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Albeit today is a bank holiday, I cannot afford not to register my association with the many Gambians who cherished the convening of your first cabinet. What is even more caressing was the setting out of your government’s priority areas notably “the energy sector, fixing the broken economy, unifying the nation, improving the health and agricultural sub-sectors and ending the country’s isolation.” You further intimated that “institutional, electoral and constitutional reforms” are siblings of the priority areas to be urgently addressed. Mr President, how do you intend to achieve this lofty reform agenda?

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There isn’t an iota doubting the merit of your intention, however, it created more questions than answers. To achieve this reform two pertinent areas need sorting: capacity and personnel. Fortunately, there is no deficiency regarding the latter. This, rest the focus on the former, capacity. Here, the first thing which comes to mind is finance especially when one recollects the Finance Minister’s maiden press conference. Suffice it to say our economy survives on tax, aids and grants.


The only way forward in materializing the reform agenda is soliciting funds from strong stakeholders without stifling strings attached. All secured funds must equally be accounted to the butut to avert it dripping into deep political and private pockets.

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Gambia has attracted a lot of international attention lately and with it willing investors and donors. However, close attention must be paid to the strings which come with the most needed funds. Who benefits at the end of the day is fundamental?

Unifying the nation depends on whether victims and their families are given the justice they unquestionably deserve. Reconciliation is unconceivable without justice. People need answers to subside their nightmarish agonies of not knowing why their love ones were murdered, where are their remains buried, how did they die, who killed them? Once that bridge is crossed, civic education becomes paramount in nursing the broken hearts.

Meaningful development is illusionary without regular and affordable electricity and water supply. Apart from worn-out generators, mismanagement and corruption are the cancerous demon of leading NAWEC to the mortuary. New means need to be explored in providing energy efficiency and effectiveness for Gambians in line with modern facilities and technology. Enough of the old wine in new bottles Mr President.

Safe journey and happy Easter bank holiday. Until Tuesday, don’t disappoint.

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Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK

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