Thursday, July 19, 2007

Jammeh to cancel pending Taiwan visit for security reasons-Lamarana Jallow reveals-

By Lamarana Jallow, son of The Gambia

Dear Editors,

I have been busy coordinating the July 22ND anniversary rehearsals. Our men are being trained on foot drill, gun salute and VIP escort. I have few important security issues to share with Gambians today. President Jammeh is at this hour, contemplating visiting Taiwan. He is not convinced about his return. He is likely to cancel the said visit for security reasons, as he did to other invitations accorded to him. During a rare chat with him, Jammeh confided to me in private about the said visit. He wanted me to advise him on the said visit. I told him what I felt about the pending Taiwan visit. For security reasons, I do not want to go into details, because he might connect the dots as to who is Lamarana Jallow. I offered my humble advise to him on the subject matter. I understand the President’s concerns and I’m willing to accommodate his concerns. The failed coup attempt had rendered Oga mentally unstable. He suspects almost every men and women of the armed forces. Taiwan should not be disappointed if Oga did not show up as promised. He has many things going on right now. The security of the nation is paramount.

A delegation of Taiwanese were here recently. They invited oga to visit their country. As I write, there is no definitive move on the said proposed visit. The convoy to escort the President on July 22ND reports to me directly. The advance party, which is going to survey the celebration ground are supposed to spend the night watching the area. The President is going to use one of the Hummers if all plans went well. The mechanic working on the President’s cars told me the other day that the Hummers need maintenance.

Perhaps, Lang and Pa Jallow have not communicated the Mechanic’s recommendations to Oga. The wheels are likely to fall off if not taken care of. The President’s own personal car needs to be serviced. I personally inspected these Hummers. The Mechanic confessed to me that he lacked the necessary tools to repair these Hummers. He said he often resorts to “trouble shooting” to find solution for the problems. There are broken tire belts- to borrow the expression he used when he talked to me. The Mechanic is a good worker. He serviced the state house cars. The President’s life is entrusted to him. He fixed the Hummers wheels, engine and other bodywork. Oga should not underestimate the Mechanic. His recommendations for maintenance should be taken seriously.

Oga should not make the mistake to arrest his mechanic. Lang and Pa Jallow should be in the position to advise you on this. If these wheels fall off they should take the blame. Dakar has the necessary tools to repair the Hummers. The Hummers need to be inspected for road safety.

As a member of the VIP protection and a senior staffer here at the State House, I deem it necessary to declassify this file that comes to my attention. The Freedom Newspaper is the only medium we can use to get our messages across. The Observer would not publish my views on national security. The President is busy trying to trace me, but he should calm down. I brief him every morning on security related issues. My identity is not relevant. What matters is the substance of my postings. I participate into our morning security meetings geared towards interpreting the positing of Lamarana Jallow. I know how the authorities react to the pieces I filed to the Freedom Newspaper. This is just the beginning. There are more files coming online. I will be back soon… Abaraka Bandirabeh. Hackudemalla Heckawellaye…

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Breaking News:75 percent of poll voters say "Yahya Jammeh is a curse for The Gambia."

75 percent of poll voters say "Yahya Jammeh is a curse for The Gambia."

....25 percent disagree!!

Jammeh ask to resign in the interest of peace and good governance!!!

As plans are in high gears for the celebrations of the failed so called military revolution, which toppled the 30 year PPP rule, the Freedom Newspaper today releases preliminary poll results on the theme “Is Yahya Jammeh is a “curse for the Gambia.” Interestingly, 75 percent of the voters who took part on the polls, coordinated by our sister blog www. said Yahya Jammeh is indeed a curse for the tiny impoverished nation of the Gambia, whilst 25 percent of the voters maintained that Jammeh was not a curse for the country. The idea for the said polls was to measure the dictator’s tenure of office, which is marred by unfinished arrest, torture, extra judicial killings of perceived opponents, rampant corruption and gross rights abuses. Most of these voters who branded Yahya Jammeh as a curse for the Gambia, comes from different shade of society. The voting was a secret ballot voting, where each computer owner was allowed to cast one vote. Going by the said opinion poll, Yahya Jammeh is nothing but a “curse for the Gambia and her people.” There are 12 more days left for the closing of the polls.

The polling results suggest that Jammeh have not done much in the areas of human rights, respect for the rule of law, meeting the United Nations Millennium goals, weeding out official graft, accountability and probity. These voters are the least impressed by the current Gambian leader, who is being seen as a stumbling block for “democracy” and development in the West African country.

His self appointed Public Relation Firms are free to counter our polls, but these results are authentic and undisputable. These damning statistics would end Jammeh’s “propaganda” that Gambians are behind him. All meaningful Gambians and non Gambians are displeased with the current state of affairs our country had found itself.

While Jammeh is bragging about initiating “white elephant projects” in a span of 13 years, the average Gambian today cannot afford one decent meal. Poverty stricken Gambians live below the poverty line, while inflation continues to threaten the lives of ordinary Citizens.

The said poll results, don’t speak well for a leader, who is internationally isolated. Mr.Jammeh must work harder in order to win the confidence of Gambians, if he wants to be taken seriously. Bringing so called development projects to the door steps of Gambians without “giving them freedom” and the right to decide the destiny of their country tantamount to undermining the very constitution Jammeh had sworn to defend. This administration also needs to work hard on alleviating poverty in The Gambia, as the current ailing economic indications suggest that the economy is not moving at all.

Rice, which is the country’s main stable food is out of reach. A bag of rice which used to cost D150 dalasis during the early days of July 22ND 1994 coup is now costing D800 Dalasis. Remember that salaries for Civil Servants are still stagnant. Most of the Civil Servants earned less than D2000 Dalasis. Beside rice, prices for other basic commodities are also skyrocketing on a daily basis. If the current price hike continues, the government should consider declaring a “major food crisis” to solicit for food aid. We cannot afford to see more Gambians dying because of hunger related illnesses.

Even though, we are opposed to the celebration of a toppling of a constitution, we urge Jammeh to reflect on his shortcomings as a leader. There is nothing wrong for one to own up to his own mistakes and move on. Jammeh would have done a great service to his country, family, loved ones and supporters if he considered handing over the coutry to any of his trusted party officials and allow democracy to be restored in the country.

The Gambia without Yahya Jammeh would be a great nation to live. A nation to be loved and cherished by freedom loving nations. Such a move, would help to restore confidence into the country’s battered image. Jammeh should bear in mind that he cannot develop the Gambia without donors. Donors played a crucial role in uplifting the lives of citizens of underdeveloped nations like the Gambia.

This administration is cash trap at this hour. No serious investor is targeting the Gambia. Jammeh created the current state of affairs. The Gambia is being considered as an unstable country, where people’s rights and liberties are being infringed with impunity. No serious investor would risk his or her business under such hostile business and political climate.

There was no justification for July 22ND coup. We have witnessed more corruption, gross right abuses, nepotism and lawlessness in the Gambia. Jammeh and his cohorts have undermined all the developmental structures put in place by the Jawara government. Today, the country has been ranked as a “failed state” by the international development index. The country has not only failed politically, but economically as well. There is no serious development project initiated by the current leadership. Most of its projects have abandoned due to lack of funds.

Major parastatals had been privatized by the leadership. NAWEC which is the country’s major electricity and water company is currently in the hands of foreign agents hired by the President to further reap-off the state. The transportation sector is another failed industry. Faced by bad roads, the country also had lost its stable bus system initiated by the PPP administration. Almost, all the Man buses had been grounded. The Jammeh government inherited a stable and reliable bus system from the PPP government, but today the GPTC has been reduced as a “ghost” institution where no serious business activity is taking place. Poor students struggled for lift to school, while low staff moral is the order of the day at the GPTC. The current administration lacks the necessary funds to order new buses. It also lacks funds to increase the salaries of GPTC workers.

The poll results is the true representative of the realities on the ground in today’s Gambia. The PPP was far better than the APRC. The liberties and freedoms of Gambians were respected under Jawara’s era, despite some shortcomings here and there. Under Jammeh’s rule is the reverse. People are oppressed on a daily basis. No freedom of speech, no jobs, no sound economy, no quality education, no accountability, no ethics in the Civil Service, no salary increment, the list goes on and on….

The Freedom Newspaper Editorial Board want to commend the voters for speaking their mind on the devil we have at the State House. It’s up to Jammeh and his supporters to accept the results in good faith, but the truth be told the average Gambia is displeased with Jammeh’s appalling governance records. Our people want to see the end of the dictator’s rule. The fall of Jammeh would be celebrated countrywide. He is an obstacle to progress, freedom, rule of law and basic liberties.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Breaking News:Coup in Sudan- 17 alleged plotters arrested!!

Following the news that Sudan have arrested prominent politicians and military chiefs who allegedly involved in a coup which many human right activists denounced as another phony coup ‘stage-managed’ by an African dictator, many are now asking when will such coups and counter coups end in the continent.
The Freedom Newspaper can confirm that the Sudanese authorities few hours ago arrested 17 people, including the opposition leader Mubarak al-Fadil and retired military officers, accusing them of trying to overthrow the government.
Prominent politicians, Fadil and Abdel Jalil al Basha, both of the Umma breakaway party has also been arrested early on Saturday. The defendants including Fadil’s party denied the accusations describing them as ‘bogus and unfounded’.
However Muhammed Abdallah Atta deputy head of the Sudanese State Security, told journalist that the intention of the accused ‘‘was to overthrow the government, but such plan was very weak’’. He further accused Fadil of ‘‘coordinating and masterminding’’ the alleged plot. The prominent opponent of President Bashir is now in the notorious Kobar prison while many others were still being questioned by state security officers.
Meanwhile another poignant story from Africa as the current government in Ethiopia has been strongly criticised by human right groups at the life sentences given to 30 opposition leaders.
Human rights activists said that the sentences of the opposition elements are ‘‘wrong and inhumane". They have urged European Member States to press for their immediate release.
The EU Election Observer said she is appalled at the life sentence describing it as ''farcical and inhumane''.
Eight others in the alleged coup were given shorter jail terms, at the same time five were tried in absentia for their alleged participation in demonstrations against alleged poll-rigging and corruption.
Adil Ahmed, the High Court judge who presided over the case also disqualified the 30 Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) leaders from voting or standing for election in the country thereby causing more anger in the opposition circles. The prosecution had demanded the death penalty for all of them but the judge refused.
One of those sentences in his absence now living in England said that the Ethiopian government is not only ''undemocratic but brutal''and should release the victims as soon as possible. He maintained that it was clear that the sentences were ''political motivated''.
Martin Hill of Amnesty International in the UK also explained that the jailed politicians are victims for merely defending their right to ''free opinion and association'' and should be set free. He said that the whole issue about the demonstrations that cost the lives of 200 most of them killed by security forces was not been properly investigated.
In 2005 the EU issued a statement indicating that the election was shortfall of international standard. Meanwhile Britain had earlier suspended millions of pounds of aid money to Ethiopia.

Surprise Smiles on the Face of Illegal Immigrants in the UK

Surprise Smiles on the Face of Illegal Immigrants in the UK

As Amnesty gains ground in a New Twist

By Editor Alhagie Mbye, London Bureau Chief

Frustrated and worried illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom including thousands of Africans who have been anticipating and hoping for the government to regularize their status could be in high spirits. Earlier, they had received news of uncertainty regarding the issue but are now smiling in a surprise new twist over their situation as such amnesty gains ground.
An extraordinary campaign for an amnesty for 500,000 illegal immigrants to be allowed to work in Britain has ‘won support’ from an influential think-tank with close ties to the UK government.
The Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), which is influential with new Labour has reportedly urged the Home Secretary to make some radical steps and allow illegal immigrants to have their status regularize. However it requires only those already working illegally over the years to pay taxes that would eventually bring in up to £1bn in extra tax revenue. Respectable broadsheets such as the Independent Newspaper based in London are running the amnesty story.
The campaign that has been going on for so long had won support in the Labour deputy leadership campaign such as Harriet Harman, now also leader of the Commons and Chairman of the Labour Party.
A recent TUC report entitled The Economics of Migration says without workers from abroad many sectors in the economy would find it hard to operate or may even collapse. However observers who disagree with the Union insisted that people should respect the immigration law or else there is no other option but to leave the country.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said 'Migrants workers are making a substantial contribution to Britain's economy, and some sectors would collapse if they were removed overnight. They have not caused mass unemployment or held wages down as some would have us believe'.
Since then, anti-immigration groups and other commentators have rubbish such claims and contested that people living in the country must do so legally or be shown the exit door. Such critics maintained that people must live in the country legally or simply leave.
Some influential people had also supported the petition for amnesty such as John Crudass, MP. He said that case work show that those 'without legal status in the UK are most exploited and often the most abused by employers, landlords and criminal gangs, yet they contribute to the economy's income through their taxes' and therefore need help.
According to the Home Office, asylum applications have continued to fall dramatically. Figures show that 5,680 asylum applications were lodged in the first quarter of 2007, representing a ten per cent fall in applications compared to financial year 2006/7 and the previous financial year, giving the lowest yearly intake since 1993. Thanks to the immigration regulations.
The top applicants were Afghan (755), Iranian (600) and Chinese (480) nationals. Including dependants, 3,370 failed asylum seekers were removed between January and March 2007 because most of them exhausted their appeals. Due to EU law, such removal also show a fall of six per cent because following the expansion of the EU, nationals of a number of countries can now live and work in the UK. However, the average monthly rate of asylum removals, 1,045 in Quarter 2 2004, remains 63 per cent higher than Quarter 2 in 1997 (640). It has been reported that marriages in the UK have also declined drastically.
The Home Office have always stressed that the government is very committed to providing a safe haven to those fleeing persecution and helping refugees to integrate fully and contribute to the society. So far there is evidence that such assistance is taking place as thousands of refugees are benefiting from such important government schemes across the country. Refugees and other groups have praise the government for such assistant.
Meanwhile, lone parents are to be targeted as part of a radical overhaul of the welfare system aimed at getting 2.3 million people to take jobs and move off benefits.
Already a Green Paper delivered to the Cabinet last week by Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Work and Pension, will lay the groundwork and foundation for the execution of David Freud’s report. It recommended that lone parents should be required to seek work if their youngest child is 12years or over. This will help many of them to get back to work.

Breaking News:PRO Brikama Area Council accuse of ‘Misinformation’

PRO Brikama Area Council accuse of ‘Misinformation’
Angry residents urge him to withdraw statement

By Wiseman in Banjul
Paid for and Commissioned
by the Freedom Newspaper
The Public Relations Officer of the Brikama Area Council (BAC) Serign Modou Joof has been accused of ‘misinformation’ resulting certain residents in Western Division urging him to withdraw his statement or risk humiliation. PRO Joof recently claimed that the BAC has invested over D200, 000 in the re-construction of some of the Secondary roads within the Kombos. Angry residents claimed that such statement was not only ‘misleading but deceiving and not in touch with reality on the ground’.
Following Mr. Joof’s recent interview with the pro-government Daily Observer regarding ‘development’ in the area including the spending of D200, 000 on road construction angered many who claimed that the statement is not even near to the truth. Such ‘development propaganda’ has been strongly disputed by residents of the municipality who are urging him to withdraw the report without further delay.
For example roads construction that started years ago is still unfinished and tax payers are very angry with the ‘slow pace’ of progress and demanded an explanation from the Gambia Government.
M. Cham a resident of Lamin Village said he is upset with the ‘misinformation’ because according to him ‘Brikama Area Council thinks that Western Division residents are fools and uneducated people to be fed with misleading statement through using government propaganda machine’. He called on President Jammeh to investigate such misleading information if he is still ‘interested in transparency and accountability’.

Visit to the Gambia-Jammeh's development projects defended- Opinion

Visit to the Gambia-Jammeh's development projects defended- Opinion
By Sedia Trera West Palm Beach, FL USA
My recent visit to The Gambia has compelled me to write this letter to the attention of all Gambians, particularly those living abroad. Like many Gambians in the US, I have been away from The Gambia for awhile and not privy to the developments in the country. Until my recent visit my main source of information was from the Gambian websites mainly run outside the country. I’m sure most of you can understand how negative and backward my expectations were of what I would find in the Gambia. Suffice it to say that I was hesitant to go back home.
I’m not a politician and nor do I aspire to be one and writing a newspaper article even mentioning any government is something I never thought I would ever do. However, I feel I’m obliged to write this contribution to express how impressed I was by what I saw regarding the recent developments in the Gambia. I am writing for the benefit of all those like myself before this, only had our online news websites as a source of information.
The government of the Gambia, under the leadership of the President Jammeh, has transformed the Gambia immensely such that every Gambian can be proud of our dear country. I have traveled a lot within the US and Europe and I have seen many places. I am finally proud to say that we now have quality roads and so much more infrastructural development than when I left the Gambia about 6 years ago. My friends who spoke to me 2 months ago (before my visit to Gambia) will be shocked to hear this coming from me but I’m very proud of the work that Yahya’s government has done in the country. You can appreciate more the work the President of the Gambia has done in these few years when you visit other African countries. The question I kept asking myself is how come these developments are never or rarely mentioned in our online columns & news websites?
After visiting the Gambia and other neighboring countries last month and comparing it to what I left back there about 6 years ago, I have come to the conclusion that despite his many shortcomings, the president is a hard worker and loves the Gambia. I think Gambians especially pseudo-journalists should refrain from personal attacks on the president & ministers, while hiding behind their online gossip columns. We just can’t sit here and criticize the president and who he hires. Some of us don’t want to stay in the Gambia and yet we’re eager to criticize every presidential appointment. It is absurd to see some Gambian online newspapers totally blind to the numerous developments in the country and yet dwell so much on personal attacks and gossip. Ultimately, the personal attacks and fabricated stories between Gambia and its neighboring countries don’t hurt anyone but The Gambia. Why do we tarnish the name of our country to settle personal scores with the president? Journalists and online newspapers’ dual capacity is to represent reality and satisfy the readers’ daily informational needs. Instead, most of our Gambian online newspapers use this power to construct an illusion of reality just because they hold a grudge. This attitude is an obstacle to the growth success of our beloved country and it is also cheating your readership of their right to the truth and thus betraying the trust they have in you.
In spite of our inherent economic sub-optimality, the Gambia has taken great strides towards infrastructural development. While this may not be the only yardstick to measure development, it is a prerequisite to any other development for this and future generations and governments. Therefore, the government deserves to be commended or at least acknowledged for laying the foundation stones despite the seemingly insurmountable constraints on the growth of the country.
My advice to news media, particularly online papers is to be professional, be objective and be honest to yourself and to your readers. Journalists should be responsible and should not be economical with the truth even if it means giving credit to someone you hate.
I would like to personally commend the Gambian government for its hard work. Keep up the good work and improve on your areas of weakness including human rights and justice without jeopardizing the security of our beloved country.
Sedia Trera
West Palm Beach, FL USA

Editors note:The views of the author does not represents the position of the Freedom Newspaper. This paper cannot be held liable for the author's content. His views are his views. Period. Thanks for your attention.


By:Jadama Sadibu (Journalist) Stockholm Sweden

As most of you are aware by now, I am quite a novice when it comes to the cyber-universe of the Gambian web community. Indeed, since their inception, it was not until now that I start writing feature articles for publishing on the aforementioned websites. Nevertheless, prior to that, I had found the sites quite fascinating for ample reasons the notable of which, being the opportunity to read local news and of course, taking advantage of reading the brilliant and more informative feature articles written by some of the best brains from the country, not to mention the associate editors, critiques marred, with some of the most explosive remarks against writers of the said articles, which is the subject matter of this article.

My observation is that the Gambian websites has been turned into a platform for war drums where, various tribes and contributors vehemently attack each other, the most potent of which, being the responsibility of the Site editors. There is not a single article on the Gambian website each day, that did not turn confrontational between the Gambian tribes, contributors and the editors and I think it is time we discontinue this practice before it metastasizes into something more sinister than the war of words. The hostility between these tribes and editors and its inevitable dreadful derivative on the citizens in the Gambia is lamentable and, it makes one to watch with growing trepidation. Indeed, given the ominous outcome of such hostilities to which we all bare witness to its mayhem on the African continent, one would have thought that this will not be something to entertain. Yet, we have managed to block from our physiques, the inevitable consequences of such hostilities which have oftentimes emerged to destroy many a country. If history is any guide, we are without a doubt heading towards???. Remember Liberia, The Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Somalia, and Sudan among others? The parallels with what is being exhibited between the two tribes and others on the Gambian websites are almost the same.

In the case of Rwanda for example, conventional wisdom holds that the conflict was a civil war between the minority Tutsis and the majority Hutus. But historical records point out that it was a long-term hostility between the two tribes that ignited the war in which over one million people got slaughtered into oblivion. Liberia is no exception, it was tribal differences that triggered that war and, again, over 250,000 perished and 1.4 million became refugees. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Somalia and many more have fallen prey to this horrible demise all, because of years of undercurrent tribal differences.

The war in western Sudan's Darfur province has been labeled as a clash between Arab herders and African farmers. However, a careful review of the conflict indicates that the combatants on both sides are largely black Africans, and the hostility between them is more of a culture, than skin tone. It is traditional tension between the two groups that, has boiled beneath the surface for several years before escalating to a level of bloodletting in which, an estimated 500,000+ people have died so far.

But in the Gambia we are blessed that the founders of our nation had the foresight to see it fit, to establish an inter-marriage system that will unite us, with the objective to avert any such future conflicts. And, without any denial, the said arrangement has given us solace and escape from the ethnic tensions that have caused many African countries to the havoc of bloody ruins. The more than 12 plus ethnic groups in Gambia have managed to study together since independence, like brothers and sisters without any trouble. And, as expected has helped us grow up, seeing ourselves first and foremost as Gambians, more so than our ethnicity – Mandingo, Fula, Jolla, Sarahule, wolf or Manjago to name but a few. Why then are we trying to destroy the most important ingredient that has kept us united heretofore? By all means it is okay to attack people on individual basis if we feel he/she might have written something to our dislike ness. But for peace sake, do not attack an entire tribe and their leaders for an individual’s political incorrectness. Such a practice is not democratic but an invitation to a silly war of words.

Better yet, we can direct this energy to positive use by establishing press Unions institution, like the Gambia Press Union to monitor governments spending activities and the alleged corruptions, which have been the culprit to most of these hostilities, instead of continuously criticizing government without providing any direction to clampdown on such practices. Mirrored in the framework of the Press Unions ours can equally bring our politicians to book, if there is any miss-appropriation of funds and/or incompetence in the execution of the duties that the people have mandated government to do. Indeed, my next article will be dedicated to this proposal to solicit more ideas from the community as to how the institution can be formed and managed. For, I am persuaded that one doesn’t have to be a president of the Gambia or a National Assembly member to help in the development of our country. There is too much talk but no action. Let us put our energy to positive use and veer away from the dangerous path we are heading.

To those of you who may not be cognizant with the activities of the Gambia Press Union, it is a legal watchdog institution in the Gambia with non-governmental status devoted to defending civil rights and civil liberties in the Gambia. The Gambia Press Union brings lawsuits against the Gambia government if they detect any injustice or any act of infringements that may encroach upon civil liberties of Journalist in the country. Most of the lawsuits brought by the Press Union have been central to several important constitutional law cases; and it has played key roles in the dispensation of good governance and style of policy changes against the young Journalists in the country.

Finally, ever noticed that the ages of the majority of the 2006 presidential hopefuls are under 65? This is an indication that the torch is being passed to us; a new generation who are trained together in unison, tempered by political violence, disciplined by acceptance and tolerance, and proud of an ancient heritage to which, we are now being entrusted to protect. In the course of the struggle of our forefathers to achieve nationhood for us, they gave testimony to their national loyalty by sacrificing their lives for us. Their graves across the country bare witness to their commitment to the peace to which we now enjoy.

Let us therefore, not disappoint them but make it our moral and patriotic duty to guard against anything that will compromise that peace and rise to the occasion to protect it for our children and their children, by making sure that their Gambia is a beautiful, peaceful and, a more united Gambia, for the sake of all our past and present leaders including Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara, Sir Farmang Singhateh, Pierre S Njie of Banjul Fa Touray Sanyang of Kombo Faraba, Late Sanjally Bojang of Kembuje, the late Sheikh Ousman Jadama of Kiang Dumbutu and many more and President Yaya A.J.J Jammeh, among others. Long live Gambia and God Bless us all. Thank you.

Editors note:The views of the author does not represents the position of the Freedom Newspaper in anyway. This paper cannot be held liable for the author's content. His views are his views. Period. Thanks for your attention.