Monday, July 22, 2024

Gambians Are Responsible for the Country’s Internal Bleeding: Attitudinal Change is Needed

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By Gikey Drammeh, former Spokesperson of UTGSU legislative body

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I am extremely concerned about the Gambia, a nation that has not changed in the fifty-nine years since it attained independence, nor am I aware that it is showing any indications of transformation. I cry so much sometimes when I think about the situation, we’re in. Many problems in the Gambia are getting worse. The following are a few possible contributory factors:

  1. Lack of patriotism: It is very terrible, depressing, and dishonest to the country that the majority of the Gambians do not have a sense of nationality (NOT PATRIOTIC). Gambians don’t love Gambia. The country should always come first in anything that will contribute to growth, but Gambians prioritize their personal gain over the wellbeing of the nation. The incorporation of civic education into our curriculum at this point is very late. It has prevented many people from becoming patriotic thinkers since their elementary school days and fostered a culture of self-centeredness, all in the name of developing oneself rather than the nation. I urge every Gambian to adopt a new mindset that prioritizes the nation over self-interest; this is what truly defines a patriot, one who dedicates their life to advancing the nation’s interests. ALL NEGATIVE MINDS TOWARD GAMBIA SHOULD BE ELIMINATED, LET’S LOVE GAMBIA AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT.
  2. Employment is not based on merit but on connection: Political ties, or who you know rather than what you know, are the basis for employment in the Gambia. It has been customary for many people to have jobs obtained through back doors, which means they did not fulfil the necessary qualifications for particular positions. The government of the Gambia should look into the need for significant civil service reform in order to establish an appropriate employment system in a morally upright way. This will help us have the right people in the right positions and do what is right and get it right. NO TO NEPOTISM, EMPLOYMENT SHOULD BE BASED ON MERIT.
  3. Poor functioning of Government Institutions: Many of the government institutions that are essential to the daily functioning and provision of services in our democratic environment are not performing as expected. A nation with weak institutions is doomed to failure. To start,
  • Education system: This system in the Gambia is not as good as education in many other countries; our curriculum is not designed to help students become independent thinkers who can start their own businesses (Self Employment). Ministers in this sector should assess the educational curriculum and make improvements that would aid our education system. We should review our educational curriculum and tailor it in a format that will suit the academic atmosphere of the Gambia. However, if we want to see the kind of development we want, the government of the Gambia should prioritize education. Students are not given the learning environment and resources they need in schools to make good academic achievement. Students are confined to studying to pass exams and memorize words and numbers at schools. Instead of learning new talents or skills and gaining knowledge to start their own business (self-employment), It’s sad that even PhD degree holders are looking for jobs. People cannot create jobs for themselves, this is why the unemployment rate is high which is extremely depressing. GAMBIANS DESERVE BETTER EDUCATION SYSTEM.
  • Interior: There should be a strong focus on the weakening security situation in the Gambia. National security needs to be closely watched in order to safeguard people’s lives and property as well as to foster harmony and peace. The minister in charge of this area should take the lead and work strategically with all of the heads of the security forces to support our men and women in uniform. To encourage our servicemen and women to protect lives, property, and the Gambia’s sovereignty, appropriate working conditions, protection gear, and other incentives should be provided. NO TO CRIMINALISM, LIVES AND PROPERTIES SHOULD BE PROTECTED.
  • Judiciary System: Every nation’s hope and component for successful and efficient governance is this system, and the Gambia Judiciary system is weak. The legal system ought to be uniform, follow the law, and carry it out. Laws are not made to protect specific people; rather, they serve as a framework for standing up for what is right, supporting democracy, and national growth, protection of human rights, and the establishment of responsible government. NO TO INDECENT AND UNFAIR JUSTICE, GAMBIANS DESERVE A BETTER JUDICIARY SYSTEM.
  • Agriculture: As it is commonly known the foundation for the development of any country. The landscape of The Gambia is favourable, with wide-open spaces, high levels of organic nutrients in the sand, and enough water bodies for the development of both crops and livestock. Agriculture as a ministry is stagnant even though it has the highest number of Master’s and PhD holders among its peers. All that we do is import rice, oil, and a wide variety of other necessities for human consumption. There’s not really much production as we expect from this ministry, because it lacks the authority and resources to engage in commercial farming due to corruption, farmers are discouraged from farming for economic gain. Instead, the majority of them practice subsistence farming, which involves cultivating for domestic consumption. The goal of becoming self-sufficient is not something we take seriously. Even though the Gambia has vast areas of land that may be used for this purpose. Why is the Ministry of Agriculture at Kombo rather than in the CRR, URR, or North Bank? Why are all Master’s and PhD holders in offices instead of out in the field carrying out technical and practical tasks? If we want to see change, let’s introduce new operating procedures in this ministry. All Agriculturalists, including the minister himself, should be sent to Jahal Pacha and numerous other farms in the Gambia’s rural areas. If done as directed, I believe this will help promote self-sufficiency in food and a sustainable way of life. ALL AGRICULTURISTS INCLUDING THE MINISTER SHOULD BE SENT TO FARMS, AND COMMERCIAL FARMING SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED AND OBSERVED CONTINUOUSLY.
  • Tourism: The tourism sector of our government is the worst. What is the minister doing to support our tourism business? Nothing at all. This sector is important since it helps a state stimulate economic growth. The Gambia might have seen some changes if this industry performed as envisioned. However, it is disheartening that people in this sector only take per diem trips around the globe for fun and pleasure. Let the minister and his people use creativity to market the hospitality and tourism industry in a way that would call on the attention of tourists and foreign investors from all over the world. CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE TOURISM WE NEED, STOP ALL UNNECESSARY TRAVELS
  • Trade and Employment: As a key area for national development, the trade and employment ministry should be carefully examined. The minister in charge of this area should have a strategic approach and establish policies for his ministry that will help in the growth of the labour, domestic, and international markets. This will boost economic expansion and positively affect the lives of Gambians and businesses. It is distressing to see how pricey our homegrown products have become. Why are the items made here in our own country so expensive? Such produce should be reasonably priced so that many people can afford it. CREATE MORE JOBS AND CONTROL PRICES OF IMPORTED GOODS AND MAKE OUR HOME GOODS AFFORDABLE.
  • Finance and Economic Affairs: Every nation’s ability to flourish is influenced by its financial and economic position. The motivation underlying a country’s entire development programme is this ministry. We should request that the minister in charge of this area thoroughly investigate the ministry and create strategies to oversee all financial transactions. The flow of money should be relevant and strategic both inside and outside of our country in order to defend against corruption and avoid unnecessary spending. A comprehensive financial analysis must be in place before the available money for national development can be used appropriately. NO TO STEALING OF PUBLIC FUNDS, MANAGE THE PUBLIC FUNDS, PUBLISH ALL AUDIT REPORTS, SHOW ACCOUNTABILITY AND TRANSPARENCY ON THE USE OF PUBLIC FUNDS.
  • Health: Health should be everyone’s concern and it is sad to see hospitals are not equipped and find it difficult to have medicines. If our hospitals are built only to prescript medicines to go and buy at the private pharmacy, it is better we demolish all and give space for the herbalists who can help us with our traditional medicines. A lot of money was pumped into this sector, yet our public hospitals cannot even provide sufficient medicines. The minister for health should act urgently and fix this problem. This is very easy to do, just stop unnecessary workshops, treks and all forms of travel, use the money allocated for those areas and buy medicines and tools to equip our hospitals to a standard that will help provide proper medication for Gambians and non-Gambians. Maternity death rate is high in the Gambia nowadays, this is because there are no proper medical services and environments to help pregnant women in the labour rooms. NO TO CORRUPTION, WE NEED DECENT AND STANDARD HOSPITALS AND PROPER MEDICATIONS FOR THE POOR GAMBIANS!
  • Environment: The environment serves as the heart for all activities and services, including accommodation, industrialization, agriculture, sports, and recreation. It’s essential as a result. The ecosystem needs to be protected and controlled; there is no justice for it. Seeing how filthy and littered the Gambia’s environment is, the government should implement laws enforcing reasonable environmental regulations to ensure that our surroundings are free of rubbish and pollutants. All parks housing various animal species should be protected; there should be no prejudice against the environment; wild animals have the same rights as humans to exist; and no reserve lands should be sold for personal gain. We should consider the younger generation and future generations for specific national structural development, as we should all be anticipating the county’s progress. NO TO ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE!
  1. Time for politics: Since there isn’t a designated time for politics in the Gambia, dialogues regarding challenging and pressing issues that need discussion aren’t given much thought. Politicians characterize their rivals as enemies and point out their deficiencies, but they rarely take decisive action to resolve some of the challenging issues at hand. Every day and everywhere, in homes, offices, and ghettos, there will be political talks. As Gambians, it is our duty to discern when, where and how to have political discussions. To see the Gambia through for development, individuals should support one another’s efforts and give priority to the national development plan. Politics is not the solution, and it will never help this country progress. When elections are approaching, we can all play politics, but everyone else should focus on their jobs, we all have rights to participate in politics and every right correspond with responsibility. Therefore, it is our collective responsibility as Gambians to make every effort to improve The Gambia. I recommend a National Bantaba every year or every two years, where all the politicians, National stakeholders, civil societies, pressure groups, youth and women groups to have National discussions on challenging issues and find ways of addressing them, this way we can develop as a nation. NO TO POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS IN OUR OFFICES, SCHOOLS, AND OTHER PUBLIC PLACES WHEN IT IS NOT TIME FOR ELECTIONS!


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