Saturday, January 25, 2020
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Electoral Reform And A New Constitution

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A referendum under the 1997 Constitution which is now in force requires the participation of fifty percent of registered voters and seventy five percent of those who voted for a yes vote to prevail. It would however be injustice of the highest order if a referendum takes place without the registration of voters that should include all those who are qualified to vote but are yet to be registered.

The last registration of voters took place in 2016 before the 2016-2018 electoral cycle. It is therefore absolutely necessary for general registration to take place to enable everyone who is qualified to vote to participate in the referendum that would determine whether Gambia has the constitution of a third republic or retain the constitution of the second republic as amended.

What Further Events Does The Month Of Demonstration Hold?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

January is the month when President Barrow assumed office in 2017. However 19th January is an ordinary day in The Gambia. What have not been ordinary this month are the demonstrations which have taken place and are about to take place as we come to the end of the month.

The Victim Center is to hold a demonstration on the 25th of January. They will start at West Field and end at Alliance Francaise. Foroyaa will monitor their demand.

On the other, ‘three years jotna’ will also be having a second attempt to make a point. Foroyaa will also be monitoring their demands.

All these demonstrations attest to one fact that should be borne in mind by all Gambians, that is, power belongs to the people who must exercise it to show that truth and peace prevail. Those entrusted with power must also ensure that it is exercised to protect and promote the rights and general welfare of the people.

In the month of January, history will record that the executive is the custodian of authority.

3 Survivors of 1998 Brikama Mosque Incident Testify

By Yankuba Jallow

3 survivors of the 1998 Brikama central mosque incident that resulted in the arrest and prosecution of 10 have on Thursday, 23rd January 2020 testified on their victimisation as well as their colleagues.

74-year-old Jerreba Touray, 64-year-old Abdoulie Sanneh and 48-year-old Alfusainey Touray appeared before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) to narrate their ordeal in the hands of the paramilitary and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Jerreba was born in 1946 in Brikama and he resides in Brikama. Abdoulie was born on the 3rd January 1956 in Brikama. He said he was an accountant but from 2004 to date he has not been working owing to his health issues. He said he has worked at the Brikama Area Council as a revenue collector. He said his last employment was with Bottrop School as a bursar.

Alfusainey was born in Brikama on the 8th April 1972 and now resides in the United States of America. He said he worked at the NIA from 1996 to 2003 when he was sacked. He said he is a civil servant in the USA. He said he is the son of the late Imam.

Testimonies
Sanneh in his narration said in 1998, members of High Park, a construction group came to the Imam of Brikama Alagie Karamo Touray and told him that they want to erect the fence of the mosque. He added that constructors were given D10,000 by Tuti Faal, the former wife of ex-President Yahya Jammeh. According to the witnesses, the purpose of the construction was to extend and upgrade the fence.

He said the constructors were all members of the Alliance for Patriotic Reorientation and Construction (APRC).

“The constructors were active members of APRC and they used to participate in their political activities,” Sanneh said.

The witnesses said the Imam allowed the construction to start, but told them (the constructors) not to touch a particular area because it was where the elders used to sit.
“The Imam emphasized to them to leave the place where the elders of the community used to sit and the High Park assured the Imam that they won’t touch the place,” he said.
He added “when the Imam travelled, the constructors erected two pillars at the place where the Imam prohibited them from doing.”

The 74 – year – old Jerreh said the Imam informed the constructors (High Park) before they commence the work that any work that is done at the place will be demolished. He said while the Imam was away, the constructors built two pillars at the place. He added two elders of the community of Brikama Karamo Banna and Basansan Sanneh told them to stop the work at the place, but the workers were adamant and they continued with the work.
Jerreh said: “I was the one who informed the Imam when he returned from his trip about the activity of the constructors. I went with the Imam together with Malang Kalifa and Abdoulie Sanneh and demolished the two pillars that the constructors built at the place where the elders used to sit.”

Alfusainey said the members of High Park were all from Brikama. He said the chairman was late Malang Ida Bojang and the members included the late Chief Dembo Keleng Bojang, Alkalo Lamin Mondo Jatta and many other supporters of the APRC.
“They (the High Park) were influential in Brikama,” he said.

Abdoulie Sanneh said after bringing down the structures, they performed the noon prayers and went home. He said he was arrested by the paramilitary after performing the sunset prayers.

“There were a lot of paramilitaries. They were all armed,” he said.

He said the police also arrested the elders who told the constructors to stop their work including Basansan who was at the time in his 90s. He added one Bakary Jatta who was the eldest of the Jatta kunda clan was 85 and was having eye and ear defects.

Jerreba and Abdoulie said Ba Pateh Bojang was the one identifying the people the paramilitary should arrest. Jerreba said the son of the Imam also named Jerreba Touray was also arrested for asking the paramilitary their reasons for arresting his father.

Alfusainey said late Daba Marenah was part of the officers that arrested his father.

“They were telling my father to go with them, but my father refused. Late Daba Marenah asked them to grab and take my father away, but the police were able to convince him and they went together,” Alfusainey said.

He said after his father was taken to the police station, he was told that he was under arrest and he was asked to board the paramilitary truck where the other arrestees were sitting.

He said he witnessed his father’s arrest at the mosque and when they left, the paramilitary came back for him.

“I was arrested at home around midnight. Two paramilitary trucks came home and said they were looking for me. When I came out, they told me I was under arrest and they took me to the police station,” he said.

Jerreba and Abdoulie said they boarded a truck and were taken to the Banjul Police Station. Sanneh said at around 2 am, they were moved to the State Central Prisons – Mile II.

“We were put in confinement. They removed the planks therein and we all slept on the bare floor,” Sanneh said.

Sanneh said they spent 22 days under detention.

Ba Jerreh said the police did not tell them reasons for their arrest and they weren’t charged with any offences.

“The statement takers told us we pull down a part of the mosque,” he said.

Abdoulie Sanneh said Ba Jerreba forgot the incident because of his old age.

“We were not told anything. Our statements were not taken. We were only put in the cell and at around 2 to 3 am we were taken to Mile II,” he said.

He said they found Lawyer Ousainou Darboe and Lamin Wa Juwara and some senior security officers from the Prison Department in the cell.

“We were taken to Confinement 4,” he said.

Alfusainey who was 26 said after his arrest, he was taken to the Brikama Police Station.
“One officer Nfamara Jallow asked me to do “monkey dance”. I did this “monkey dance” for a long time until I couldn’t stand. I attempted to do the dance until I couldn’t do it anymore. Nfamara told me ‘you people feel that you own Brikama’,” he said.

He said after “monkey dance” Nfamara asked them to take him behind the cell and punish him. He said after the torture, the paramilitary brought in Lamin Wa Juwara who was at the time bare footed.

“I saw them hitting Wa Juwara with their weapons,” he said.

He said Jallow was the Station Officer at the time. He said before he was taken to Mile II, he was taken back to their home and the police searched his house but they did not find anything.

“They broke the door of my father’s house and they searched the house. They found a gun and it was taken away,” he said.

He said on their way to Banjul, the vehicle was stopped around the Denton Bridge by late Baba Jobe and some people who were hiding in the bush.

“Wa Juwara was pulled out of the vehicle. They began beating Wa Juwara on the tar road. They beat him until he couldn’t speak anymore,” he said.

He said Juwara was bleeding and his finger was broken by the tormentors (Baba Jobe with 3 others).

He said Baba Jobe was part of those who tortured Wa Juwara and one Modou Pika Jallow. He said the driver of the vehicle was Pa Njaga Mendy.

Ba Jerreh said the planks were removed and the place was very dirty.

“We found it difficult to sit or lie down. I sat at one place and slept till morning,” he said.
Alfusainey said both his father and his elder brother were diabetes patients.
“My elder brother died immediately after our release,” he said.

He said they were served with only one meal in their entire detention at Mile II. He said they were arraigned before the Kanifing Magistrate’s Court on the eleventh day of their detention. He said they were arraigned at 6:30 pm and the matter was transferred to the high court in Banjul. He said the 10 of them were charged jointly with the demolition of the mosque and conspiracy to commit that crime. He said after 9 months of trial the court discharged them of the offences as alleged. He said the matter was moved to the Brikama Magistrate’s Court because it was the court that had the jurisdiction and not Kanifing. He said they were discharged by Magistrate Lamin Darboe.

Jerreba said as a result of his detention, he cannot work now while Sanneh said he contracted diabetes and he lost his job.

“I lost my lands. Since 2004 to now I am just sitting down,” Sanneh said.

Alfusainey said: “My brother was admitted at Dr. Ceesay’s clinic in Kololi after he was released by the security and he never returned home – he died.”

Sanneh said the Imam was amputated twice and he died as a consequent of the second amputation in 2010. He added that Bakary Jatta and Basansan suffered from a disease and they both couldn’t survive it and died.

PURA Engages Community Radios on Regulatory Measures

By Nelson Manneh

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has yesterday the 23th of January 2020, engaged community radio Stations on regulatory issues with a view to taking the necessary approaches needed to enhance sector growth.

The event that took place at the PURA main conference hall brought together stakeholders from the community radio stations to discuss the challenges the community radio stations are facing in disseminating relevant information to their various communities.

Mr. Momodou Jallow the Director General of PURA said the broadcasting sector; particularly radio has grown significantly over the last few years.

“As the sector regulator responsible for licensing in broadcasting, PURA has a number of objectives which range across both community and teaching considerations,” he said.
DG Jallow said the media has served as an important interface between agencies of government like PURA and the public.

“Gambians are very much aware of the activities of the Authority and therefore, the Authority relies and will continue to rely on and strengthen collaboration with the media in the dissemination of important information to the public,” he said.

He said they are cognizant of the closing boundaries between traditional radio platforms and online platforms which have allowed radio to expand its presence and reach.
“Almost all radio stations currently have a digital presence allowing you to broadcast even outside the confines of the Gambia,” he noted.

Alieu Ngum Chairperson PURA Board of Directors for his part said from the development of regulatory frameworks to its most recent move to allow for growth, the Authority has ensured that the country remains relevant among nations adopting international best practices in the broadcasting sphere.

“We cannot deny the fact that community radios have the potential of promoting seamless communication within their various communities reach as they will be able to disseminate news and current affairs where the national broadcasters and other commercial radios don’t have the reach or have limited coverage,” he said.

PURA Chairperson Board of Directors said as they are responsible for licensing in broadcasting, the expansion and growth can be attributable to clear institutional direction, focused leadership and an empowered workforce.

Marabout’s Son Says Islamic Council Played A Role In His Father’s Arrest

By Yankuba Jallow

Abass Muhideen Hydara on Thursday, 23rd January told the TRRC that his father’s arrest and subsequent prosecution was facilitated by the Supreme Islamic Council.

Late Hydara was a marabout and had a large following. He was residing in Darsilami in Foni.

He said on the 28th day of July 2014, the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) under the leadership of the current President Momodou Lamin Touray together with former President Yahya Jammeh prayed the feast of Ramadan on the 28th July 2014.

He said on the same day, the SIC asked the former head of state not to allow prayers on the following day.

“Acting on this instruction, Yahya Jammeh said he is the owner of the country and no one is allowed to pray the following day. He threatened anyone who prays the following day would be arrested,” the witness said.

He said it was the belief of his father as stated by the prophet that people should pray only if they saw the moon.

“We prayed on the day prohibited by Yahya Jammeh and the Islamic Council. Our alkali and my father were arrested by the police,” he said.

He said his father was planning to go to perform the pilgrimage in Mecca but his trip couldn’t materialise as a result of his arrest and subsequent prosecution.

“My father had large followers and his arrest affected many people. We were all let down because the Supreme Islamic Council (SIC) pioneered his arrest,” he said.

He said his father’s belief was people should sight the moon before praying, but the Islamic Council believed that people should pray with Mecca.

He said the Council tried all they could for people to pray together with Mecca and when they realised they couldn’t, they asked the former President to go against the people.

Detention of his father
He said his father spent one day at Sibanor Police Station and two days at Yundum Police Station. He said his father was moved to the Police Headquarters in Banjul and later they went to the Supreme Islamic Council.

He said at the meeting at the Supreme Islamic Council, Imam Abdoulie Fatty of the State House told his late father that he was behind his arrest and not the former President. He said they argued there.

“They asked him to accept that he did wrong and he should confess. My father refused to accept doing any wrong. There was quarrel because we knew we did nothing wrong,” the witness said.

He said the members of the Council asked them to return to the Yundum Police Station.
“They told us we will be released. When we went to the police station, we spent the night there. What the Supreme Islamic Council told us did not happen. When the then IGP Yankuba Sonko came to the Yundum Police Station, my father was released on bail on the following day with a bond of D100,000,” he said.

He said the trial started on Tuesday, 12th August 2014 before the Brikama Magistrate’s Court. He said the court on the first day of the trial refused his late father’s plea to sit down even though he was of old age.

He said his father was jointly charged with Wuyeh Touray for disobeying the lawful orders of the ex-President by going against the prayer day announced on the national radio (GRTS). He said the case was handled by three magistrates and the case was transferred to the Brikama High Court. The trial ended in May 2015.

“My father was not a criminal. He was arrested and prosecuted on what he believed as a Muslim. He suffered in the hands of the regime for crimes he never committed,” he said.

Rongo’s case against IGP, 9 others commences

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By Nelson Manneh

The 30 million dalasi claim by renowned musician Rongo against the Inspector General of Police, Director-General of the drug squad and 9 others yesterday proceeded before the Banjul High Court.

Momodou Lamin Jarju alias Rongo is claiming for 10 million dalasis for his unlawful arrest and detention, 10 million dalasis for malicious prosecution for several offences and 10 million dalasis for loss of earnings occasioned by the unlawful arrest, detention and malicious prosecution.

The plaintiff, ‘Rongo’ is a musician and a native of Banjulunding, in Kombo North district, while the defendants are Momodou Lungs Jarju, who is the Alkalo of Banjulunding, Imam Yahya Bah, Malang Njie, Modou Badjie, Landing Korteh, Lamin Nafulou Jarju, Jarbel Ceesay, Foday Barry, Inspector General of Police and Director-General of Drug Law Enforcement Agency Gambia (DLEAG). The first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh defendants, are residents of Banjulunding. The 8thdefendant Foday Barry was a senior officer of DLEAG.

Appearing before Justice Sainabou Wadda-Cisse, Lawyer Bory S. Touray for Rongo told the court that they are ready to proceed. All the defendants were present except Alkalo Momodou Lungs Jarju, Malang Njie and Jabbel Ceesay. The IGP and DG DLEA were not present but they were represented by State Counsel M. Sowe. Counsel Sanna Badjie represented the other defendants.

The defence submitted their statement of defence and 11 exhibits to support their case. The exhibits included a judgment of a criminal case by the Banjul Magistrate’s Court dated 1st November 2012 in favour of Rongo. The artist also tendered a copy of the report compiled by NDEA along with other documents.

Lawyer B.S. Touray told the court that they now want to continue with the case adding that the documents tendered are relevant to their case.

The trial judge admitted and marked the documents as defence exhibits.
The matter was adjourned till the 29th January 2020 at 11:00 am.

ICJ Unanimously Orders Myanmar To Stop The Genocide

The Republic of The Gambia has welcomed the unanimous decision of the International Court of Justice at The Hague on Thursday January 23rd 2020, ordering provisional measures to prevent further acts of genocide from occurring in Myanmar.

The Court’s unanimous Order approves provisional measures requested by The Gambia and recognizes the reality that the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar, are at risk of ongoing genocidal acts, and that they need the urgent protection of the Court during the pendency of the case against Myanmar.

Specifically, the Court unanimously ordered Myanmar and all entities under its control, to take all measures within its powers to prevent the commission of all acts of genocide against the Rohingya, including killings, causing serious bodily or mental harm, inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction and measures to prevent births. The Court also ordered Myanmar to ensure the preservation of all evidence related to the allegations of the crime of genocide.

Further, the Court ordered Myanmar to report to the Court after four months and then every six months thereafter, on its compliance with the Order. The Court rejected wholesale Myanmar’s request for the Court to dismiss The Gambia’s case against Myanmar and strike it from the Court’s docket.

These provisional measures are binding under International Law and The Gambia fully expects Myanmar to comply with them.

The Gambia welcomes the Court’s notification of its Order of provisional measures to the United Nations Security Council, pursuant to Article 41 (2) of the Court’s Statute. The Gambia calls upon the UN Security Council to fulfill its role in ensuring compliance with the Court’s Order.

While these measures offer some interim protection for the Rohingyas, The Gambia looks forward to pursuing its case against Myanmar to a final Judgment of the Court on the merits and on damages.

London Based Gambian Music Promoter Harps On Gambian Music

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Welcome to another Edition of the Arts and Music column.

With Makutu Manneh

London based Gambian law practitioner and music admirer Claudius Taylor Sonko in an interview with Foroyaa said music does not match with politics because it affects an artist’ career.

“Artists should not let politicians dominate them because people or their fans will not take them seriously,” he said.

Claudius Taylor Sonko who said he was born in Banjul and raise in Talinding, said artists should avoid such and learn from what happened during the former president’s era.
Mr. Taylor said he owns the ‘Talinding Artist House’ with sub-branches like Jokadu records, Karantaba Music Den and Sika Publishing; that all this is initiated with the vision to help Gambian artists and promoting Gambian art.

“I want to help the artists and not only to make it big in the Gambia but outside the Country as well, by branding Gambian music as an international product like other countries,” Taylor said; that Gambian Artists should produce music with messages and hopes that tells the youth what to do; that should tell them the story of the country. Taylor said Gambian artists are talented but urged them to come up with messages in their music that will last for the rest of their career and beyond. He advised them to value their culture and avoid imitating others in singing and playing music.

Taylor said music is powerful and contributes to a nation’s economy if it is done and managed properly; that it is time for Gambia artists to realize this; that he is ready to help and promote Gambian music because he loves doing it even though he is getting nothing from it.

“I hope people and the artists themselves will support me. This is about helping our country and community and we should put them first in whatever we do. This is a valuable business that can create employment and prevent youth from risking their lives by embarking on the ‘‘backway” journey.

Multilingual Rapper Wants Gambians to Consume His Message through His Music

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‘B-Da Sufi’ is a Gambian artist who sings in different languages and wants his fellow countrymen to comprehend his message through his songs which talks about peace, love and the difficult living conditions of Europe.

“I want to explain to the people the type of life we live in Europe. People just do not know what is going on there. They just think that everything is good over there and that is why I released an Album called welcome to Europe. I want Gambians to get these and other messages because my music is all about messages and I want them to get these messages,” he said.

According to ‘B-Da Sufi’, he can associate to three nationalities; that he was born in the Gambia, raised in Senegal but currently resides in Norway where he is a citizen.

In an interview with this reporter, ‘B-Da Sufi’ said Gambian music is doing well; that some of the Artist have started filling the stadium during shows and described this as good; that it shows that Gambians are coming out now to support their artists and this was not happening before. He however called for more effort by all and sundry to give more support to Gambian artists. He urged his fellow artists to work harder and believe in themselves and what they do.

‘B-Da Sufi’ has been engaged in music since 1997. His first album was released in 2007 and has also done many promotional songs in Senegal. He is an independent hip hop artist residing in Oslo, Norway. He has developed a style of rap in many languages such as English, Norwegian and Wolof etc. By blending these different languages, gives ‘B-Da Sufi’ such unique style of hip hop.

UTG Student Seeks Financial Assistance to Continue His Education

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By Isatou Kanyi

A 27 year old male student of the University of The Gambia in the person of Adama Saidy, seeks financial assistance from all and sundry to continue his education.

According to Adama, he is a Senior School graduate studying Human Resource Management at the University of the Gambia; that in 2017, he completed his first semester course but later faced financial problems and could not afford the fees to continue to the next stage.

Saidy said his parents are not financial strong to pay for his University education; that the tuition fees for the 2019 to 2020 academy year is D34,900.00.

According to Adama, he has been knocking doors to get support to no avail; that he has applied for scholarship from the Ministry of Higher Education and other institutions but nothing has worked out.

“I am very humble and obedient and also very intelligent and diligent as a reader. I become one of the most successful Class Prefects at my School,” he said. Saidy concluded by calling on Government, NGOs and philanthropists within and outside the Gambia, to come to his aid in order for him to fulfill his educational ambitions.

Anyone who wants to assist Adama Saidy can reach him on the following numbers: 3548695 / 6922790 / 2050095.

Gambian Striker Assan Ceesay Moves to Germany

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By Sulayman Bah

Leading Gambian striker Assan Ceesay has sealed a switch to Germany on loan, Foroyaa Sport can report.

The goal-getter leaves parent club FC Zurich on loan until end of the current season to taste football in Germany.

He has been unable to replicate his deadly form for the Gambia national team at club level, notching only a goal in twelve appearances for former Swiss league champions FC Zurich.
The 25-year-old now joins promotion-chasing German second tier side Osnabruck who see the scorpion as the perfect fit for their push to the Bundesliga.

Ceesay has a three-year deal –counting this year – left with Zurich and hopes to return at elapse of the term an improved attacker.

Osbabruck sports director couldn’t hide his excitement at capture of the Gambian’s signature who was four years ago plying his trade in the Senegalese championat with Casa Sport.

Letter to the CRC –Observations for Sport in the Constitution

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Dear Sir,

Observations on the first Draft Constitution
It is with great pleasure that we write to express our profound appreciation for the wonderful piece of legislation drafted by the CRC. Formulation of constitution of such magnitude in a very diverse society like ours is not an easy task. One must reflect all of the divergent views, values, beliefs, and interests of different stakeholders in the formulation process. This, we believe, you have done to the best of your ability and prowess. We commend the CRC collectively and individually for expressing their love and loyalty to the nation by exerting all efforts to make sure that the wishes and aspirations of all Gambians are echoed in the law, as we march to carve out an inclusive and progressive future for the country.

However, we observe that Sport, although a very important social and economic factor in any nation’s development, is not mentioned even a single time in the first draft constitution. Therefore, we have collected suggestions and recommendations from sport stakeholders, which we here present to the CRC for consideration. We believe that Sports must be constitutionally and legally recognized in the draft constitution. The following are our recommendations:

1. Sport Law
This legislation should outline matters related to commercialization, contracts, sport disputes, protection of athletes’ rights, protection of people with disabilities, hosting of international events, funding of national teams and national associations, transparency, accountability and good governance.

2. Establishment of Sport Court/Tribunal
There is an urgent need for the establishment of a competent court/tribunal to settle all sport related disputes before such matters are referred or appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne (Switzerland).

The proposed Sports Tribunal should have jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions of the National Sports Council, National Sports Associations or Regional Sport Committees (and other sports-related disputes), where mutually agreed by all interested parties. We further recommend that the constitution formally recognizes the proposed Sports Tribunal, as it does the District Tribunals and other judicial bodies.

3. Construction of Sport Infrastructure (accessibility to people with disabilities)
We note that section 56 of the Draft Constitution provides for disability rights, including the right to equal treatment and dignity. We suggest for this section also specifies the rights of people with disabilities to engage in sports and to have access to suitable sport facilities. In addition, we recommend that the right to practice sport and the availability of sport facilities be specifically recognized among the social rights of all citizens. This is a necessity because lack of infrastructures in our communities has contributed to widespread apathy towards sport in the country.

4. Budgetary allocation for sport
In our view, sport has not been sufficiently supported in the national budget over the years. The budgetary allocations for sport have always been relatively insignificant, being treated in conjunction with youth activities in general. For this reason, we recommend that the budgetary allocation for sport be increased to a far more significant percentage of the national budget. Sport not only contributes to youth and community development and empowerment but is a proven significant tool for social change, health, education equity and transformation as well as for economic development.

In closing, we would like to reiterate our profound gratitude to the CRC for a job well done. However, we request that the above recommendations in the interest of sport be included in the constitution to ensure the construction of a healthy, peaceful and active society through sport participation.

Please accept the assurances of our highest consideration and esteem.

Yours Faithfully,

Yorro Njie
President – NUSF Gambia

On-form Gamtel’s Ndong out to Shoot down Champions Brikama

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By Sulayman Bah

Gamtel’s top scoring gem Yaya Ndong will be out today to wreak havoc on Brikama United at their home pitch.

Ndong has notched in five goals and appears in no mood to slow down.
The diminutively built striker was the country’s golden boot winner in the 2016 league campaign on eight goals.

Luck has dealt him better cards this term having almost equaled that feat in just five games with Brikama United today to perhaps making the sixth.

Also a Gambia youth international, Yaya, known for his ability to tower over defender and with header goals, will be hoping to put the West Coast Region and defending league champions to the guillotine.

Elsewhere, Banjul United will be facing Hawks in Banjul on the same day as well as Gambia Ports Authority basement occupants BK Milan at the Independence Stadium.

When is the end of the mandate of the CRC?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

On 4th June 2018 the Constitutional Review Commission came into being. According to the Act establishing the Commission, it is given a period of 18 months to complete its work. This means that its work should continue till December 2019. It is given the possibility of having its work extended by six months. It is therefore expected that this extension will allow the commission to function until May 2020 in order to complete its work.

Now that the three year mandate of the President is chaff in the wind, the nation must ensure that institutions established to carry out constitutional and electoral reforms are fit for purpose. There is need for thorough scrutiny of the instruments and a debate intensified on all issues of contention to come up with an instrument that all Gambians will embrace as their own constitution. Consultation should begin right away as to how to put up the best constitution and the best electoral law.

The TRRC and its mandate

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Gambians claim that they want a new Gambia. This requires taking stock of the past to identify all shortcomings and then build the instruments and institutions necessary to prevent recurrence. Currently there are transitional institutions established to manage the process so that the country moves as an organised unit to address the problems of the past without jeopardizing national cohesion and healing. The TRRC is one of those transitional institutions aiming to facilitate protection and healing of victims. The Act establishes the following objectives for the Commission:

“The objectives of the Commission are to –
a) Create an impartial historical record of violations and abuses of human rights from July 1994 to January 2017, in order to
i) Promote healing and reconciliation
ii) Respond to the needs of the victims
iii) Address impunity, and
iv) Prevent a repeat of the violations and abuses suffered by making recommendations for the establishment of appropriate preventive mechanisms including institutional and legal reform
b) Establish and make known the fate or whereabouts of disappeared victims;
c) Provide victims an opportunity to relate their own accounts of the violations and abuses suffered; and
d) Grant reparations to victims in appropriate cases.”
It is abundantly clear that the Commission has the responsibility to be victim centred. It should respond to the needs of victims and facilitate healing and reconciliation. This has happened in Rwanda. Foroyaa will find out whether the victims have adequate counselling.

Parliamentary Health Committee Engages Stakeholders on Women Discriminatory Bill

By: Kebba AF Touray

The National Assembly Select Committee on Health has on January 22nd 2020 engaged stakeholders on the proposed Women’s’ (Amendment of Discriminatory Laws) Bill 2019 at the Legislative House in Banjul.

The multi-sectorial engagement is meant to obtain inputs of the sector and department on the Bill, so as to adopt a befitting Law to fight and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in the country.

Lamin Jawara, Permanent Secretary at the Personnel Management Office (PMO), said the Office is an equal opportunity employer that puts competence above other recruitment and selection criteria.

“As such there is no systematic gender-based discrimination in recruitment, promotion, training etc. The female composed 34 percent of the teaching cadre, 64 percent in the nursing cadre, 46 and 39 percent in the immigration and the accounting cadre,” Jawara said.

Lala Jaiteh, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Women’s Afaires, Children and Social Welfare, echoed that matters of marriage and divorce are usually decided in accordance with Sharia or Customary Law for the majority of the population to whom it applies. She recommends inter alia that the Ministry recommends that the application of customary and Sharia Laws in the Gambia, should be expressly subject to the principles of non-discrimination as enshrined in subsection (2) and (4) of Section 33 of the Constitution.
Isatou Dea Sawaneh, the Chairperson of the National Women’s Council (NWC), said NWC has cross-cutting issues and recommends teaching and nursing associated with women as challenging professions.

She recommended affirmative steps needs to be taken to widen the profession for women as opposed to the teaching and nursing professions only. This, she said, will encourage women to realize that they are only not subjected to their professions, but to larger opportunities of becoming doctors, technicians and Chief Executive Officers.

Nyallow Barrow, the Commissioner at the Labour Department said the Department is concerned with maternal leave and recommended that leave for pregnant women should be based on the recommendation by a qualified medical doctor.

Ousman Sillah, the Chairperson of the NA Health Committee said the consultative session on the proposed Government Bill seeks to amend the Women’s Act 2012, in accordance with Section 109 (1) and (2) of the Constitution as well as Clauses 65, 67, 68, 69 (1) (2) and (3) of the revised Standing Orders of 2019 of the Legislature for consideration.

SYNOPSIS ON THE WOMEN’S (AMENDMENT OF DISCRIMINATORY LAWS) BILL 2019:

The Bill is the first of its kind in Africa for being the trail blazer for the recognition, observance and the domestication of international obligations and commitments relating to Women’s Rights into domestic Law.

Since the enactment of the Women’s Act 2010, significant strides have been made to enforce the Law and protect women in line with the provisions of the Act, such as the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right on the Rights of Women in Africa.

5 Times African Champions Want Gambia’s Jallow

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By Sulayman Bah

Record African club champions Al Ahly of Egypt have lodged an audacious attempt to lure fast-rising Gambian sensation Lamin Jallow, Foroyaa Sport can report.

The 24-year-old is being monitored by clubs outside of Italy with Croatian Premier League outfit Hajduk Split his known admirers.

It followed recent backlash from the Scorpion’s own club fans leading to smattering of boos being directed at him.

Jallow, in a fit of anger, had launched an offensive gesture in the direction of a section of fans in the aftermath of a narrow win over Crotone – a match he scored –though he insists the hand gesture was aimed at a particular supporter whom he claimed had been hurling him with torrents of invectives at various grounds.

He has since offered his apologies, however, this seems not to sit well with a couple of fans.
A plethora of sides had hoped to capitalise on the instability to lure the former Bakau United ace away, going on to slap bids at Salenitana chairman’s table for transfer negotiations.

Out of the blue, Egyptian premier league and five times African Champions League holders Al Ahly have also submitted a proposal to sign Lamin but they would need to see off competitions from second division Pescara and Lazio in the Serie A.

The latter had mulled signing Jallow and allowing him play at his current second tier Italian outfit Salernitana on loan until end of the ongoing league term.

If fans hostility towards the winger continues beginning this Saturday when Salernitana slug it out with relegation-threatened Cosenza, the player’s agent hints, they would agitate or engineer a transfer for Jallow elsewhere with Al Ahly Egypt one of options on the table.
Lamin is the second Gambian Al Ahly have tried securing in a week after their hopes of snapping up Ali Sowe were dampened by Bulgaria Premier League’s CSKA Sofia.

Waived by Norwegian Club, Jibril Signs for Masr to Taste Egyptian Football

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By Sulayman Bah

Egypt will be the new home of Gambia international Jibril Bojang after he joined Al Masr.

The 25-year-old inked the dotted lines on a free transfer having run down his deal with Mjondalen who narrowly survived demotion from the Norwegian Premier League last season.

Bojang, sibling to Sulayman Bojang also a Gambia international, becomes the first Gambian to sign for an Egyptian top tier side after Alieu Darbo’s short stint at Ittihad Alexandra years ago.

Bojang is expected to bolster Al Masr’s attack who’re currently gripped by goal profligacy and teetering on the brink with their low standing in the Egyptian league log.

A Norwegian youth international prior to switching his allegiance to Gambia last year, Jibril was once followed by English Premier League side Southampton.

Saintfiet and Bajo Visit AS Roma’s Gambian Teenager

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Source GFF-At the start of the scouting trip to Gambian players based in Europe, Scorpions Coach Tom Saintfiet teamed up with GFF President Lamin Kaba Bajo on Wednesday morning arrived at AS Roma Football Club in Rome, Italy where Gambian mid fielder Ebrima Darboe plays his club football.

Darboe 19 is one of the few teenagers and only Gambian at the AS Roma Primavera Squad. Saintfiet and Mr Bajo visited the lad at his club in Rome on Tuesday 21st January 2020 and later watched him on training on Wednesday. Darboe’s Coach Alberto De Rossi has spoken very well of the young Gambian noting his dedication and passion for football. “He is a good player, and helps the club in the competition”. He praised Darboe for his commitment and said the youngster has a bright future.

Darboe was born in 2001 and plays for AS Roma Primavera Squad. He was once featured for his side’s A team against AC Milan.

Saintfiet and Bajo will visit Musa Barrow and Musa Juwara in Bologna on Wednesday. The Scorpions gaffer speaking to the GFF website www.gambiaff.org commented on the idea of scouting describing it as a sign to show respect to the players. “I want to have more idea of how they feel, where they stay and to also find new players for the National Team“. He said as part of the scouting trip, they would also explore the possibilities of requesting other players to be available for the National Team. ” We have to look for improvement because we have a lot of young players in the team. We are also trying to have alternatives for every position while we build up a team for the long term“.

Saintfiet and Bajo are expected to also meet and watch Gambian duo striker Assan Ceesay and defender Pa Modou Jagne at FC Zurich’s League game against Luzane on Friday 24th January 2020 in Zurich, Switzerland.

IIHT Graduate Students on Hardware Technology

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By Nelson Manneh, Makuto Manneh

The Indian Institute of Hardware Technology (IIHT) graduated fifty-three students trained in different hardware technology on Friday January 17th 2020.

The IIHT which has over twenty years of existences and present in more than 25 countries worldwide saw the first badge of students graduate from the Institute after establishing in the year 2019. The students took on different areas of hardware technology training for eight months.

Halifa Sallah, the National Assembly Member for Serrekunda who serve as guest speaker for the occasion spoke on the importance of Education and the opportunities it can provide for those who seek it.

“Section 20 of the Constitution emphasizes that every citizen has the right to educational opportunities and to ensure the realization of that right, basic education must be free and compulsory and must also be available. Secondary education including vocational and technical education must be accessible, available and gradually made to be free,” Sallah said.

Sallah disclosed that when the CEO of IIHT approached him with the interest of building the institution, his primary concern was whether it was purely going to be for profit making only.

“When you want to establish something private that is meant to make profit, you do not normally consider the rights of citizens. But this one is to bring technical education to the doorsteps of those who have the ability but lack the means to acquire such. We must ensure that the means will not prevent the person who is ready to learn. This is the value of citizenship that must be celebrated. Our citizens are coming up and are now ready to add value to our country,” he said.

To the graduates, Sallah said they have entered a field which is now the bases of the next revolution of the world; that partnership between the Gambia and India is a reflection of a partnership that led to the transformation of our continent dominated by colonialists.
“Deceleration of independence is not sufficient. Unless we can educate our citizens to be able to take charge of our destiny, our independence will continue to be meaningless. And this area of technology is an area which the graduates must begin to expand,” he said; that what the CEO of the institution has done is to bring to their doorstep full hardware technology systems for young people to specialize in just like any other profession. He told the stakeholders present institutions of this kind cannot continue to be housed in private premises; that it is the duty of the State to come forward and support the Institution by ensuring that they have land to build the necessary structures. Sallah continued that the state and the institution should develop partnerships in producing both national and international employees.

Ousman Bah, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute said the graduating students are prepared to compete both national and internationally.

“This institute now has the opportunity to be recognized all over the world,” he said. The CEO of IIHT said there is no bad School in the world; that one needs to work hard in order to achieve his or her goal.

“These outgoing students are fully prepared to pick up jobs in the employment market. They are assets for development and all sectors should give them the opportunity available,” he said. He told the students to take responsibility in their work.

Ran Mohan, Indian representative in the Gambia said technology is what took his country to where it is today. He urged the youth of the Gambia to seize the opportunity and take the country to where they want it to be; that technology is part of the architect of any country.

Pastor Francis Forbes for his part said life is a cycle; that as one can end a cycle, so can one start another.

“By its fruits, you shall know them. People will get to know this institution by your performance,” he said and urged the students to continue their desire to know more.