By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow has said the international community is satisfied with his government’s performance and that they promised to increase monetary support to the country.
Addressing district chiefs and village heads at State House last Saturday, President Barrow said: “I am glad to tell you that our international partners are very happy with our progress as a government and country.
“Every year they use to assess our performance but this year they just called us to say they are happy with the progress we have made and because of that, they are going to increase the support they give to us,” Barrow said.
He said the progress registered by his government could not have been achieved without unity in his government.
“It is only when we are together that we achieve our dreams for this country. No individual can develop this country all alone,” he said.
President Barrow said the government has purchased 20 tonnes of fertiliser for this year’s rainy season.
“The fertiliser has arrived since March. The amount of fertiliser we bring this year has never come to this country before and I am happy to announce that the government is making a subsidy of D500 million compared to the D224 million last year to ensure the farmers get it at a cheap price,” he said.
At the meeting, the president promised the country’s akalolu that a budget line will be created in the 2022 estimates for their monthly salaries.
By Omar Bah
The Independent Electoral Commission has rejected the registration of the country’s newest political party, People’s Alliance Party (PAP).
The party formed by Ebrima Manneh, son of the late Lower Niumi chief Tabora Manneh would have been the country’s 19th political party.
In May, Mr Manneh, an economist, announced his intention to challenge President Adama Barrow for the top job in the December poll.
If successful, Manneh would have joined a crowded field of 18 registered political parties and three independent presidential aspirants.
The 50-year-old was expecting his party to be registered by the IEC in time for him to start campaigning ahead of December.
However, in a letter seen by The Standard IEC Chairman Alieu Momar Njai stated: “I wish to inform you that the list of voters and signatures that you submitted to support your political party registration has been nullified by the Independent Electoral Commission and therefore it cannot be used because it was declared null and void.
“You may wish to collect signatures on the list of voters that is currently being compiled by the IEC after its completion to get your application for political party registration considered by the IEC.”
Reacting to the IEC letter, Mr Manneh told The Standard: “During our discussion with the CEO of the IEC, we have been informed that it is against the laws of the land for the IEC to recognise the list of the old voters’ cards from the 29th of May 2021 when the new voter card registration commenced even though we started the collection and tabulation of the voters and signatories in the first week of April 2021.”
Manneh appealed to the IEC to consider the energy, time, effort and resources that his party expended in collecting the 10,000 voter’s cards and signatures after the commission supplied them with the forms at the beginning of April.
“As law-abiding citizens and in compliance with the decision of the IEC we accept your decision and recommendation in good faith. We will, yet again, proceed with the collection of the new voter’s cards and signatures and hope that when those are submitted you will give due consideration to process them speedily to enable us to partake in the coming presidential elections as per the wishes of many Gambians throughout the country. Additionally, we would like to be furnished with the information to register as an independent candidate for the coming presidential election,” Manneh stated in his letter of reply .
By Lamin Cham
Mohammed Darboe, the comedian-turned-anchor of the popular Fatu Network talk show Toynaa Kesso, has released a video apologising for what he called “the unfortunate event” that happened in the edition of the show last Saturday.
In that edition, the anchor invited another comedian Baba Jah, a prominent supporter of the National People’s Party who made what many consider licentious comments against the person of Ousainu Darboe, the UDP leader.
The interview sparked widespread criticism and condemnation from outraged UDP supporters and other Gambians.
As a result of the blowback, Mohammed Darboe issued the statement expressing his remorse. “I am very, very sorry for the interview and I wish to sincerely apologise to Ousainu Darboe and all Gambians who feel disappointed and angry about what my guest, Baba Jah, said. I have decided that together with my parents we are going to Mr Darboe’s house to sincerely and formally ask for his forgiveness for the content of the programme for which I take responsibility. I am personally very sad about this and I don’t mind even quitting the show if it comes that,” he said.
Following the broadcast, hundreds of UDP members have called for a boycott of the network. UDP executive member and lawyer, Yankuba Darboe, wrote; “You cannot invite clowns to spew vile at my leader and expect my love for your platform! Only an idiot [will allow that!]. I’ve boycotted many platforms in the past; they include Freedom, Barrow Media, Star TV! Let’s say I’ve added Fatu Network!
In her reaction, Fatou Camara, the proprietress of TFN, told The Standard: “The Fatu Network is a credible media institution so when any situation of this nature arises where some people are not happy with our coverage, the first thing we do is to gather the facts and analyse the evidence. During the course of that process, we will neither be pressured, bullied nor intimidated into making a rash decision.
“As for the call for a boycott, people have a right to take whatever action they deem necessary just as we have a right to take actions we deem necessary.
“The management of The Fatu Network would like to take the opportunity to thank the media fraternity, Gambians of all backgrounds and political affiliations for the immense amount of support and solidarity given to us. Freedom of the press must never be compromised and we hope that those principles will be upheld at all times.”
Gambian commentator Zakaria Kemo Konteh, condemned Baba Jah for his attacks on Ousainou Darboe, but cautioned: “For those of you calling for a boycott, it is your inherent right to disassociate yourselves from any media platform including The Fatu Network if you feel they do not add value to you but it is my firm belief that the current campaign smacks of impulse and is therefore counter-productive. Tonyaa Kesso is not the only show hosted on the network and certainly the last episode is not the only episode you have ever watched on the platform. There are still so many others you may work together to achieve in the interest of democracy and good governance in our country. I know Honourable Ousainu Darboe will not boycott The Fatu Network just because someone used the platform to rain insults on him. Express your disappointment and disagreement and even lodge a formal complaint with the proprietor and the management of The Fatu Network but going as far as boycotting the entire platform is ill-advised, unnecessary and, quite frankly, ineffective!”
Tukulorr Sey, the president of TFN stated: “All who know me, know that I do not ascribe to insults and demeaning of others. It makes me sick and disgusted. All have agreed that what happened on Tonyaa Kesso was not appropriate. Thus, I was relieved when the CEO Fatou Camara announced on For The People, By The People Show that she and TFN editor Lamin Njie have spoken to Muhammed. She further stated that she will address the issue internally.
“I am quite certain Muhammed will see this experience as a learning curve, and control his platform moving forward. He has a promising career and I don’t see him allowing others to control his narrative. I bet this is a hard lesson learned.
I humbly accepted to be president of The Fatu Network because I was there when the proprietor built it from the ground up. I was there when all of us went to work and fought against dictatorship, but Fatu chose to stay home and maintain programmes on Fatu Radio because it was one of the few outlets that dared bring the fight through the airwaves. The stories on TFN were and are still the outlet for Gambians and the international community. Thus, I have no doubt this institution will continue thriving. I am proud of the team we have because each person thrives on making sure they produce stories and programmes for Gambians. We have a staff that works hard and are professional, and I implore them to continue the work many revere.”
By Omar Bah
Senegalese singer Wally Seck has rebuffed speculations of being gay and called on the country’s authorities to act on the matter.
The leader of the Faramareens has been accused of being a gay icon and fronting as an LGBT ambassador in Senegal.
“I am not homosexual and I have nothing to do with them,” Seck said in a video he released on his social media platform yesterday.
“Since 2016 or the end of 2015, I stopped going out to respond to negative reviews. But if I let these attacks pass this time, many will think that I am guilty of the issues that I am accused of.
”I am not afraid of anything, it is just my silence was a choice. But, it is clear that I am not part of the homosexual associations or lobbies. I am not involved remotely to these matters. I never received any money from them and I never will, because, I am financially comfortable,” he said.
The 36-year-old singer and married father of three complained of the harassment he has been subjected to. “Now they send people to me. These people will often want to force themselves into my house which will result in a fight with my guards. If they get injured, they go to seek medical certificates in order to drag me to court. Not even ten days ago, I went to answer to a summon which many falsely speculate to be a case involving car theft.”
“Let people know that I am a Muslim and have children. From this day forward, I will not accept anyone to tell untruths about me. I will file a complaint against the authors and from tomorrow my lawyers will send direct citations to the people who attacked me today,” he warned.
Wally, the son of the late ndagga superstar Thione Seck, is regarded as a metrosexual given his fashion style. His following in The Gambia is only eclipsed by those of Youssou N’Dour’s who is a contemporary of his father.
By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly Member for Foni Bondali, Kaddy Camara, has confronted her fellow lawmakers in the National Assembly accusing them of playing double standards with their condemnation of the Kanilai attack on UDP voter registration coordinating committee members last Saturday.
The attack which left one party official injured, when a mob smashed the window glass of the UDP vehicle, received public condemnations among them Foni Kansala lawmaker Musa Amul Nyassi.
During yesterday’s adjournment debate at the assembly, several other members including Touma Njie of Banjul South, Sainey Touray of Jarra East and Dembo Camara of Illiassa, joined Nyassi in the condemnations.
“I condemned the incident. The Gambia belongs to all of us and nobody should be barred from entering anywhere, or be attacked for entering any place,” Ms Njie stated.
But responding to her colleagues, Camara registered her disappointment with the condemnations of her colleagues, accusing them of being “insensitive” to the people of Foni.
“I am born in Foni, I live in Foni and I will die in Foni so I will not allow any member to come and provoke the Foni people. I will not take it.
Honourable Speaker, there are so many incidents that happened to the people of Foni but none of them [NAMs] stood in this chamber and condemned those incidents. Are they telling us that the Foni people are not Gambians? Of course, we are Gambians like them!
“We [the APRC] were attacked in Kanfenda, attacked in Busumbala and we were also attacked in Mankamang Kunda. They [the NAMs] did not feel the pain in those days but [they do] now that is why they stood here and talked about the Kanilai incident,” she queried.
The APRC lawmaker thanked her party leadership for “demonstrating good leadership” in handling the incident, saying, “We are an opposition with a difference.”
She cautioned “political leaders attempting to ignite chaos” in the country, saying “if they do and this country gets burnt, we are all going to burn together.”
“I am calling on the women not to allow politicians to use us as their tools. We are not their tools but citizens of this country and whatever we decide that is what is going to happen because we are the majority.”
Speaking earlier, the NAM for Foni Kansala, told the assembly that he wants to assure his constituents that he is not going to “mortgage” their seat and that anytime he wanted to switch allegiance to another party, he will “honourably” resign and allow them to hold a by-election.
Mr Nyassi had condemned the attack on the UDP team in Kanilai.
The Standard has learnt some members of his APRC stronghold constituency criticised him for making the condemnation and even questioned his loyalty to the former ruling party.
By Tabora Bojang
The National Assembly Member for Bakau, Assan Touray, wants a private member’s bill to be tabled before the National Assembly asking for President Adama Barrow to vacate State House at least four weeks before the December presidential election.
The UDP lawmaker made this submission during the National Assembly adjournment debate yesterday.
“Honourable Speaker, as we approach the December 4th presidential election, I have not seen in the constitution where it is indicated advising the president to leave or vacate State House till after the election. This is why I want to come up with a private member’s bill to be tabled before this National Assembly that would ask the president to leave the State House at least four weeks before the presidential election,” he said.
Touray said his proposed bill is necessitated by the fact that the president might “tamper” with the State House before handing over to the president-elect if he loses the election.
“This is very delicate because the sitting president might loot the State House if he loses the election before handing over power to the winning president, and that will cost the state a lot of money,” he opined.
Touray added that he is now in consultation with the relevant stakeholders to ensure the bill is tabled at the next parliamentary sitting.
The European Union HQ are currently on an election exploratory mission in The Gambia. The purpose of this Mission is to collect factual information on the pre-electoral situation based on a wide range of meetings with both government and non-governmental stakeholders.
The ExM will be conducted in line with EU methodology to assess whether conditions are met for the deployment of an EU EOM for the upcoming general elections, should the Gambian authorities confirm formally their request for electoral observation. The Exploratory Mission will be headed by Julia Ruppel from the Democracy and Electoral Observation Division of the EEAS and will also comprise Ioannis Kleisiaris, European Commission/FPI, Programme Manager/Election Observation. They will be accompanied by four external experts.
The Exploratory Mission will tomorrow Thursday, at 16.40 meet the media in the conference room of the EU Delegation to discuss the role of the media and communication/public utilities management on and around election day.
By Bruce Asemota
The contempt trial against the alkalo of Duwasu, Yaya Nyassi, and co-defendant ex-president Yahya Jammeh, commenced yesterday before Justice Ebrima Jaiteh of the High Court in Banjul.
Jammeh was the 2nd defendant in the civil suit by one Gibi Bah of 16 Ranking Street in Banjul against Yaya Nyassi, alkalo of Duwasu village in the Kombo East District of West Coast Region.
However, former president Yahya Jammeh was later removed from the suit after the writ of summons expired because the former president could not be served in Equatorial Guinea.
The High Court had made an interim injunction restraining the alkalo of Duwasu, Yaya Nyassi, his servants, villagers, workmen, collaborators from entering, working on, putting anything on/ trespassing on a suit land in Duwasu village.
The plaintiff, Gibi Bah, the administrator of Yerro Bah (deceased) estate and Alagie Pateh Bah brought a contempt proceeding against Yaya Nyassi to explain why he should not be punished for disobeying a court order made on the 16th December, 2019.
During yesterday’s sitting, Gibi Bah mounted the witness box and gave evidence in chief where he testified that Yaya Nyassi had disobeyed the lawful orders of the court.
Meanwhile, the matter was adjourned to 13th July, 2021.
By Omar Bah
The Minister of Justice has disclosed that the government is putting in place appropriate mechanisms to prosecute perpetrators of crimes under former president Yahya Jammeh.
Addressing a regional conference on the domestication of atrocity prevention norms at the state level, Dawda Jallow whose statement was read by the Solicitor General, said: “Considerations are currently underway with regard to the appropriate mechanism to deploy for the prosecution of crimes that have occurred given that most of the offences disclosed are not known under our criminal law”.
The conference, which is currently underway at the Senegambia hotel, is organised by the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in partnership with the Government of Denmark.
AG Jallow said his ministry will look forward to the recommendations from the regional conference.
“As far as Africa is concerned, the international criminal court is to date the only functional mechanism to try international crimes. However,
the trial of Hissene Habre has strengthened the case for a regional court in Africa to deal with international crimes,” the Minister said.
“Domestic prosecution of international crimes is quite complex. Effective prosecution at the domestic level requires qualified investigators and prosecutors as well as judges and most significantly an appropriate tribunal for the conduct of such prosecutions,” he said.
Seeing Ka, a representative from Ecowas said the humanitarian situation in the region continues to look bleak, as the perennial conflicts in the region, including insurgencies, the persistent threat of terrorism in the “front-line” countries, continue to worsen.
“In addition, poverty, food insecurity, malnutrition, diminishing natural resources triggered by climate change effects and recurrent natural disasters such as the floods experienced in 2020 are factors fostering vulnerability and putting millions of people at risk in the region,” Ka said.
The Danish ambassador to Ghana, Tom Norring, said The Gambia has set new standards by bringing the atrocities committed by the military in Myanmar before the ICC.
“While this ICJ case for technical reasons is limited to the crime of genocide and to one specific victim group (that of the Rohingya), the lawsuit sends an important message about accountability,” he said.
The commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peace training centre, Major General Francis Ofori, said: “The Kofi Annan Centre continues to push the frontiers of prevention through our empirical research, and capacity building of all actors including military, police, the judiciary, legislature and all key civil society stakeholders to better appreciate and apply the principles of the R2P norm”.
“Although your first responsibility is to prevent atrocities in your states, collectively we need to coordinate efforts of all states to make a difference to protect lives,” he said.
Based in Ghana, the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre provides training and research in peacekeeping and peace operations.
By Omar Bah
The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has intensified efforts to secure Gambia’s accession to the International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures.
The Gambia ratified the Convention in 1974 almost a year of its coming into force. But the West African country is among few nations yet to accede to the 2006 revised Kyoto Convention.
The tax authority has instituted a taskforce consisting of the Office of the President, ministries of Trade, Justice, Finance and Foreign Affairs and the National Assembly. The high-profile taskforce will guide and facilitate the country’s accession to the Kyoto Convention.
The Kyoto Convention is the blueprint for modern and efficient customs procedures in the 21st century.
The Convention focuses on transparency and predictability of customs actions; standardization and simplification of the goods declaration and supporting documents; simplified procedures for authorized persons; maximum use of information technology; minimum necessary customs control to ensure compliance with regulations.
The revised Kyoto Convention also promotes trade facilitation and effective controls through its legal provisions that detail the application of simple yet efficient procedures.
It also contains new and obligatory rules for its application, which all contracting parties must accept without reservation. The revised Kyoto Convention entered into force on February 3, 2006.
As part of efforts to expedite the country’s accession to Kyoto Convention, GRA organised a stepdown workshop for its senior officials to assist them analyse the country’s customs laws compared to other countries around the world.
The workshop also gives participants the opportunity to answer questions prepared by the World Customs Officers (WCO) relating to gaps in operations.
The GRA commissioner general, Yankuba Darboe said: “The purpose of organising this workshop is to take stock of the progress that has been made in our bid to complete The Gambia’s accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention as well as designing the roadmap for the completion of the accession process”.
“However, since the entry into force of the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) in 2006, The Gambia remains one of the few countries yet to ratify the Convention despite the numerous benefits that can be derived from ratifying the Convention. The WCO did not shy away from reminding us about this fact any time we attend meetings at the WCO headquarters in Brussels,” he said.
The GRA management, he added, is determined to end this undesirable state of affair.
“In a bid to speed up the accession process, we set up a Steering Committee in 2019 to kick start the accession process. Since its setting up, the RKC Committee has engaged the relevant stakeholders in the process and together designed a roadmap for the process,” he added.
“Acceding to the RKC will no doubt improve and enhance trade facilitation; provide international trade with predictability and efficiency that it requires and it will lay a solid foundation for reforming and strengthening our Customs legislations and standardising them with WCO best practice,” CG Darboe said.
He extolled Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), for funding the workshop.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is a non-ministerial department of the UK Government responsible for the collection of taxes, the payment of some forms of state support, the administration of other regulatory regimes including the national minimum wage and the issuance of national insurance numbers.