Tuesday, April 7, 2020
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Sidia Jatta Says President Barrow’s New Nominee for Ombudsman Must Resign before He Can Assume Office

By Yankuba Jallow

The National Assembly member for West Sidia Jatta on Monday told Parliament that Bakary Sanyang, the Governor for West Coast Region must resign from his current position before he can assume office as Ombudsman.

Jatta made this statement after Dr Isatou Touray told Parliament that President Adama Barrow’s new nominee for the position of Ombudsman is still the governor of West Coast Region.

Earlier Dr Touray moved the motion for the lawmakers to consider and confirm the nomination of Mr. Sanyang as the Ombudsman effective 1st April 2020 for a period of five years.

Dr. Touray reminded the National Assembly that the nomination of Mr. Bakary Sanyang as Ombudsman followed an earlier nomination of Mr. Baboucarr Suwareh by the President, which was duly rejected by the legislature.

VP Touray submitted the nomination for appointment of Mr. Sanyang was brought in accordance with sections 164 of the Constitution and section 2 subsection 3 of the Ombudsman Act of 1997.

“Therefore, in coming up with this replacement, due regard has been made to Section 164, Subsection (1) of the Constitution, which stipulates that, “provided that where the National Assembly rejects a person nominated by the President, it shall not again reject the person nominated to replace him.”

She said Section 64 subsection 2 of the Constitution provides that “in making an appointment under this Section, the President shall have regard to the need for persons exercising the functions of Ombudsman to have substantial administrative or professional experience”.

She said Sanyang rose through the ranks of Income Tax Cadre to the position of Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority, before his exit from the public service in 2012. She told the lawmakers that between this period and 2018, Mr. Sanyang served as Income Tax Consultant under the ECOWAS Commission. She added that he was subsequently appointed on Contract as Governor, West Coast Region in January, 2018, an appointment he is currently holding.

“Mr. Sanyang is, therefore, a person with substantial administrative and professional experience, who is highly expected to effectively execute the functions of the Ombudsman. Hon. Speaker, In tabling this appointment for confirmation, the attention of the august Assembly must also be drawn to Section 2, Subsection (3) of the Ombudsman Act, which stipulates that ‘the appointee shall hold office for a period of five (5) years and shall be eligible for re-appointment; and Section 3, Subsection 1 (a) and (b ), which prescribes the functions of the Ombudsman’, she submitted.

Alagie S. Darboe, the member for Brikama North said Sanyang has 42-years work experience with the Gambia Revenue Authority as an income tax consultant. Darboe added that Sanyang has also worked with the ECOWAS Commission and Governor of West Coast Region.

“I think the person nominated has got the requirement to be the Ombudsman,” Darboe said.

Darboe said: “At the level of West Coast, we will be missing him and we are wishing him good luck in his endeavour.”

Bakary Njie, the member for Bundungka Kunda said after Suwareh’s nomination was rejected by the National Assembly, he was still serving at the Office of the Ombudsman. He said the Executive allowing Suwareh to serve in that office after his nomination was rejected was uninvited in the new Gambia adding that the Executive should have honoured the National Assembly’s decision.

On the nomination of Sanyang, Honourable Njie said it is believed that his appointment will give the Office of the Ombudsman a new face.

“We are hoping that his appointment will be a game changer,” Njie concluded.

The member for Lower Nuimi said Sanyang should know that he has a lot of problems on his desk (at the Office of the Ombudsman) and he should be mindful of the oath he was going to take.

Honourable Saikouba Jarju thanked the Government for doing the right thing for assigning Sanyang at the Office of the Ombudsman. The member for Busumbala described Sanyang as a straightforward man who does things as dictated by laws.

The member for Kombo East also talked about Sanyang’s honesty and dedication to his work. He also thanked the Government for nominating Sanyang.

The member for Lower Badibou said any person who holds public office is not qualified to become an Ombudsman as per section 164.

Honourable Halifa Sallah told his colleagues that their hands are not tied and they should not allow their hands to be tied. The member for Serrrekunda submitted that if they reject the first nomination by the President they cannot reject the second.

He suggested for the matter to be referred to their Select Committee to scrutinize Sanyang’s appointment. He said VP Touray did indicate in his speech that Sanyang is still a serving Governor. Sallah said the Committee must require Sanyang to resign.

“Unless that is done, if we confirm we are complicit; we are aiders and abetters of the violation of the Constitution,” Sallah said.

The whole house supported Sallah’s motion and the matter was referred to the Committee for proper scrutiny and consultation.

President Barrow’s Appointment of Bakary Sanyang as Ombudsman Hangs in the Balance as Parliamentarians Refer the Issue to the Select Committee on Appointments

President Adama Barrow’s bid to appoint another person to the position of Ombudsman suffered a setback on Monday barely months after Parliamentarians rejected his first choice for the job.

This development arose after the deputy for Serrekunda  Halifa Sallah told his colleagues that they should send the issue of the appointment of the Ombudsman to their Committee on Public Appointments. His suggestion came after Vice President Dr Isatou Touray addressed Parliamentarians on behalf of President Barrow.

Earlier, Dr Touray said: “In coming with this replacement, due regard has been made to section 164 (1) of the Constitution which stipulates that; ’provided that where the National Assembly rejects a person nominated by the President, it shall not again reject the person nominated to replace him’.

In his intervention, Sallah told his colleagues that it is very clear from section 164 of the Constitution that if they rejected the first nominee for the job, then they cannot reject the second one. He was however quick to point that the Constitution said the President shall appoint an Ombudsman and his/her deputies in consultation with the Public Service Commission subject to confirmation by Parliament.

Sallah said: “That is there regardless of first or second…Subject to confirmation by the National Assembly. Should we confirm everything? We can confirm or we may not be able to reject.”

He added that confirmation of the said appointment is their right and that cannot be negated. He went on to move that they suspend the debate on the subject, insisting that they should refer the appointment of Bakary Sanyang (Governor of WCR) to the Select Committee on Public Appointments to look at it. He said the issue is not only being qualified for the job, but also being disqualified.

He said: “That’s what the scrutiny requires. And the member for Wuli West and the member for Lower Baddibou had already mentioned the section which quite a number of members had in fact engaged in consultation about.”

According to Sallah, what was to be confirmed was whether Bakary Sanyang was still a governor, adding the Vice President indicated that he was still a governor.

He added that that Select committee in consultation with the individual could advise them.

“Because when we scrutinize, we invite them and we invite the authorities and through that consultation, if there are disqualification clauses, then the person must be required to go and resign and send the letter of resignation to the committee and the committee should be able to come back and say, ‘well, we are satisfied even though we cannot reject, but confirm’.

He said: “But unless that happens, if we confirm, we are complicit. We are aiders and abettors of the violation of the constitution and this National Assembly must never be found guilty of that.”

The appointment of Bakary Sanyang was eventually referred to the Select Committee on Public Appointments by Parliamentarians.

Babucarr Suwareh was the one appointed by President Barrow for the position, but this appointment was rejected by Parliamentarians.

Covid-19: Gambians Stranded in Senegal Appeal for Gov’t Repatriation

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By Momodou Jarju

Gambians stranded in neighboring Senegal, have appealed to the President Barrow-led government to repatriate them to their country.

Senegal is being hit by the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) registering about 200 confirmed cases and counting every day.

The borders of both countries have since been closed amid the growing concern of the spread of Covid-19, thus barring travelling by either land or airspace.

One of our contact persons in Senegal, Baboucarr Jobe who hails from Brikama Nyambai, West Coast Region, said he is a tailor in Dakar, Senegal.

On March 6, 2020, he came to The Gambia to attend the funeral of his elder sister called Amie Jobe who he said was a prison officer.

He said seven days after the funeral of his elder sister, he returned to Dakar to continue his tailoring work.

Eventually, he said he heard the Senegalese Government announcing the closure of its borders. The tailoring shop he works at also got closed until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So at this moment, I’m staying alone here with no family members with me,” he said. “So on Monday, I went to the Gambia Embassy but the gate man I met there told me since week before last, they stopped working till this virus ends.”

According to him, he knows four other Gambians who want to return to the country. Four Gambians, including himself, are residing in Dakar and one is in Touba.

Speaking further, Mr. Jobe said: “I even gave my number to the gate man at the Gambia Embassy so that if anyone comes there and wants to go home he or she can call me but no one has called me yet. He told me before I went there, some people went there, but they didn’t leave their contacts there.”

Abdou Dibba, a student also living in Dakar told Foroyaa that after they finished their exam on Thursday 26th March, the following day they went to the car park to return to The Gambia but they found the place closed.

Dibba said there are about 25 Gambians like him who want to return to the country and last Monday, he went to the Gambia’s Embassy in Dakar to lodge their plights but the response he received was not satisfactory.

He said the ambassador told him that it is not within his mandate to provide them with a vehicle to transport them to The Gambia and that they should make arrangements with their various school authorities to facilitate their transport.

He said he has been in Senegal for two years and that he shares a rented room with one Jerry Touray, which is costing them fifty thousand francs CFA (50,000.00 CFA francs).

He said their money will soon finish and considering nobody knows when the pandemic will end plus schools are closed, they wanted to return home until such time things would go back to normal.

As of yesterday, Sunday 5th April, they had to pay CFA100,000 for March and April rent. Dibba revealed that they are planning to walk by foot from Dakar in Senegal to the country if the state of public emergency is extended.

The lawmakers have approved the extension of the state of public emergency to 45 days.
When contacted for comments, the spokesperson of the ministry of foreign affairs, Saikou Ceesay, said they are not aware of this situation but he promised to take the matter to the relevant authorities- his seniors, for possible consideration.

Court Discharges 2 Individuals Accused of Overpricing Food Commodities

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By Nelson Manneh

Two Mauritanians were on Monday acquitted and discharged by the Brikama Magistrate’s Court after the Court held that the prosecutors have not provided enough evidence to warrant the magistrate to convict them.

The selling of commodities beyond the stipulated price is contrary to section 2 (2) and punishable under section 7 (1) of the Essential Commodities Enforcement Powers Regulations, 2020.

The discharged persons are Muhammed Mahmud and Abdou Mustapha.

The discharged persons were all arraigned before Magistrate Peter A. Chee of the Brikama Magistrate’s court. Inspector Manneh represented the Inspector General of Police.

According to the Particulars of Offence, Muhammed Mahmuda on or about the 27th March 2020 at Brikama Market willfully and unlawfully without authority inflated the price of basic commodities. He is said to have sold a bag of onion at a price of D500 which is against the price set by government on essential commodities thereby committed an offence.

Prosecutors alleged Abdou Mustapha on or about the 27th March 2020 at Brikama Market, willfully and unlawfully without authority inflated the price of basic commodities. He is said to have sold a bag of onion at a price of D500 which is against the price set by government on essential commodities, thereby committed an offence.

All the accused persons pleaded not guilty of the charges and the Magistrate acquitted and discharge them saying that the police have no case against the accused persons.

The Magistrate said after going through the charges, the Court found out that the Police have not indicated any substance to prove their case.

The Magistrate then went on to acquit and discharge the duo. He also ordered for the shops of the two men to be reopened.

Desk Officer at Amdalai Border Post Lament Lack of Water, Electricity Supply at Isolation Room

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By Ndey Sowe

Sang M. Jarju, the Desk officer at the Amdalai Border Post said the isolation room given to them by the authorities, lacks water and electricity supply.

He added that the isolation room was erected during the Ebola outbreak and the solar equipment installed therein since 2014, has rendered the batteries dysfunctional; that no water is available in the overhead tank to supply the Post.

Jarju made the disclosure during this reporter’s visit to the said border post last week to access the level of the border closure and the preparedness of the staff in the fight against the Corona virus.

“We work in the open because we do not have an office space,” Jarju told this reporter; that the Health Minister who visited them, decided that they should be stationed like that so that they could be the first receivers of every traveler coming from Senegal; that the office space they have is shared with four other department units. He said adequate office space will be easier for them to work effectively and to isolate anyone they deem has the virus.

Jarju said the current isolation room is nearly one hundred meters away from where they are stationed; that taking a patient away from where they were to the isolation center, has its risks with some of the preventive methods they might need; that this may not be sufficient to move a person meters away to the isolation room. He said if they have an office and an isolation center close together, it will be easier for them to transfer an infected person quicker to the isolation room with less risk of spreading the virus.

Jarju said they are also running out of supplies such as gloves, masks, aprons and hand sanitizers; that they cannot do any surveillance without the items he has indicated.

It could be recalled that Banjul and Dakar mutually agreed to close their borders in a bid to control the spread of the deadly Coronavirus for twenty one days. And within this period, the Ma Foundation of China brought in some needed supplies in gloves, masks, hand sanitizers and nurses’ gowns as donation to the Government of the Gambia, through the Ministry of Health and this Medium is of the view that these much need supplies should have reached some of these areas by now.

EU Citizen Entering Gambia Intercepted, Quarantined

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By Ndey Sowe

A European Union (EU) citizen entering the Gambia through one of the land borders was intercepted and put under mandatory quarantine.

Mustapha Bittaye, Acting Director of Health Services told journalists this on Saturday, 4th April 2020 at a regular press briefing on the current situation of the Covid-19 in the Gambia, held at the Central Medical Store in Kotu.

He said that there are now thirty-six people under quarantine.

He explained that 5 laboratory results have been received from the laboratory and they were all negative, bringing the total number of laboratory tests done to one hundred and thirty-four.

He said: “One hundred and two individuals completed their mandatory 14-days quarantine and have been discharged.”
He said that a total of two hundred and thirty- three contacts have been traced.
He added that since the beginning of the pandemic, the country reported four (4) confirmed cases, two of whom recovered, one passed away and one is still undergoing treatment.
He told the press that the number of confirmed cases still remains at four.
“Our only neighbour Senegal has recorded one hundred and ninety-five cases”, he added this is the 7th highest in Africa and it is now recorded in 45 countries in Africa, as of 3rd April 2020
He said that Africa has recorded a total of five thousand six hundred and thirty-two confirmed cases and one hundred and sixty-four deaths.
Meanwhile he also explained that globally a total of nine hundred and seventy-two thousand three hundred and three 972,303) cases of Covid-19 have been reported, of these fifty-thousand and three hundred and twenty-one (50,321) deaths were registered thus having a fatality rate of 5%.
“Every one of us has a role to play in combating this war, every Gambian or resident of the Gambia family and business can make the difference in stopping the virus”, he appealed.
He therefore urged Gambians to play their part by reporting any suspected cases to the toll-free line on 1025.
“We will at our end continue to engage media platforms in the dissemination of sensitization materials and creatable information”, he assured, adding that it is a personal duty to obtain information from creatable sources such as the Ministry of Health and WHO websites.
He said the more we commit or selves to this fight, the better for everyone and appealed to everyone to take hard measures in order to prevent the decease than trying to catch up with a deadly decease.
“The lack of new cases should not make us relent in this fight”, he warned.
He applauded their partners and personnel of the Ministry of Health who have been working day and night to ensure that there is adequate response to the global pandemic and call on them to continue the good job.

Minister Samateh says they have reprimanded those who wanted to misappropriate Coronavirus Funds

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The Minister of Health Dr Amadou Lamin Samateh told Parliamentarians on Friday that there was no need for alarm because they have reprimanded some individuals who wanted to misappropriate public funds meant to combat the coronavirus.

Dr Samateh said: “We know we have people among us, they will not change and they will not give up trying to steal. They will keep on trying, but will they succeed? So if people try, and their trial leaks, I don’t think that calls for alarm.”

Samateh’s clarification came on the heels of a leaked letter showing how some officials wanted to misappropriate public funds under the pretext of allowances. This came after the Barrow Administration set aside five hundred million dalasi for the war against the Coronavirus.

Samateh said: “What we did when I went to see the Minister of Finance, I said, ‘this thing, first we need to make an expeditious and judicious use of these funds, but because it’s emergency, procurement needs to be done first but under those circumstances people can abuse them..”

According to him, he suggested to the Minister of Finance Mam Boury Njie that he was going to set up a committee to be responsible for procurement. He said the Finance Minister told him that he was going to support him to ensure the initiative was put in motion. He added that they later established a committee consisting of the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health and a few senior members; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance, few senior members from the aforesaid ministry; the Accountant General; the Director of Internal Audit and the Director General of GPPA.

Minister Samateh said the responsibility of the Committee was to sit over every procurement issue so that they can decide and ensure transparency and accountability issue.

“ And they report to us (Ministers of Health and Finance) and we see what they have decided on. Every request goes through them, the disbursements, all these funds go through them,” he added.

Minister Samateh added that he told a group of people that were responsible for preparing a list of those eligible for allowances that he did not want any allowance or honorarium. He said he further told them, “I don’t want any butut. I am doing sacrifice for my country irrespective of the challenge”.

He added: “Now few days down the line, they put forward a long list of many names. Now that list did not get to me for vetting, it went straight to the committee and this committee detected that it was bogus and I was alerted and we withdrew it. And I told them to withdraw it and we reprimanded them for that. So this is what is happening and we are observing all the processes.”

Police Confirm Criminal Case of Jarra Kani Kunda Imam Is Under Review

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By Mustapha Jallow

Gambian Police on Monday said the case involving Imam Alhagie Kawsu Saidyhan of Jarra Kani Kunda, who was arrested for leading a Friday prayer is currently under review by the Police.

Police spokesman ASP Lamin Njie said: “He (imam) was arrested and granted bail the same day while the matter is under review.’’

He said no charges were pressed against the imam. He said the case is with the Mansakonko Police station.

The imam was arrested last week by the Police for allegedly violating the ban on the closure of public places of worship and avoidance of congregational prayers, according to Spokesman Njie.

He explained: “The message is to make people understand that the closure of public places of worship is not by anyway an attack on people’s religious beliefs and practices, but it’s part of measures to prevent the spread of the novel virus (Covid-19).’’

“For this reason, the cooperation, support and understanding of the public especially religious leaders is highly solicited,’’ he added.

The Police spokesman went on to say that the Gambia Police is not an enemy to any category of the public, adding that they are nor out to make life difficult for people.

How a 35-year-old Samaritan is impacting lives

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By Makutu Manneh

Isatou Sarr aged 35, is a native of Sukuta, in the West Coast Region, who believes it is a moral responsibility for every citizen to give back to his/her country of birth.

Inspired by her belief, she deemed it prudent to move heaven and earth to making sure that she gives back to the needy and public institutions.

Growing up in this cosmopolitan township outside the commercial hub of Serrekunda, Sarr remembers the joys of her childhood even amid the hardship surrounding her. She is now passing that smile to others.

Convinced of the fact that she can make a difference in the lives of people, Mrs Sarr started a foundation in 2017 and since its inception; the organization has donated to the Sukuta Health Center and provided clothing and meals to orphanages.

Her foundation is impacting Gambian lives through donations to hospitals, orphanages, schools, institutions and helping people with meals.

“I just want to make a change in the lives of my people in any small way I can and this inspires me,” said Isatou. “It is also the inspiration behind the foundation.”

The Isatou Sarr Rural Development Foundation has partnered with a Spanish foundation, Porunasonrisa Dogrove, that collects donations and materials to support the people of The Gambia.

Her support to communities and hospitals is greeted with a thunderous approval by the beneficiaries.

“During the distributions, I notice that the people appreciate what we are doing. It is fulfilling to see happiness in their expressions,” she said. “Seeing them happy is motivating and made me fall more in love with the work we do.”

“My plan is not to limit the donation to my home town but across the Gambia and this is why I move to new locations every time,” Isatou said.

Sarjo Kujabi is Isatou’s husband. He cannot hide his joy and pride in the humanitarian work his wife is doing with her partners. He supports his spouse by advising her on what to do and how to do it.

“My wife sharing and caring for fellow Gambians is a blessing to our Family,” Kujabi said.

Isatou has not just provided support to only her community of Sukuta, she has also helped people across the country, including the Faji Kunda Hospital.

She donated couches and chairs for new parents to the maternity ward of the hospital. The hospital only had baby couch and crib and she donated to help resolve the issue.

“We have only one baby couch in our hospital, we exchange newborns on this couch but now that Isatou donated an extra couch, it will make a lot of differences in Faji Kunda Health Center,” Madi Ceesay, the hospital’s chief officer said.

“The Health Center has been struggling for a very long time to the extent of bathing babies in the sink due to equipment shortage.”

The Health Center management is thankful to Isatou for the changes her donation brought to the health center.

“What Isatou is doing is a sign of responsible citizenship,” said Ceesay.

Growing up was not all rosy for Isatou. After graduating from high school, having a job was scarce. She did not rest on her laurels. She enrolled and had had training at a skills training center: Little Tree Skills Training Center.

Isatou donating to her former school

It prepared her for a career and ways that will change her life for the better. She received three years of skills training at Little Tree. She is now donating to the skills training center that helped shape her life.

Famara Sanyang, a former teacher to Isatou said it is delighting and hearty to see a former student of the school helping out and donating to the school.

“Isatou was among the first badge I thought in this school and she is the second student to be contributing to the development of this school. I am so proud of her,” Mr. Sanyang said.

Students at Little Tree were sharing a single sewing machine for training. Isatou’s contribution will change some of that in their learning process.

Isatou Sarr Rural Development Foundation supplies books, pencils, pens, clothes, baby items, mattresses, and hygienic materials, sewing machines, technical equipment, and food to people. She promises to give all that she can to support the people living in The Gambia for the country’s betterment and humanity.

Isatou is all about helping the needy. Helping the needy is the kind of headline you hardly see in the news but it is also the type of story that will make you smile and give you hope, like her friends will say:

“Since the objective of the Foundation is to help the needy, I see a great future for the foundation and the people of the Gambia,” said Omar Corr a friend to Mrs. Sarr.

Is It Mandatory For The National Assembly To Extend The State Of Emergency By 90 Days?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

The answer is in the negative. The National Assembly may reduce the time for enforcing a declaration of state of public emergency to less than 90 days .

“ Section 34 1) States that “ The President may, at any time, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, declare that –

(a) a state of public emergency exists in the whole or any part of The Gambia;

(b) a situation exists which, if it is allowed to continue, may lead to a state of public emergency.”

The Provision adds that

“(2) A declaration made under this section shall lapse at the expiration of a period of seven days, or if the National Assembly is not then in session twenty-one days, beginning on the day on which the Proclamation is published in the Gazette unless, before the expiration of that period, it has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by the votes of not less than two-thirds of all the members thereof.”

Both the President and the National Assembly could shorten a period of Public Emergency.

Subsection 3 permits the president to revoke a declarations as follows:

(3) A declaration made under subsection ( 1) may at any time be revoked by the President by Proclamation which shall be published in the Gazette.

The National Assembly could also revoke its resolution as follows:

“(4) A declaration made under subsection { 1) that has been approved by a resolution of the National Assembly shall, subject to subsection (3), remain in force so long as that resolution remains in force and no longer.

(5) A resolution of the National Assembly passed for the purpose of this section shall remain in force for ninety days or such shorter period as may be specified therein:

Provided that –

(a) any such resolution may be extended from time to time by a further resolution supported –

(i) in the case of a first extension, by the votes

(ii) in the case of a subsequent extension, by the votes of not less than three quarters of all the members of the National Assembly, but no extension shall exceed ninety days from the date of the resolution effecting the extension; and

(b) any such resolution may be revoked at any time by a resolution supported by the votes of the majority of all the members of the National Assembly.”

The Councils Should Monitor And Consult To Avoid Injustice

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The regulations call for closure of the shops in the market that are not selling food products as well as shops within 100 meters of the markets.

The objective is to decongest and ensure safe spacing to avoid the contagious virus from spreading.

Those whose shops are closed are now questioning how they would survive if they cannot sell their commodities.

The objective of the regulation is to promote safety nets around each person by maintaining a distance of two meters.

Councils should ask all those aggrieved in the markets and their surroundings how they would wish their problems to be solved by way of compensation or reorganizing the market to ensure that there is operation without congestion Foroyaa will follow up. Some cannot understand why their shops in or outside the market area are closed while street vendors occupy their space.

OB Conateh -The Man Who Never Played Football but Yet Sold His Properties to Develop Gambia’s Game

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Floodgate of condolences greet the death of virtual anyone. However, the ones being hurled at OB Conateh after his death today is beyond emotional.

Very typical of Gambians, legends are not celebrated until their passing. Talk of those who spurred Gambian football and his name will be the first to be reeled off the list.

He never played the round object but dared to invest almost religiously in a sport he never donned a jersey of but yet believed in so much.

Born November 1st 1937 and transitioning from St Augustine High School before taking up training at the United Africa Company in Lagos, Nigeria, Fisco as he is known to loved ones and OB to the football world, Conateh returned to serve as manager of Gambia Fisheries Limited.

He thrived in business but is popular most for his illustrious contributions in football. Interestingly, he had only ever taken part in cricket and cycling.

However, for his love for football spanning back in 1969, he would push for the founding of a football club today known as Wallidan spurred on by an army of young boys’ affection for the round object who’re today perhaps granddads.

Talk of domestic football success, Wallidan represent all of that, winning a combined sixteen domestic first division trophies with the sole gongs missing in their trophy cabinet being the Caf Champions League and Caf Confederation Cup -trophies they’ve made tries for but never slalomed past the group stages.

A quick recapitulation of the club’s legions of progresses shows that majority of Gambia’s many generation of national team footballers passed through Wallidan or came off via the side’s production line.

OB Conateh was life time president of the GFF until his passing today

Talk of the legendary Alhajie Momodou Njie famed for his sobriquet Biri Biri Njie, Jatto Ceesay, Mustapha Jarju, Ousman Jallow of his recent generations, all passed through the iconic Blue Boys’ outfit -Wallidan and under Fisco’s tutelage.

Jatto Ceesay could be recalled saying he owes his career success to OB whom he simply calls as Daddy.

During torrid times Wallidan battled funding issues, insiders at the Conateh family reveal, OB would sell off his properties to fund his dear club and help rivals domestic league teams -such was his unselfishness.

The Gambia Football Federation describe him a “devastating cricketer and an ex-national cycling champion” in a recent article pieced to eulogize its erstwhile president who ran affairs of the GFA then from 1993 before voluntarily retiring in 2001.

” In 1986, he was decorated with the prestigious honour of the Insignia of Member of the Republic of The Gambia (MRC); Officer of the National Order of the Republic of Cote d’ Ivoire in 1995; inducted into the Hall of Fame as National Cycling Champion, International Cricketer. For the outstanding contribution to the development of youth and sport in 1999; he also won the Millennium Award for Excellence by The Gambia National Olympic Committee in 2000 and in 2001, he was honoured with the Achievement Award for Excellence by The Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Insignia of the National Order of the Republic of The Gambia (ORG). In 2007, he was made Commander of the National Order of the Republic of Cote d’ Ivoire,” a portion of the piece read.

OB has been battling illness before his demise today.

Jatto Ceesay hugely credits OB Conateh for his career success and advice

Veteran Sport pundit Tijan Masaneh Ceesay tells of an elaborate but yet brief role “Daddy” played in helping set up Gambia’s first sport paper.

Biri Biri is one of legends o have passed through Wallidan under OB’s tenure

” This Man (OB), once a national bicycle champion would take Gambian football to the pinnacle whether as a Club owner, FA President or the Vice President of WAFU, an organization he ushered to maturity, walked the walk and did everything humanly possible for the Youth of our Country and Sports in general. TAKING A CHANCE ON ME, In December of 1984, I returned from an assignment in Freetown where I saw Sports Journalism at its best. There were lots of exclusive Sports Papers in Freetown and I was ready to duplicate it in The Gambia. On my return to Banjul I went to Tobacco Road to sell the idea to Daddy and without hesitation, he said YES and funded the first Gambian Sports Daily, Zone Two Cabral a hit in 1985. That was OB for you, he gave anyone a chance to succeed. I could go on and on and would have endless testimonies on the good deeds of OB and his love for country and still not capture the least,” he said in an emotional write up minutes ago.

Minister Samateh: World Bank to Build Infectious Treatment Center in the Gambia

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By: Kebba AF Touray

Minister Samateh

Gambia’s Health Minister, Dr. Ahmadou Lamin Samateh, said on Friday the World Bank was going to build a brand new state of the earth infectious disease treatment center in the Gambia within the shortest period.

Minister Samateh made this disclosure on Friday at the National Assembly while responding to the concerns made by lawmakers during the debate on the extension of the state of public emergency in the Gambia, effective 3rd April 2020.

He said: “The issue of COVID-19 is not an easy task, it is unprecedented, and we have never seen it before even in most of the developed countries. It has an impact on the lives of the people on the social fabric, humanity, finances, the way we live and the way we interact. This is how complex COVID-19 is”.

He urged for judicious use of the ‘grace period’, the country needs to swiftly act decisively and make positive decisions, as well as make and implement right decisions at the right time.

He said: “we have had four positive cases so far, one death, two patients recovered and one is undergoing a stable treatment at the government’s treatment center at the Sanatorium”.

He said: “By way of statistics, we now have 88 people under quarantine, 162 completed quarantine, 310 individuals completed follow up, 233 contacts were traced, total tests conducted 228( out of which 4 positive), 123 were negative and 1 inconclusive test that have to be repeated soon”.

Samateh told lawmakers that since the inception and the declaration of COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of effort has been done, and as such thanked Deputies for the sensitization campaigns they have conducted in their respective constituencies, which he described as the unique nature in which The Gambia is responding to COVID-19,

He said these campaigns by Members of the National Assembly in their constituencies, have not been the practice in other countries, but the countries were emulating that strategy from The Gambia.

He also thanked the National Assembly Select Committee on Health for the hard work it has been doing, noting the committee has been with them throughout coordinating their activities.

He apologized for the delay in logistics for the MPs to sensitize their electorate, due to the procurement procedures that must be followed, while noting the inadequacies in allocating resources to Deputies was due to the fact that the Ministry did not know the number of villages in their various constituencies.

Knowing the number of villages in the constituencies, Samateh said would have helped them in determining the number of items that should have been given to each lawmaker or his or her constituency.

He said: “Currently we have one testing center and that is at the MRC Gambia. Reason is that the MRC is renowned and well-established research center, wherein even in the developed countries, quite number of their testing is done in the research centers, because that is their work and that is what they do”.

He added: “without the MRC Gambia, the testing would have been done in the Pasteur Institute in Senegal, which is a Regional Reference Lab. Still some samples are taken for quality control, and when we do test, a third or fifth test is sent to the institute to ascertain that the tests we conduct are up to standard”.

He said the Ministry has started an assessment of the Kotu Lab to get the center ready so that they can conduct the tests there, adding they have identified other 3 centers to do the test in the country.

He added: “There are 10 isolation centers, some of them are okay, and some others are going to undergo renovation very soon. The assessment has been done and we are working on that. The treatment centers are two for now, 2 rooms at the MRC with 42 treatment beds at the Sanatorium. We are also working on other treatment centers across the country”.

NAMs REJECT 90 DAYS State OF Emergency extension opting for 45days

By: Kebba AF Touray

The National Assembly of the Republic of The Gambia, on Friday 3rd April 2020, rejected the 90 day extension request by the Attorney General and adopted a resolution extending the President’s Proclamation of a State of Public Emergency to 45 days, to be effective 3rd April 2020.

According to the Attorney Genital and Minister of Justice a proclamation of a state of public emergency by the President was first made on 18th March 2020, but no extension was sought from the National Assembly before the lapse of seven days as provided for by the Constitution. A second proclamation was made after the lapse of seven days, on 26th March 2020 according to the Gambia Gazette.

On 2nd April, 2020, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Aboubacarr Tambadou, tabled a Motion at the National Assembly for the Extension of the State of Public Emergency to ninety days. Consequent to a motion initiated by the Member for Serrekunda, Halifa Sallah, the Motion tabled by the Minister was referred to the standing committee on human rights and constitutional affairs for review. On the following day, 3rd April, 2020 the committee presented its recommendations to the Assembly, which included the adoption of a resolution extending the state of public emergency by 45 days instead of the 90 days requested by the executive. A lengthy debate then ensued which took more than 12 hours, ending with the passing of a resolution extending the state of public emergency for 45 days.

During the debate most NAMs expressed concern that the regulations linked to the proclamation should seriously consider the livelihood and human rights of the people. One concern that attracted the attention is that expressed by the member for Serrekunda, Halifa Sallah. He was concerned that the procedures adopted took cognisance of the separation of powers which has constitutional and legal foundation.

Justice Tambedou while moving the ‘Extension’ motion said it will help strengthen social distancing as well as enable Government to make proper planning and organization for the implementation of the immediate, medium and long term precautionary and preventive measures.

However, his motion set the stage for a heated debated a the Legislative House between the Member for Serrekunda Halifa Sallah and the Justice Minister himself.

According to Sallah, the objective of his motion was to know whether Justice Minister Tambedou’s ‘Extension’ Motion in connection with a second proclamation after allowing the first proclamation to lapse is not setting a precedence in giving unrestrained power to the president to issue proclamations without approval for extension by the National Assembly , ; whether there are any regulations published in the Gazette in association with the first proclamation and whether those regulations continued to be enforced after proclamation lapsed after the seventh day and whether the regulations are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.

Sallah moved a Motion for the National Assembly to refer and commit the Justice Minister’s ‘Extension’ Motion to the Human Rights and Constitutional Matters Standing Committee of the National Assembly. Halifa’s Motion which was finally voted for by thirty six Deputies saw the Justice Minister’s ‘Extension’ Motion referred and committed to the Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly.

The Committee held an emergency engagement with the Justice Ministry on the 2nd of April 2020 to properly and thoroughly scrutinize and consider the Minister’s ‘Extension’ Motion.

Suwaibou Touray, the Vice Chairperson of the Committee and Member for Wuli East, tabled the Committee’s report on Friday 3rd April 2020 before Deputies.

In tabling the report, Touray mentioned among other things that the Attorney General did say that they did not bring the first proclamation to the National Assembly for extension because they did not know that the Assembly was in session. They did so after the second proclamation to remedy the situation. Touray further said the Committee made among other recommendations during their discussion with the Minister, that the ninety days be reduced to forty five days; that the Justice Ministry work with line Ministries such as Health, Trade and Transport, to come up with compensatory mechanisms in the form of providing relief for the most vulnerable during the period of restriction.

After several hours of heated debate on the Committee’s Report, Members agreed to extend the period but were divided on the number of days but the majority accepted the recommendation of the Committee and extended the emergency to forty five days noting that subsidiary legislation imposed restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedom.

However, during the debate, Finance Minister Mambury Njie confirmed to the Deputies that there was no compensatory mechanism as at that period but they will be looking into the issue.

This according to the Lawmakers indicates that the welfare of the people during the State of Emergency is not guaranteed and as such, ninety days might impact adversely on the lives and livelihoods of the citizenry.

They adopted t a shorter period so that they could monitor the impact of their decision.
Thus the National Assembly adopted a forty five day extension period effective 3rd April 2020 with the ultimate objective of preventing the further spread of the Corona virus in the country.

Follow Foroyaa Newspaper for the interventions of Lawmakers on the debate on the Justice Minister’s ‘Extension’ Motion debate in subsequent editions.
Sittings continue today Monday 6th April 2020 at 10:00am prompt.

GAF Clarifies Former CDS’s request for logistics and staff support

By Makutu Manneh

The Gambia Armed Forces have clarified that the request for logistics and staff support by retired Lieutenant General Masanneh N. Kinteh is a temporary arrangement until the former Chief of Defense Staff leaves for his new post in the People’s Republic of China as Ambassador.

A media release from the Army reads: “GAF like many armed forces in the world accord some privileges to both serving and retired officers, soldiers and ratings in accordance with established laid down procedures.”

GAF high command said they wanted to make it clear that Masanneh N. Kinteh was not sacked but rather retired by President Barrow and that made him to be entitled to all statutory benefits such as gratuity as well as other privileges as a senior officer.

They added that Major General Yakubu A. Drammeh did not only consider and grant the request by his predecessor, but also granted it based on humanitarian grounds.

“The Gambia has changed forever and so does the Gambia Armed Forces, GAF in line with her reforms have formulated policies to make it a vibrant and relevant defense instrument to the admiration of all Gambians and non-Gambians alike”, the release stated.

Gambia Armed Forces also recognized the debate this issue had generated on social platforms.

“This shows that the Gambian people have taken ownership of their Armed Forces,” it said.

The Army said they also welcomed constructive and healthy criticisms by the public which they believed will ensure that the Army lives up to its constitutional mandate and other assigned roles to the expectations of her citizenry.

Masanneh Kinteh held top senior positions in Gambia Armed Forces since his enrollment in 1991. He served as the Deputy Chief of Defense Staff in 2009 and Chief of Defense Staff from 2009 to 2012 under Jammeh’s regime

Finance Minister says the D500 Million COVID-19 Fund is available and ready for disbursement

By: Kebba AF Touray

Finance Minister, Mambury Njie, on Friday told legislators the D500 Million Emergency Fund for the battle against COVID-19 is available and ready for disbursement.

Njie said this while responding to lawmakers.

This statement was made during the debate on the extension of the 90 day state of emergency, proposed by the government to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in The Gambia.

He clarified: “The entire D500 million is for health and the committee will be looking at how we do the disbursement. It is demand driven and there is below the line account. Right now, before the D500 million, we have disbursed D12 million. They have only spent D11 million”.

He said: “And now there is a request in the Ministry for D60 Million, this includes the payment of hotels and some imprest for some regional health teams. That is D100,000 for each of them and we are also making sure that all the procurement, internal auditing , verification is done. As at now, they have not even touch the D500 million”.

He told lawmakers they are managing within the D21 billion allocated in the national budget by Parliament. We don’t want to expand and we also want to contain the inflation, fiscal deficit.”
He said this is a small vulnerable economy and whatever they do, they make sure that fiscal discipline is there.

He added: “Otherwise if we have any dislocation, everything will crumble and if I come to you for another supplementary appropriation bill, with another D21 billion, we cannot pay it in the midst of our revenue projection and the projection will go down”.

He said he earlier told lawmakers that the country’s projected growth rate of 6.3 percent might go down by 3.3 percent. He was however quick to point out that as of Friday morning, the revised figure they have was about 2.5 percent. This he said, calls for the need to adjust and tighten their belts.

He explicated: “In the event we need to give any compensation package to the vulnerable, out of the total Gambian households 280, 659, we said if you have to do everything rice, oil and D1000 for each household, it will cost us D800 million, if we do 50 percent of the household, it will cost us D400 million. If we do 40 percent, it is D320 million and if we do 30 percent, it will cost us D240 million”.

He clarified: “The 10 million United States dollars that is being rumored is D590 million. I have just signed it today. It is not coming to us, the World Bank will be working closely with health team to make sure that all the procurement and everything that is agreed here is properly executed”.

Minister Njie emphasized the D500 million approved by the Barrow administration is available.
He added: “The total committed fund is D512 million. Out of this, we have already disbursed D12 Million, but up to today, there is no single money coming from any donor”.

He said “We do have access to facilities at the IMF, but we are not using it now. The initial quota we have is about US$21 million, that they will give us for five years interest free and everything that will help us at least cushion the exogenous shocks”.

He urged: “We have to be realistic, think about sustainability and the future. If we spend everything today, tomorrow we are empty. We will appeal that give us time we are managing with the limited resources we have, otherwise if there is any sign of dislocation, the entire country will go down”.

Justice Minister Justifies Regulation of Essential Commodities

By: Kebba AF Touray

The Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambedou on Friday clarified that the restriction of essential commodities, was to protect Gambians at minimum from opportunist, who would hike the prices of basic commodities that the citizenry will need to survive.

He said this at the Parliament on 3rd April 2020, during a debate for the extension of the state of public emergency to 90 days, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

He said: “If you look at the list of essential commodities, they are 99.9 percent of food stuff and the reason is because we want to protect that food. We have identified the essential food commodities, so that they will be protected from hoarding, re-export and price hikes. All of that is for the benefit of the people of this country”.

He said the restrictions on public transport would be a challenge that will hit hard the entire sector. He said the ultimate objective was to restrict movement, but only for the most essential services.

He remarked: “These regulations are the first of many that are going to come before the Legislators and they were swiftly done to control the spread of the virus for now. They will be amended and revised, but other regulations will also come to regulate every other aspect of life in this country”.

Minister Tambedou added that all that Government was asking for was the extension of the state of emergency for 90 days.

He noted: “We have heard you for the 45 days. We will leave with that, but what we want is to buy time to stop the spread of this virus. If 45 days is going to be enough for us, we will take it. If it doesn’t when we get there, we will cross the bridge”.

Minister Tambedou clarified they were not proposing a lockdown, because they understood the competing interest between the need to prevent the pandemic from taking hood in this country and allowing the people to live with minimal disruptions to their lives.

He said: “That is why we are calling for this state of emergency to be extended. It will allow the government to put the restriction in the form of regulations, which in our views are the dearest minimum that the government can provide to protect the people from getting the pandemic”.

He said the restrictions were the minimum protections, but they had safeguards and three of the four regulations that were presented before the Lawmakers for affirmation, were to restrict movement to prevent infection.

Human Rights Committee Recommends 45 days Extension of State of Emergency

By: Kebba AF Touray

The Human Rights Committee of the National Assembly on recommended a 45-day Extension of the State of Emergency.

The Committee made this recommendation after they scrutinized the 90 day state of emergency motion, tabled by Justice Minister Tambedou on Thursday at the Assembly.

Tabling the report before the Legislature, Suwaibou Touray, member for Wuli East and Vice Chairperson of the Human Rights and Constitutional Matters Committee, said the subsidiary legislations referred to the committee are Restriction on Public Transport Emergency Powers Regulations 2020, Essential Commodities Emergency Powers Regulations 2020, Restriction on Open Markets and Shopping Areas Emergency Regulation 2020 and Closure and Restriction on Non-essential Public Emergency Powers Regulation 2020.

He said the legislators advanced concerns such as whether Presidential Proclamations followed the due process, proclamation and subsidiary legislations were published in a gazette, the 90-day extension is justifiable, restrictions imposed are reasonable and justifiable under a democratic society.

He said the committee noted inter alia that the 21-day proclamation implied that the National Assembly was not in season, and that the mentioned subsidiary legislations were published in the Gazette, each subsidiary legislations imposed restrictions on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms, but without compensation.

He said the committee is of the view that commercial businesses should not be totally banned, but only opening and closing times should be restricted.

He said: “There has been divergent views among deputies, but they finally agreed on recommending for 90 days. However, it is equally advised to take note of the seriousness of the pandemic”.

He said the committee also recommended the deputies to approve the motion, but with reduction from 90 to 45 days and that the Justice Ministry to make reflection on some amendments in the regulations to better clarify the restrictions and provide definitions therein.

He said: “The Committee also recommends that the Finance, Health, Trade, Tourism, Transport, Interior Ministries, to work with Justice Ministry to come up with a compensatory mechanism to provide relief package to the most vulnerable during the times of restrictions. The committee also advised the Justice Ministry, to clarify the reason that led to the declaration of the second proclamation and the none applicability of the 21 days’ duration of the first proclamation as the National Assembly was in session”.

The report of the Committee on the Extension Motion, is currently undergoing debate and is yet to be adopted by the Lawmakers.

The report once adopted, will see the Gambia in a state of emergency for the next 45 days(equivalent to one month and fifteen days).

Follow Foroyaa Newspaper for the interventions of the members in subsequent editions..

Senegalese Gendarmerie Seize Gambian Fishmonger’s Motorbike

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By Lamin Fatty

A Senegalese Gendarmerie patrol team on Tuesday, 31st March 2020 intercepted a Gambian Bonga fish seller and seized his motorcycle.

Lamin Ceesay, a native of Fadia Kunda in Wulli West District is a renowned fishmonger in the border villages in the Gambia and Senegal who uses his motor bicycle to do his business.

Ceesay narrated that these Senegalese Gendarmeries met him in a village called Yorodondo in Senegal and it was where his motorcycle was taken from him by the securities.

“At the time they found me at Yorodondo in Senegal, I have already sold almost half of my Bonga fish. When they asked for my particulars, I presented my national identity card to them, the particulars of the motorbike and my le ces passé. They then asked me whether I don’t know about the closure of the borders between the Gambia and Senegal. I told them I am not aware.”

He added: “They demanded my motorcycle key from me and I surrendered it to them, they carried my motorcycle in their vehicle and went with it. While departing, they asked me to meet them in their base in Maccka. But many people in that village advised me not to meet them in their based because I could be arrested and lockup”, Ceesay explained.

Lamin Ceesay told Foroyaa that he was informed by a Senegalese man that the Gendarmerie officers came from Tambacounda for patrol and if he goes to the station, they will detain and fine him for violating their laws.

A year ago, two residents of Sare Ngai in Wuli West District were chased by Senegalese custom officers from the border who took their two motorbikes. The two haven’t received their properties from the Senegalese Customs officers after two years of struggle.

Pape Diouf, Former President of ‘Olympique’ Marseille Dies of Coronavirus

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From the Editor

Famous French Football Magazine with the Caption ‘‘Our Pape Is Dead’’
Foroyaa Sport as well as all other media outlets across the World have learned with deep sorrow, the recall to God of Pape Diouf, the former first African President of Olympique de Marseille and players’ agent.

Diouf had Covid-19 disease and was put on ventilation in a health facility in Dakar.
According to news from his family and close relatives, Diouf had to be repatriated to France for more intensive care.

Pape whose real name is Mababa Diouf was born in Abéché, in Chad of Senegalese parents, with the mother coming from Saint Louis.

Diouf worked as a former journalist for ‘‘La Marseillaise’’ Newspaper in France in the 1980s, and became a successful agent from the 1990s, taking care of the interests of Joseph-Antoine Bell, Marcel Desailly, Basile Boli, William Gallas, Samir Nasri and Didier Drogba, among a series of very famous players. He arrived at the head of OM in 2004, before being officially appointed President of the French Football Club in 2005.

In recent times, Diouf fiercely opposed CAF’s notable re-arrangement of the Africa Cup of Nations football calendars, after convincing several foreign coaches including Claude Leroy, to coach the Senegalese national team.

Unfortunately his dream of seeing the Senegalese National Football team winning the Africa Cup of Nations has not been fulfilled during his lifetime.

In this painful circumstance and trying moments of the people of the World, this medium joins the world of football, his family and the whole nation of the sisterly Republic of Senegal, to sympathize with the pain of the death of one of Africa’s finest that has hit them. May his soul, rest in perfect peace. Amen!