The Gambian Diaspora has been at the forefront during the nation’s fight against a dictatorship and tyranny. Now that the President of the Republic has declared the Diaspora as a Region of The Gambia, I guess I can safely say that no Region has contributed more than the Diaspora, in blood and in treasure, in the fight against the dictatorship and tyranny. However, now that the “Struggle” for democracy is seemingly over, in my opinion, the Diaspora needs to continue to engage in the political and socio-economic affairs of The Gambia in a different way. I’ll label this The Second Phase of the Diaspora Engagement.
It’s been about fourteen months since the Diaspora in particular and The Gambian populace as a whole defeated an undemocratic and a tyrannical regime through a ballot box. Disappointingly, however, it’s evident that the current crop of politicians will not take us where we want in terms of the socio-economic and political reforms that majority of us have envisaged. So, what can we do next? Continue talking, criticizing, complaining, etc.? Or, shall we engage in different ways, shapes, or forms? I vehemently believe that a new breed of politicians are needed and are need right about now.
In my opinion, the Diaspora should start, first and foremost, by engaging the National Assembly to revisit the Supreme Laws of the Land (The Constitution) as far as The Gambians in the Diaspora are concerned. The Diaspora should be able to vote as well as be able to comman key positions in the government and run for public offices. Section 62, Subsection 1(C) of the Constitution of The Gambia bars anyone from running for the Presidency if s/he has not been ordinarily resident in The Gambia for the five years immediately preceding the election. This is a draconian law and MUST change immediately!
The Gambia has two municipalities (Banjul and Kanifing) and five regions: West Coast, Lower River, North Bank, Central River, and Upper River Regions. Everyone in the aforementioned Regions can vote as long as they attain the required age. Again, the Diaspora is supposedly the eight Region. Yet, as of now, no one in the Eight Region can vote. This is preposterous, hypocritical and discriminatory. It MUST change now! Most folks in the Diaspora may be physically and geographically detached from The Gambia, but very much attached emotionally. We’re Gambians in every way, shape and form and we will always remain Gambians. In addition, we are not satisfied and we will never be satisfied as long as our people wallow in despair.
It is worth mentioning that 22% of The Gambia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is contributed by the Diaspora. This is huge! So, disenfranchising this very important “Region” in the democratic dispensation is a calculated move by weak politicians.
In my opinion, once the diaspora attains the rights to vote and runs for any political office of their choice, everyone should join a political party. Though it is okay to be independent. However, we shall never allow political parties to function as private institutions. It is utterly despicable to call for presidential term limits when you are heading your political party for five, ten, fifteen, and in a few cases, twenty years. This must also be part of the political reforms agenda.
Secondly, I would like to suggest that the Diaspora forms investment groups in order to shape the national commerce of the country and provide employment opportunities for our youths. I believe that this is paramount because looking at the current trajectory of the unemployment rate of the country, unless something drastic happens, it will take more than one hundred years to reduce the unemployment rate. If one analyzes the shares composition of the financial institutions of the country, for instance, one will find out that almost all of them are majority foreign-owned. You cannot control the cost of living and price of commodities and services if others are the suppliers. The government must provide facilities for the private sector so that the private sector can thrive and provides employment for the citizenry. A job is a dignity!
So let’s start meeting and strategizing and put our resources together and invest in the financial, educational, health care, agricultural, information technology, and infrastructural sectors of the country. It’s about time!
Seedy S Khan
Culled from Facebook
PRESIDENT BARROW IS NOT LISTENING BUT CORRECTING MISTAKES. REAL LEADERSHIP QUALITY.
Please bear with me for lengthy post.
I must commend President Barrow for heeding calls to rescind the appointment of Musa Suso as adviser to the president on youth matters. It is what is expected of a leader. Listen to the voice of your constituents and act accordingly. Thank you President Barrow. Please continue to listen and respond positively to voices of reason.
Remember the sycophancy that preceded the demise of the PPP regime led by the then VP for his personal gains. Fast forward, we witnessed the sycophancy during the AFPRC/APRC/JAMMEH DICTATORSHIP. The likes of Baba Jobe, may Allah forgive him, Musa Suso, Dahaba, Dr. Njoke Bah(he prayed for Babili Mansa to rule Gambia for 900 years plus), FJC, Bala Jahumpa, many others, demonstrated how people are capable of diving down deep into the sh-thole to get what they want; in other words, they will “sell their own children and parents”, to get favors from you, Your Excellency. They will use deception, lies, falsehood, misinformation, division, etc to get to you. To the general citizenry, they use threats, coercion, lies, misrepresentation, pretense, promises of favors and outright falsehood to portray themselves as important close associate of you, the Head of State and greedily cash out on whatever comes their way. They do not have the interest of the country or you, Mr. President but they are being driven greed and all they are doing is to benefit themselves and their families. They are shameless and they persistent. They will not give up easily. They come in different shapes and sizes, colors and demeanor. Remember in whatever form and color they come they have a common ambition, to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone, including yourself. They must not be allowed an inch, your excellency. Stop them.
You must refuse to be a victim and disband the parallel institutions set up with state institutions in your name and office. You do not have the time and expertise to run the two together, hence conflict of interest comes to play. In such a case you will have to delegate others, likely the sycophants running around you and ready to cash out, to take care of these instructions. The problem becomes that you will have to continue to micromanage from the State House, or your office will be used by those unscrupulous beings, psycos, to defraud and peddle influence they don’t deserve. At that point the damage done will live with you forever.
Remember, these shameless beings careless. They will hang around and wait for the next victim and the next opportunity to continue with same deplorable and criminal activity.
Culled from Facebook