 2017, showed that Gambian migrants contribute 22% of the country’s GDP in 2016.

The report also ranked The Gambia as the second highest recipient of remittance in Africa.

IS PRESIDENT ADAMA BARROW ANOTHER VICTIM OF DYSLEXIA?

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The number of Gambians I posed this question merely expressed their misunderstanding of the the word or their unfamiliarity with the case. But having watched the Gambian president laboriously struggle with reading some simple English words and sentences and embarrassingly mispronouncing commonly-used expressions and phrases, I am somehow counter-intuitively predisposed to assume him an invalid, hinging on clinical dyslexia. Dyslexia is a brain disorder that makes it difficult for those affected to learn to read or interpret words, letters and other symbols, but are not necessarily unintelligent people.

Over 40 million Americans are confirmed dyslexic victims including prominent celebrities such as Anderson Cooper (CNN), Justin Timberlake (musician), Henry Winkler (actor), Steven Spielberg (film writer, director and producer), the late Muhammed Ali (boxer), Whoopi Goldberg (comedian & actress) and many more successful men and women.

All these people have confessed their harrowing experiences, living and growing up with the handicap and how they had eventually succeeded in overcoming their difficulties although after grueling attempts to hide it from the public and even their charitable teachers to avoid the “stupidity stigma”. Until recently when doctors discovered the defect as a natural condition, little or no scientific remedies were explored to deal with it, attributing the abnormality to utter stupidity. But thanks to modern science and technology, successful educational antidotes have now been put in place to help sufferers. Anderson Cooper in sharing his experience explained how as a top-classed journalist still relies on a team of hired readers and interpreters helping him in his presentations, including the CNN program he anchors, “360 degree, with Anderson Cooper”.  Modern devices have also been invented to assist affected CEOs in their everyday businesses. So, like I said, it has nothing to do with a person’s level of intelligence and productivity especially those engaged in their fields of fascination that I am afraid is outside the orbit of a head of state.

In the 2018  Hollywood movie, Night School, comedian and actor Kevin Hart played the part of a young man Teddy Walker, who after dropping out of school later decided to go back and take night classes for his General Education Development (GED). However, shortly after the commencement of classes it dawned on him that he was suffering from both dyslexia and dyscalculia, with the latter being another mental disorder impeding people’s ability to understand numbers and simple arithmetic. Actor Henry Winkler suffers from the acute form of the problem.

President Barrow often applauded as once a successful rent-collector in the best moments of his adult life, keeping balanced sheets of sizable accounts, cannot possibly suffer from dyscalculia. So it is only the dyslexia condition of our “business tycoon” now president, I want us to scrutinize.

Apparently many Africans or Gambians are unaware of this natural disorder which is tantamount to someone being born blind or deaf and having, like I said, nothing to do with a person’s intellectual ability. Notwithstanding I stand to register my concern over whether a dyslexic person can be an effective president, bearing in mind the continuous volume of written materials brought before him for instant reading, comprehension, interpretation and action. There is no excuse or second guessing about how a dependable “team” is always at his disposal for necessary guidance. If that should be the answer then we might as well forgo electing presidents and start electing board of governors.

But I think it should be obligatory for every head of state to prove his ability to read rapidly with perfect comprehension faculty and an informed-decision-making capability on every policy, treaty or suggestion written and submitted on the spot. Two heads of state are sometimes duty bound to confidentially or secretly meet on consultations and deliberations exclusively restricted to only the two of them, where they would read, discuss and agree on policies before notifying their government agencies. If Barrow is dyslexic then Gambia will logically be  at the mercy of crafty leaders, always driven by their national interests first before the mutual or collective ones.

Subjected to confirmation, witnesses claiming to have access to Statehouse activities have reported incidences where the president was repeatedly coached in series of rehearsals to make him satisfactorily read prepared speeches before he is trusted to deliver the final message for recording; and even with all the run-throughs, the coaches would out of hopelessness settle for one or two mispronounced words or phrases that just wouldn’t sink in. I have always been avoiding to raise this observation about President Adama Barrow but when I lately saw his struggle to read ordinary words like “Addis Ababa” and “money laundering and still got them wrong, I decided it was now due to raise my concern about the possibility of his tribulations with dyslexia.

It wouldn’t be fair to conclude without drawing the attention of my readers to President Barrow’s impressive confidence, eloquence and passion as a normal crafty politician every-time he speaks in the local languages, and yes, from a laudable mind of a rare-multilingual person. Bur additionally, if it is left to my single vote to elect a president into office, no matter how well educated the person, the dyslexic contender will never have it.

Thanks for reading. Till next time.

Samsudeen Sarr

New York City

Niamina’s Omar Ceesay knives government over decision to keep Lumos shut

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The national assembly member for Niamina East Omar Ceesay has said the government has manifested insensitivity to the ‘conditions’ of the people by not letting Lumos (open markets) to open.

The Gambia government has announced it is relaxing restrictions on mainstream markets while also withdrawing the shutdown of mosques and churches. Lumos will remain closed.

Niamina east lawmaker Omar Ceesay in a statement said: “Once again, the government have manifested their insensitivity to the conditions of the people who are most vulnerable by the emergency despite been far from the epicentre. It is not logical allowing the daily markets to open while the weekly ‘ lumos’ continue to be banned. There is not reasonable justification for this move by the government.

“Therefore, I wish to urge the government to alongside consider the reopening of ‘Lumos’ in the relaxation of the restrictions of COVID-19 because, I hold the view that if markets in the urban areas are opened from 6am to 6pm considering how crowded they could be on a daily basis as opposed to the weekly ‘lumos’.

“It is necessary to remind the government that the said food package is not accessible and sustainable to all the electorate and to better help them in the long run especially those in the rural Gambia, there is high need for the reopening of the ‘Lumos’ where 85% of which rely on to make ends meet.”

Government says ‘bandits’ masquerading as activists are indulged in impersonating government officials

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The government spokesperson said on Thursday it has come to the notice of The Gambia Government that some bandits masquerading as activists are now indulged in impersonating government officials, publishing false press statements and memoranda on Social Media purporting to be representing Government.

“These utterly criminal acts are nothing short of malicious propaganda calculated to undermine the Government’s genuine efforts to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic,” Ebrima G Sankareh said in a statement.

He added: “Accordingly, The Gambia Government warns all those involved in this nefarious practice to desist immediately or face the full consequence of their illegal actions.”

It comes as the government spokesperson made a new announcement of the relaxation of measures put in place by the government under the state of emergency.

Sankareh said: “For now though, the relaxed restrictions are confined only to markets, houses of worship, and Grade-9 students about to sit their exams and transition to Senior Secondary Schools.

“Therefore, effective immediately, all Gambian markets shall now open from 6:00am—6:00pm daily regardless of what commodities are sold. However, all market vendors, traders, buyers and sellers are strictly urged to continue to observe all the social distancing restrictions imposed by The Health Emergency Proclamation.

“Beginning Friday 5th June, 2020, all mosques shall reopen while still strictly adhering to Government’s outlined physical distancing and related health measures.

“Likewise, all churches shall reopen on Sunday 7th June, 2020 while also strictly adhering to physical distancing and related health measures.

“Equally, all Grade-9 students will benefit from the relaxation of these restrictions to be formally announced by the Ministry of Basic & Secondary Education at a later date.”

GTBoard petitioned over newly set up group as top hotelier Hatib Janneh calls for an association that represents all players

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By Sarjo Brito

Hotelier and business mogul Hatib Janneh has reacted to the establishment of a stakeholder group by non-Gambians called ‘The Restaurant, Bar and Nightclub Association of The Gambia’.

“You cannot have an association that is representing all bars, nightclubs, restaurants and then you only have Lebanese and Tubab, just one Gambian and now they say two.

“I asked Lamin what position they gave him and he said they made him spokesman and the other guy was made translator. For me that’s disrespect.

“I can never go to Holland, open a small restaurant and become the chairman of the restaurant [and] bar [association] in a million years,” Hatib Janneh told The Fatu Network.

He spoke as the newly formed association whose role is to advocate the interest of the leisure and hospitality industry is accused by aggrieved players including Janneh himself of side-lining Gambian owned businesses.

Major players in the industry like Club Envy and Big Apple say they were never notified about the formation of such an organization and therefore think it is non-inclusive or represents the interest of the wider stakeholder base of the sector.

Janneh and other business owners in the leisure and hospitality industry have since taken up their frustration with the Gambia Tourism Board.

They have petitioned the GTBoard demanding that the plight of the so-called association be ignored until all administrative issues that will make them complaint with the interest of the diverse actors in the sector are rectified.

Army dismisses soldier Nuha Conteh and hands him over to DLEAG

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The army has dismissed Nuha Conteh the soldier that opened fire in the air and fled as drug law enforcement officers closed in on him.

Conteh in May made drug squad officers to run for their lives as he opened fire at Kalagi Police Station. The officers had attempted to search his bag which contained cannabis.

Now one month after his arrest, Conteh has been dismissed from the army and handed over to the country’s drug agency.

Army spokesman Major Lamin K Sanyang confirmed the developments.