An open letter to the minister of tourism and culture Hamat Bah

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MINISTER OF TOURISM & CULTURE ON DISCRIMINATION IN THE GAMBIA DURING THE TOURIST SEASON
Gambians can be peaceful, patient and law abiding but “lu opah turu”. You have been making statements that are not appreciated by the youth of this country. Yet your ministry is coming with degrading measures during the 2017/2018 tourist season.
As you may be aware, your Ministry has put in place measures which are unpleasant and degrading to the local people.
People particularly blacks have been restricted from going to certain places such as the beach and Senegambia because of tourists.
It has been noted that many Gambians have been restricted from entering Senegambia from 5:00 PM to midnight. Victims have been sharing their ordeals on social media and we believe that your Ministry needs to pay attention to the outcry of those people.
How can your Ministry request for the restriction of the movement of the people because of tourists?
How can your ministry with its disappointing measures stop a local from having a meeting or dinner in Senegambia or anywhere around the country? If these measures have been copied from another country, well we should know that our beloved country is different and we should adapt anything copied somewhere else to our realities.
Why are locals required to identify themselves while white foreign nationals who may be the real danger to our society are not bothered?
How can men in uniform be given directives/orders to harass and ridicule local people particularly our brothers and sisters labeled as “Bumsters”? It is deplorable to have a Minister use such a contemptuous term. Instead “bumsterism” is at your Ministry.
How do you expect to stop illegal migration with such harsh measures?
As nationals, are we not entitled to enjoy the goods of our own country? Your Ministry needs to envision better and more vibrant tourism policies that will include the locals.
Everybody should be able to enjoy their holidays in this beautiful country without discrimination.
The tourist season will end, the tourist will leave the country but the locals will remain and will patronize the places that  are currently restricted to them .
We perfectly understand that the tourist sector is a generator of income for our economy but are we supposed to prostitute ourselves, institutions and country?
As Gambian (either in uniform or civilian), we need to bear in mind that the sequels of 22 years of tyranny and last year’s tragedy have not even begun to heal yet. The trauma is still there.
As servants of the people, your Ministry needs to always remember that without the assistance of the people, your policies may awfully fail.
Therefore, you should consider amicably cooperating with the people instead of abusing the use  of directives/orders that our brothers and sisters in uniform blindly follow because of fair to be sanctioned.
We need to be very careful with our actions as the Gambian people won’t tolerate abuses anymore.
We expect your Ministry to make The Gambia a better place for the Gambians, tourists and everybody at large. We have no other p lace but our dear country and we will do our utmost best to protect it as we previously did.
This unacceptable and unbearable approach need to immediately stop. We don’t want anybody to be discriminated in this great nation. We all want what is best for this great country of ours,The Gambia.

Together we should work in safeguarding our dignity and keeping the coast smiling.

Please accept, Hon. Minister, the assurances of our patriotic consideration.

Click here to download Open letter to Hamat Bah

Bring back our Water and Electricity

Out of 24hours electricity is available just 4-5 hours a day sometimes less, water comes only 2 to 3 hours in the evening in most parts of the Greater Banjul Area, this has been going on for the past 2 weeks and we Gambian citizens are fed up and sick to our stomachs of hearing excuses and made up promises about our water and electricity situation.
Patience is virtue and the minute one looses it, hell will break loose.
Our government’s been busy spending unnecessary amount of money on travels, cars and per diems whiles the average Gambian is suffering everyday whether at home or in their businesses due to lack of electricity.
Children are crying all night, pregnant mothers the same because of the unbearable heat that succumb them yet we’re not concerned by all this as a people but to have an Ashobi for our servant, a reflection of the past regime and its partyholic behaviors.

We call on Nawec and the government of The Gambia for the second time in 2 months to immediately look into the Nawec situation and stop the blame game despite being granted a huge amount of money and signing a cooperation with Senegalese counterpart.
We are citizens of this country and deserve our basic rights.

#BringBackOurWaterAndElectricity
#PowerOfFreedom

Gambie: la société civile demande à la Cédéao de faire pression sur Yahya Jammeh

A sept mois de l’élection présidentielle en Gambie, et à 48 heures du sommet de la Cédéao, la société civile gambienne est réunie en ce moment et pour deux jours à Dakar. L’objectif : tenter de convaincre les pays membres de l’institution ouest-africaine de faire pression sur Yahya Jammeh pour que la répression des opposants s’arrête, pour que l’élection à venir soit démocratique.

« On vit une vie d’esclavage. » Fatoumata Tambajang n’a peur de rien. Après 20 ans aux Nations unies, un temps ministre de la Santé, cette femme engagée vit en Gambie. « Un président qui parle comme ça, tous les gens qui sont contre lui, il va les enterrer. Tout ça, ce sont des éléments de dictature. Mais maintenant on en a marre. La population s’éveille. »

Amnesty international vient de publier son dernier rapport sur la situation en Gambie.
Pour Stephen Cockburn, directeur régional adjoint pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest, la pression internationale doit être plus forte sur Yahya Jammeh en vue de l’élection présidentielle.

« Evidemment on veut que les autorités gambiennes prennent des mesures pour changer les lois répressives, commente Stephen Cockburn. Mais s’ils ne le font pas, nous voulons demander que les partenaires internationaux mais aussi les partenaires dans la sous-région prennent des mesures, qui peuvent inclure la suspension de la Gambie de la Cédéao. »

Si certains appellent à une élection transparente, à une confrontation politique libre entre le pouvoir et l’opposition, d’autres comme le rappeur militant Retsam, estime que Yahya Jammeh doit quitter le pouvoir. « 21 ans d’oppression, et il n’y a pas à manger pour les jeunes qui ont du talent et de la créativité. Il doit partir. »

Pour faire entendre leurs revendications, les militants de la société civile gambienne veulent organiser une manifestation ce samedi 4 mai dans la capitale sénégalaise à l’occasion du sommet de la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest.

Source: http://www.rfi.fr/afrique/20160601-gambie-societe-civile-appel-pression-cedeao

NAWEC urged to regularise electricity, water supply

The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has been told to buckle up to regularise the supply of water and electricity because the people have suffered enough now.

Speaking at a press conference organised by Power of Freedom held at Alliance Franco Gambia on Friday, Maimuna Manneh of Power of Freedom said people are sick and tired of the various excuses that NAWEC continues to give for its poor performance.

She said the company keeps promising of better days ahead but the situation keeps worsening every now and then.

“We are aware that the new government inherited the country in a drastic economic state, but we wonder if that is being used as an excuse for this poor performance,” Ms Manneh said, while asking rhetorically: But why should change of government affect NAWEC to this extent?

She said when people went to the polls in December 2016 and voted for the coalition, “they did not vote for a continuation of the former regime but instead they voted for better days”.

She argued that the electricity and water situation was even better in the former regime than now and the promised better days that people voted for never come up to now.

“A lot of excuses have been given by NAWEC but people are not in excuse mode,” she affirmed, adding that the new government should know that people do not want to get deeper in the abyss.

“This is the time to put our selfishness aside and work for the greater good of the people,” she said, accusing NAWEC of serving the top-notch government officials with constant power and water while neglecting the masses.

“Government should exist for the people; the people are not supposed to exist for those who govern to live in comfort lives, while us who elected them live in poverty. The duty of every government is to listen to the complaints of the people and address them.”

She pointed out that any government that is not concerned with the suffering of the people; any government that does not listen to complaints of hardship of their people should vacate political office.

Ms Manneh said with the poor power and water supply in The Gambia, it is difficult to understand why Gambians pay one of the most expensive electricity tariffs in the world.

Jerreh Badjie, founder Power of Freedom, said electricity is an indispensable tool for any meaningful development in any country.

He said the new government should reform the whole management of NAWEC and bring in Gambian engineers and electrical experts, including those from the Diaspora.

Also, Badjie said, the tax on the importation of solar panels should be reduced because as the situation is, Gambians cannot depend on NAWEC for constant electricity and water supply.

Source: http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/nawec-urged-to-regularise-electricity-water-supply

Solo Sandeng Inspired Movement Launched

A Solo Sandeng inspired movement recently held its official launch ceremony on Sunday 16 April 2017 at the ActionAid building on the MDI road.

The movement dubbed ‘POWER OF FREEDOM’’ is an Open and peaceful Citizen Movement that has no affiliation with any particular ideology, religious group, tribe, political party or governmental organization.

The civic movement is mainly comprised of young Gambians, from all walks of life who stand for peace, positive change in the country and its people and social justice, without regard to gender, tribe, religion or political affiliation. They are determined to contribute their quota to nation building by helping Gambians understand and stand for their constitutional and Human Rights at a time when the future of The Gambia is at stake under the Leadership of the Second Republic.

The movement was formed following the April 14, 2016 peaceful protest organised by the United Democratic Party (UDP) in Banjul in which the founder of the movement and his comrades took part to request the release of Solo Sandeng, dead or alive. He was arrested at a previous peaceful protest seeking electoral reform and subsequently died in custody.

The incident awakened the movement to consider it a national duty to participate actively in the fight for the change to the dictatorial regime that had asphyxiated The Gambia for more than two decades.

The movement is composed of a general assembly and an executive committee with Mr Ebrima Njie as coordinator, Ms Maimuna Manneh as secretary and Fanding Njie as the treasurer.

The movement was founded by Jerreh O. Badjie and is headquartered in Kanifing South.

So far, the movement has been mounting its campaign through social media, press conferences, fence writing, coordinating peaceful protests in Dakar and the release of songs and music video(s).

The association intends to organize nationwide tours, seminars, open mic shows to discuss domestic issues and also have civic education forums to enlighten the public about their initiatives and projects which include: Youth Power Project, Educate the Masses Project,Noyy Borom Project (NBP) and Protect the Women.

The movement aims to raise intellectual and public awareness; discipline and develop positive attitudes to make Gambians responsive to national interest and achieve greater political and social power for the people.

Membership to the movement is open to the general public.

They can be reached at: Kanifing South, the Gambia

Tel: (+221) 771364135 – Senegal

(+220) 3777080 – The Gambia

Email: poweroffreedom220@gmail.com

Source: http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/solo-sandeng-inspired-movement-launched

Movement on ‘social justice, peace’ launched

A youth-led civic movement on peace and social justice dubbed Power of Freedom Movement was Sunday officially launched at the ActionAid Conference Hall in Kanifing.
Organisers said it is designed towards the promotion and sustenance of peace, positive change and the fight for social justice in the country.

Speaking at the official launching ceremony, secretary general, Maimuna Manneh said: “Power of Freedom is a civic movement mainly comprised of young Gambians from all walks of life who stand for peace, positive change of their country and its people and for social justice.”

According to the secretary general, so far, the new movement has been busy holding campaigns through social media, press conferences, graffiti, coordinating peaceful protests in Dakar, release of songs and music videos.

Orgnisers said the non-violent movement, which drew inspiration from greats such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bob Marley, is here to also reset youth mind-set and provide the platform for them to serve as role models.

“We intend to organise ourselves in groups that will have nationwide tours, hold seminars, open mic shows to discuss domestic issues and also have civic education forums and classes as we now consider these our civic duty”.

Alieu Bah aka Immortal X, a prominent youth advocate gave a speech on capitalism. He criticised its philosophy, saying it is run by corporations that do not care about human life.
“Slavery gave birth to capitalism,” Alieu said in his brief remark.

The founder of the movement, Ousman Badjie aka Retsam, said the movement is born to stand for social justice for the young people and the community.
He said the movement is inspired by the heroism of late politician Solo Sandeng.

Source: http://standard.gm/site/2017/04/19/movement-social-justice-peace-launched/

#gambiadecides2016 #retsam #chambaii #activism #hiphop #hope #change #gomsaboppa #elections #westafrica #livinginexile #dakar #senegal #onassignment

Gambian rapper Retsam, who is living in exile in Dakar: ‘ I am waiting for the sun to come up again in my country so all Gambians in exile can go back to help build up the country.’ Retsam is confident that pres. Jammeh will finally have to accept the election results and leave power and that pres.- elect Adama Barrow will be sworn in on Jan 19, ‘because Jammeh gets more and more isolated’

http://www.thepicta.com/media/1407370491286600165_1817097479

Power of Freedom- Request for Support

Power of Freedom is a civic movement mainly comprised of young Gambians from different walks of life who stand for peace and positive change in the country and it’s people. Social justice without regard to gender, tribe, religion or political affiliation.

We are planning on launching this dynamic movement in The Gambia together with a press conference holding the theme/topic ” Cost of living and it’s effect on the population” on April 16 2017. April 16 marks the one year anniversary of the protest that led to the arrest of our political figures for demanding the body of late Solo Sandeng (RIP), who inspired us to start this movement. All media houses and personnel will be invited to attend the event and we hope it becomes a success.

Our actions will be non-violent because we chose great examples as role models such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King etc. Demonstrations, sit-ins, open letters, direct denunciations and boycotts will be our approaches. Although they can attract police and judicial repression- we believe we have to stand for what is right in order to see a prosperous Gambia. Our determination is unwavering and we are ready to face anything for The Gambia and for the ideal we believe in.

For a start we’re willing to fund all our actions ourselves, through small voluntary contributions. We can accept support, provided it is not too large in relation to our actual needs, is not conditioned, is not a product of corruption or crime, nor is it likely to undermine the principles of our struggle/ independence/ freedom of thought and action. We will be organized in groups of people on a nationwide tour, organizing seminars, open mic shows and also civic education forums and classes.

We also have 5 projects in our agenda (1. Youth Power Project, 2. Educate The Masses Project, 3. Noyy Borom Project, 4. Artivism Project, 5. Protect The Women Project)  which will focus on youths, women and children, ranging from employment, sponsorship, lectures, sensitization and health. These projects are yet to be financed or sponsored by any individual or organisation and we’re hopeful that they can make an impact for the betterment of our communities and New Gambia in general.

Most of our members are between the ages of 19 to 37, we also have a board of executives with posts such as Coordinator, Secretary, Accountant, Treasurer and P.R.O. These posts are shared between both members on the ground and in the Diaspora who play an important role in lobbying for more members to join us, fund raise and also enlighten the masses on law related and finance matters. The movement consist of rappers, other activists, law students at the University of the Gambia, bankers, architects, young entrepreneurs, scientists and lawyers just to name a few.

We plan on having a nationwide radio tour towards launching and hopefully in the near future host our own radio talk show.  In our efforts to sensitize the masses we have a few ideas we will put to work like our social media campaign where we will publish pictures of people alongside what they either stand for or stand against. Another campaign will be called ”Civic Awareness” where we will have our law students and lawyers both at home and in the diaspora- come to lecture the masses about their civic rights, responsibilities and enlighten them on important points of the constitution. One can follow that by visiting our Facebook page @poweroffreedom220 our twitter handle @poweroffreedom3 or on instagram @poweroffreedom220

We hereby  come to ask the esteemed organisations for financial support for this cause,hoping we can expand beyond borders and reach out to Gambians wherever they are and in need of their country.

This movement is founded by rapper/activist Jerreh O. Badjie known by his stage name Retsam, a prominent Gambian rapper and entrepreneur who has been in exile in Dakar after taking part in April 16 protest. He finally decided to go back home and use his social media activism experience, advocacy and ground strategies to tackle injustice, corruption and non representation of Gambian youths in the benefits of our country. The name Power Of Freedom came as a song he did against the former regime and it made an impact on waking the conscience of the youths and the importance of their involvement in national interest.

I’d also love to say thank you to all the members and everyone who believed that only unity is a means of progress, working tirelessly to see us reach the masses.

https://soundcloud.com/poweroffreedom220

https://web.facebook.com/poweroffreedom220/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiN7zQI2R7BXDGYj2K61XJQ

Jerreh O. Badjie (Retsam)

Founder

News: Power of Freedom- Request for Support


3 More Gambians Missing Since May 9

Three Gambian youths namely; Lamin Marigo (Comes), Lamin Sey (L-Tigo) and Pa Landing Jobe have been reported missing in The Gambia since May 9th around 6:30 in the evening. Credible reports from concerned friends and family members indicate that all three youths, in their late 20’s were last seen outside Ousainou Darboe’s residence in Pipeline where they were picked up by Gambian Security Personnel.

To date the young men have been held for 17 days, exceeding the 72 hours constitutional limit. In response close friends and family members are demanding for their immediate release. All three have been described as responsible hard working youths. Concerned friends are also campaigning for their immediate release and if they have indeed fallen foul of the law, they should be formally charged in court.

Lamin Marigo pictured in the first photo below, is a 28 year old male commonly known as Comes. Recently married Marigo, a
videographer and editor by profession is of Mandinka descent from Latrikunda. He’s family members raise heightened concerns that he suffers from asthma and has an acute breathing problem. This underlines the urgent need for his immediate release as prison conditions are often unsuitable for detainees with any medical conditions, especially asthma. Authorities are hereby reminded of their duty to ensure access to adequate medical facilities for his wellbeing.

Lamin Sey pictured in the second photo below is a 28 year old Fula male with a Mandinka lineage. Commonly known as L-Tigo, he is fluent in English, Wollof, Mandinka and Fula. Sey is his family’s bread winner and a responsible businessman with employees. Sey an established tailor by trade runs a tailoring shop in Serrekunda, Bundung area with employees working under him. Sey’s mum suffers from common illness (heebon) and he is the sole carer for her wellbeing.

Pa Landing Jobe pictured in the third photo below is a 27 year old businessman from Talingding. His family members are very concerned and worried about his wellbeing as he constantly suffers from air shortage resulting in airlock.

On May 25th Gambian based news outlet Foroyaa published an editorial that families of arrestees are searching for their loved ones. This editorial states that keeping family members in unknown places is a “gross violation of section 19 of the Constitution”. Foroyaa has been publishing editorials of enforced disappearances for years now which the government continues to ignore with impunity.

Gainako’s Youth activist Flex Dan said “Family members cannot expect the government to feed and keep their loved ones safe as duty-bound in the constitution. It is a constitutional right of every family member to have access to their loved one. Since the state often provides poor food to prisoners it is incumbent on family members; to take their loved ones food, demand for access to medical attention and for their quick release. Looking at past cases the longer people are held incommunicado the more difficult it can be to trace them.”

Recently exiled Gambian rapper activist Jerreh Badgie “Retsam” lamented on the issues facing Gambian Youths. “My generation is either taking the back way or in illegal detention with no second chances for simply exercising their fundamental rights. This could happen to your father, brother or cousin. So it’s up to everyone to say no to illegal detention by speaking out. Family members must be devastated by this ongoing situation and we’re equally concerned for their wellbeing. We can’t afford to sit down and

watch this repression continue for too long, we demand for their immediate release!”

In a Facebook post by another exiled Gambian rapper activist Ali Cham “Killa Ace” he vents his disapproval at the news of their incommunicado detention. “Who’s going to be next, and when will this madness stop? Fire in my heart, more rage, more reasons why we lost hope in the system. #FreeDem”

http://www.kaironews.com/3-more-gambians-missing-since-may-9/