In his response to an opinion piece on Freedom Newspaper, UKJA Chairperson Lamin Manjang, in the strongest possible terms, condemns the “article as malicious, baseless and pack of lies by a seemingly disgruntled pseudo individual.” Mr. Manjang aasures the association’s development partners and the general public that the author’s allegations are fallacious.
Read below Mr. Manjang’s rebuttal of the malicious article.
Letter to the editor in response to article titled: “Gambia: The Bogus UK Jarra Association”
May 31, 2018 – The Freedom Newspaper published an article titled “The Bogus UK Jarra Association” written by Kebba Darboe. As an opinion piece, the editor noted that the article does not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper.
In response, the UKJA present this rebuttal.
While UK Jarra Association (UKJA) welcomes constructive and evidence based criticisms we do not condone fake and unfounded allegations aimed at tarnishing the image of this great Association and its leadership. We therefore in the strongest possible terms condemn this article as malicious, baseless and pack of lies by a seemingly disgruntled pseudo individual. If the author is interested in uncovering the truth, we suggest that he visit the communities in Jarra which have benefitted from the great work of this Association.
As a reputable organization, the UKJA’s executive deemed it necessary to address every single point raised by Mr Darboe in order to set the record straight. We have therefore reproduced his allegations below and our evidence based counteraction to demonstrate to our development partners and the general public how fallacious and farfetched his allegations are.
1:Alleging that: “UK Jarra Association is nothing but fake, bogus gang of group of people with vested interest of
collecting money and other valuables from charity minded people in the name of supporting development programmes in Jarra”.
To begin with, UKJA is a legally registered charitable organization in United Kingdom (Charity # 1173058) and The Gambia (Charity # 2017/C4156) with a membership base of over 100 people was established on 8th August 2015. We are therefore governed by the laws of UK and The Gambia which we uphold with utmost dignity and respect. The Association has well defined structures from the general membership to the executive with various subcommittees for example (Health for Jarra, Educate Jarra, Finance and Fundraising and Welfare Committees) all headed by different individuals. We also have a functioning local structure in Gambia comprising of representatives from all regions of Jarra and supported by the three Chiefs of Jarra and the Governor of LRR. The author is therefore erroneous in his assertion that this Association “is nothing but fake, bogus gang of group of people”. The author is reminded that our records, stationeries, website, Facebook page and publications carry our charity registration number to demonstrate that we are not bogus as he claimed but we are a viable and genuine organization with international recognition. Furthermore, as dictated by our constitution, general meetings are conducted every year where the association’s activities and financial reports are presented to its members for scrutiny (See our Facebook page for evidence). As a registered charitable organization, we are also obliged by law to present audited accounts to Charity Commission at the end of every financial year.
2.The assertion that: “This bogus self-style association without tangle executive committee at hand is run by very few selfish, greedy and material hungry people with no visible true intention for the region of Jarra, much more the SomaHospital and its maternity ward”.
Now let’s deal with the most substantive issue here in reference to the claim of the author that UKJA is a bogus association run by selfish and greedy individuals (Points 1 and
2). To do this, let’s look at what this Association has been able to achieve within the three years of its formation. All these achievements are well documented and reported by various media outlets both in and outside the Gambia.
Our Achievements within the last three years:
• Donated three (3) 40ft container consignments of essential medical equipments and supplies to the health facilities in Jarra and LRR. These supplies include maternity pads, gauzes, BP Machines, Casts, privacy screens, bed sheets, towels, baby weighing scales, foetal stethoscopes, catheters, sanitary pads, needles, and syringes amongst many other items.
• Replaced the ceiling fans of the maternity ward of Soma Regional Hospital – costing over D20, 000.
• Donated a brand new drug storage refrigerator costing over D40, 000 to Soma Regional Hospital.
• Built a fully equipped multi-purpose science lab at Soma Upper and Senior Secondary School – the most equipped lab in Gambia and the first in Rural Gambia – Worth over a D1, 000,000.
• Set up an IT lab at Soma Upper and Senior Secondary – worth over a D1, 000,000 with internet facility.
• Refurbished the library of Soma Upper and Senior Secondary School and donated over 200 text books of the key subject areas of English, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology for the school – costing over D110, 000.
• Donated a 40ft container of furniture to various schools in Jarra worth over D800, 000.
• Set up a Scholarship fund with an initial funding of D250, 000 for the most outstanding students in Jarra. These funds are already deposited in our GT Bank account
• Set up a two year teacher incentive package of D120, 000 to attract the best teachers to Schools in Jarra.
• Donated 30 tables and benches (worth D30,000) to the newly created Jasong Lower Basic School where school children were sitting on the floor.
• Already committed D60,000 to make 60 benches and tables for three Arabic Schools in Jarra – Jenoi, Sutukung and Jiffin.
Relief of Poverty
• Donated over £2,000 worth of food and clothing items to the homeless community in Reading through the Churches in Reading Drop in Centre. See link for a clip of this presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cz54p7Pa1q4.
• Contributed over £1,500 to the funeral of three Jarrankas who passed away in Italy, USA and Finland respectively.
• Provided over £1,000 of financial grants to needy members and some individuals in UK.
• Provided financial and material support to last rainy season disaster victims in various communities across Jarra – Bureng, Kani Kunda, Soma, Jappineh, Pakalinding, Sankuia and Jiffin just to name few. Over D250,000 was donated by the Association.
• Already committed to donate £1, 000 towards the purchase of an Islamic Centre by a Gambian Community in Birmingham.
• Donated £150 to former GDHI (UK) to assist them ship container of medical supplies to Gambia.
• Donated £450 to the Gambian Birmingham Muslim community in UK.
All the above evidences can be found on our various social media platforms such as Facebook, Our YouTube Channel, (click on this link to see more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlCuefqFTzc), Twitter –
# UKJA and our website www.ukja.org.
Now we asked your esteemed readers to be the judge. Will a bogus association, led by selfish and greedy individuals be able to achieve all the above in less than 3 years of its formation? We’d also like to challenge this author to name a single Gambian Diaspora association that has been able to register such kind of success in the first three years of its existence.
3. The allegation that: “these bogus individuals have also seized such opportunity and induced a certain vulnerable Oil Company called FAR to sponsor the perceived ward with cost of over two million Dalasis”. To say that the executives of UKJA are “bogus individuals” does not require a response as the efforts of these individuals are evidenced in their achievements within this short period of time. Perhaps the author does not understand most of the activities of this Association are finance through individual contribution of its members. We do not entirely rely on outside support to implement our projects. The author is reminded to look at our documentary “I am a Jarranka” on our YouTube channel (click on link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coE39qVczjA) as a source of inspiration. It is equally sad to see the author lying about the amount of money our partners will be contributing towards the project. We’d like to refer the author and his esteemed readers to this press release http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/uk-jarra-association-partners-with-far-oil-company to better understand this partnership. For the record, more than half the total cost of the project will be contributed by UKJA, its members and other well-meaning Jarrankas which will be used to purchase essential medical equipments and supplies needed in the labor ward. It is also imperative to note that the Minister of Health, the Director of Health, the Director of the Maternal Health Unit, the LRR Governor’s office, the regional health director and the hospital staff and management of Soma are all fully involved in this project.
4. The statement that: “this oil company falls prey to bogus ill intention as they are busy looking towards getting recognition in African countries, including the Gambia and by extension earning support from authorities in awarding oil extractions contracts, which is seen in their engagement with community and charity supports”.
It is frankly obvious that the author is out of touch with reality. To call a project aimed at improving the health and well-being of women in Rural Gambia with all the obvious challenges facing our health care delivery system, ‘bogus ill intention’ is seriously regrettable and unfortunate. We kindly refer you to this clip of the maternity ward of Soma Regional Hospital https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Di8eFIb_d9c.
6. The assertion that: “they fell into the wrongs as the bogus association is busy calculating what to do with the perceived sponsored funds, instead of its intended beneficiaries. FAR Oil should be on alert and be smart to smell the rats in the house.
Gone are days of cheating”. Perhaps the author doesn’t understand that this is a 50/50 partnership and UKJA will be
responsible for the procurement of the necessary equipment for the labor ward. Furthermore, the construction work will be managed by a steering committee comprising of various stakeholders including, Ministry of Health, LRR Governor’s office and Soma hospital management.
Finally, it is evidently clear that the only thing bogus here, is the author of this malicious article. For the record, nothing will derail UKJA’s drive to contribute to a better Jarra and a better Gambia. This article only emboldens our resolve to do what is right for our Country and People.
In conclusion, we urge the editor of Freedom Newspaper to please bring down this malicious article which is clearly written in bad faith to undermine the genuine efforts of UKJA and its well thought out development plans for Jarra. We would also urge you to please contact us by calling 07577461015 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you
require any further information.