Sunday, October 10, 2010

UDP Leader Calls for Unity in Combating HIV/AIDS


Tags:
 Posted by Modou S. Joof on March 11, 2010 at 12:19pm
Says Gambia Faces Serious Human Rights Crises

Banjul, The Gambia (TNBES) The Secretary General and Party Leader of the United Democratic Party has called on his compatriots to unite to combat the spread of HIV/Aids, drug trafficking, rape and other crimes of violence that are besetting our nation.

“No nation can achieve its developmental objectives if it is beset with crime. Gambians and others resident must cooperate fully with the law enforcement agencies in order to track down these anti-social culprits,” Ousainou Darboe said.

The outspoken opposition leader also argued that we face a serious human rights crisis presently. “Citizens are arrested and locked up without charge and in some cases those who have been
tried and acquitted are rearrested and detained at the behest of the
Executive,” Darboe said in a media dispatch on the occasion of The Gambia’s
Independence Celebration. Below is the full text of his statement….

INDEPENDENCEDAY MESSAGE BY MR. OUSAINU DARBOE, Secretary General and Party Leader, United Democratic Party – 18TH FEBRUARY 2010

My fellow Gambians,

This is the forty-fifth independence celebration. Nearly half of the present citizenry were not born when The Gambia became independent; for
these Gambians comparison is not possible between then and now.

Independence entailed installing a government led by our own kith and kin as administrators and political leaders. The yearning then, as it is now, was to move from the underdevelopment and poverty to a steady improvement in the lot of the
average Gambian. This was in fact the
wish and expectation of all newly independent peoples.

When the colonial masters left, we were endowed with a decent, disciplined and devoted civil service imbued with a sense of patriotism and devotion to the new nation whose survival was
very much in doubt. It was renowned in Africa
for its sense of duty and patriotism, two characteristics that made The Gambia
a model of good administration cited in many Commonwealth countries.

We now see that service in total disarray with morale at its lowest ebb. The rules and regulations – the Financial Instructions and the General
Orders – which are the backbone of good administrative practices and guided the
civil service reach greater heights, are now dead letters. Some civil servants do not even know that
these rules and regulations exist not to mention being applied.

Dismissals of public servants without reason are now so commonplace that no one can keep track of who heads a particular public body, government ministry or department. The worst thing is that these dismissed
public servants do not only lose their jobs but also all their service
benefits.

At independence a promise of freedom and liberty was held out to all of us. You and I had absolute confidence in our leaders that no man shall be
put at disadvantage because of his tribe, religion, race, sex, creed or
political persuasion.

But presently, we face a serious human rights crisis. Citizens are arrested and locked up without charge and in some cases those who have been
tried and acquitted are rearrested and detained at the behest of the
Executive. Citizens have disappeared
after having been picked up from their homes or work places by state security
personnel. There are the mysterious
disappearances of journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh and the UDP Kombo East
constituency Secretary Kanyiba Kanyi who have remained untraceable after over
three years.

The notion of independence is to be less dependent on others that is to say being in charge of one’s own affairs. We can not ignore that in this
day and age of globalisation interdependence is the order of the day. Nevertheless, independence does call for self
reliance and self sufficiency individually and collectively. It also calls for committed, selfless and
altruistic leadership – leadership in and for the service of the nation. It
calls for the skillful and judicious management of our resources. It calls for fiscal and financial discipline.

After forty five years of nationhood, we should be able to point at tangible progress that positively impact on the lives of the ordinary citizens.
We have borrowed millions of dollars and dalasi which in some instances
have not been properly utilized. Our
children and grand children are now lumbered with this huge debt burden.

There have not been any meaningful investments in industry, agriculture or social services that can provide sufficient employment opportunities for our young people. This is what the Asian countries, some of
which gained independence within the same period as The Gambia, have done. Unlike these Asian nations, we content
ourselves with grandiose, capital intensive and non productive projects. We in
The Gambia can boast of having the best and most expensive cars in Africa.

After forty five years of independence we import virtually everything that we eat including vegetables and rice - our staple food. We have not
harnessed and exploited the full potential of the River Gambia. With its
abundant fresh water it can support irrigated rice farming and other forms of
agricultural activities throughout the year thus reducing our dependence on
imported food stuff.

The founding fathers of this great nation realized that independence will not transform our groundnut into diamonds. The sense of realism
should continue to guide us. If we are to make strides in our quest for
progress and unity, the leaders must be open minded and accept that The Gambia
is composed of people who espouse divergent views. This is recognized by our national anthem
which amongst other things prays “to join our diverse people to prove man’s
brotherhood”.
We all have to accept and encourage the rule of law in all
our dealings; promote good governance and human rights. In this way justice will guide us in all
our actions.

As we celebrate this year’s independence anniversary, let us by all means rejoice and jubilate. Let us pledge our unflinching and firm allegiance to The Gambia. Let us renew
our promise of patriotism to the nation.
Let us uphold and keep alight the torch of hope which was lighted on 18th
February 1965.

Let us rededicate ourselves to the uplifting of our country from the doldrums of poverty, underdevelopment and illiteracy in which we are wallowing.
Let us work towards a less corrupt and more transparent society. We must desist from taking advantage of the
poor, the less fortunate, the disadvantaged, the under privileged and the
gullible. On this occasion every leader
of whatever description must accept that the leadership position he/she
occupies should be used for the benefit and interest of those he leads. On this occasion every leader should pledge
to The Gambian people that there will be no “Animal Farm” in The Gambia.

My compatriots whilst wishing you a happy anniversary I ask that we all unite to combat the spread of HIV/Aids, drug trafficking, rape and other crimes of violence that are besetting our
nation. No nation can achieve its
developmental objectives if it is beset with crime. Gambians and others resident must cooperate
fully with the law enforcement agencies in order to track down these
anti-social culprits. In this way I
believe we can make our independence meaningful and that The Gambia that you
and I dream of is possible.

Happy independence anniversary and May God bless you all. VOL:3 ISSN:98

No comments:

Post a Comment

The views expressed in this section are the authors' own. It does not represent The North Bank Evening Standard (TNBES)'s editorial policy. Also, TNBES is not responsible for content on external links.

Cheeky Quotes