The opposition Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC) has issued a statement, signed by party leader Mamma Kandeh, saying the party is seriously dismayed and concerned about the current abysmal state of the political and socio-economic affairs of the country.
The release states: “These contemporary issues include the following:
The arrest of Dr. Janneh
To begin with, we strongly condemn the inhumane way in which Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh, a human rights activist and a political leader was arrested. This style of arrest is a clear manifestation of the government’s lack of respect for human rights and dignity as it is reminiscent of the modus operandi of the previous autocratic regime.
This is tantamount to witch-hunting and suppression of opposition voices. Dr. Janneh deserves nothing but respect and appreciation for his invaluable contributions and sacrifices in effecting the new political change in The Gambia.
A GDC government will ensure that human rights principles and practices are respected and dissenting voices are listened to as part of the democratic process of the New Gambia.
The Gambia Government is not providing adequate information about the oil prospecting deal in The Gambia. Gambians need to know every detail about this deal and what financial and economic benefits will The Gambia gain from these explorations if successful. The government should realize that they are servants and representatives of the people and that power belongs to the citizens who will continue to hold their leaders accountable. Transparency and accountability will ensure that oil does not become a curse but a blessing.
National documents are a symbol of our sovereignty. Therefore, our national identity cards and passports should be produced by our own citizens. Awarding SEMLEX, a foreign company, with a contract to produce one of the most important documents for our citizens compromises our sovereignty, pride, dignity and security. The government is hereby urged to terminate this contract with immediate effect as it is of zero benefit to our country. We must patronize and empower our own entrepreneurs in order to create jobs and enhance our economy. It will be a great betrayal of trust if the government fails to rescind this contract.
The fact that the government agrees to charge Gambians the sum of D450 for a simple ID Card shows that this government does not aware of the poor, hard and difficult living conditions that its citizens are going through in this country.
State of the Nation address
The GDC is totally disappointed with President Barrow’s State of the Nation Address as it was merely a description of what was being done and what would be done rather than providing concrete results and/or impact of his government policies on the lives of the citizens since it came to power 22 months ago.
A GDC government will ensure that a State of the Nation Address is properly arranged and that concrete results and impact of government national development plans are properly communicated to Gambians.
Travel allowances and privileges
The GDC is utterly shocked by worrisome trend with regards to the government’s expenditure especially on travel and per diems. It is highly irresponsible and insensitive that from January to July 2018 that this government has spent over D200 Million on travels alone. Coupled with the chattering of a private jet by President Barrow to attend the recently concluded UN General Assembly meeting is a clear manifestation of the lack of sympathy and empathy for the impoverished people of our country. Such a behavior is not expected from a transitional government whose campaign promise was to reform all sectors of the government. This is looting of our meagre resources for personal aggrandizement and enrichment.
Declaration of food crisis
The declaration of a looming food crisis by the Vice President and UDP Leader is a clear manifestation of either an incapable government or a government that simply does not care for its citizenry or both. How can a government that is boasting of an 800 million Dalasis monthly tax returns be unable to feed two million people? Where is all this money going to?
The GDC puts agriculture as a priority for the social and economic development of the country. When in power, It will reform the agricultural system of the country putting much emphasis on agro-business, processing and adding value on all agriculture produce. This way Gambians will have sufficient food available and employment opportunities from the created agri-based industries.
First Lady Foundation
The GDC has learnt with concern that the First Lady Fatu Bah Barrow Foundation is being investigated for acquiring the sum of US$752, 592.42 donated by a Chinese Company TBEA Company Ltd. While waiting for the findings of this investigation, the GDC hereby proposes that such foundations should be established through an Act of Parliament and be subjected to public audit and monitoring by the PAC/PEC of the National Assembly since the Fist lady’s Foundation is connected to the Office of the President which is a public office. In the same vein, the GDC also calls on the Central Bank to conduct an investigation into this affair in order to verify that this is not a case of money laundering or other corrupt practices.
The Gambian people will not settle for anything less than the truth. Gone are the days when such matters of national interest are swept under the carpet. The GDC would like to assure the general public that it will not rest on its laurels until the facts are made known to the people.
A GDC government will never condone such irresponsible and inexcusable squandering of government resources and would ensure that all our actions and decisions will be made with the best interest of the people in mind.”