Sunday, August 28, 2011

APRC supporters optimistic of victory in November poll

Jammeh displaying his voter card - Pix: statehouse
Plus more...
  • Ensa Badjie Challenges High Court Decision 
  • Gender-based violence remain a major concern 
  • Senior staff leaving the UTG to safeguard morale 
  • Six NYSS Ex-Corps Members left for Benin 
  • 3 charged for telling President Jammeh ‘Edu Gomez illegally acquired land’ 
  • Takaful Insurance Company open doors to Serrekunda residents 

Ousainou Darboe leader of largest opposition party, UDP
As opposition supporters continue the call for a coalition
With a little more than three months in the run-up to the November 24 Presidential elections in Banjul, The Gambia, various sides of the political divide have been blowing their own trumpets as to who is to become the next president.
When almost every leader of a political party has stated openly that they would win the elections, party supporters from both sides are also not left behind, and as our Judicial Correspondent Sulayman Ceesay reports, the pro-APRC militants believe the elections is theirs to win, while pro-opposition supports exhorts for a coalition.
“President Jammeh is the man Gambian people need, supporters of the Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) should not even argued with those in the opposition about the capability of the president, what president did for the country in 17 years is unprecedented and need to be commended,” according to Lamin Jobateh, a resident of Serekunda said.
The second-hand automobile spare parts seller stress that Jammeh is ready to die for the Gambia and her people, and the best Gambian can do is to retain him as president to enable him continue his development initiatives.
Saikou Kujabi, a resident of Latrikunda Sabiji believes Jammeh is the “only person” who can rule this country as expected. “Gambians need a president who is development orientated,” the jobless youth said.  “Gambian experienced unprecedented developments since Jammeh came to power, just 17 years ago. This coming election will be the right avenue to pay him back for a good job.”
He is the “only president” who stays home and concentrate in his farming business while on holiday, the gains from these farms are plough back into society, what else Gambians expect from Jammeh, he asked.
Opposition supporter, Sainey Samateh, a resident of Tallinding, exhorts for an opposition political alliance.
“Opposition leaders should come together to remove president Jammeh from State House and bring an end to the sufferings faced by Gambians for 17 years,” he said. “The developments that the APRC and its supporters are talking about did not come from President Jammeh’s pocket. It is from tax payers’ money, so it a duty upon him to used that money and develop the country, that’s why he is there.”
He said Gambian should wake up and see for themselves that “the president has only come to enrich himself with our money, the time he was coming to power he has no money, now, where did he get all the money.
He said the president use to say “neither votes nor coups can remove him from power”, this, he adds is a manifestation that there will be no free and fair election. “It is an insult to the democracy of this country”. 
 For his part, Alieu Bojang, an unemployed youth in Tallinding, the opposition has only one chance of winning the elections by forming a coalition.
He observed that the President used his Constitutional requirement of “Meet the People Tour” to campaign. Thus, it was meant to dialogue with the people, know their challenges and seeking out ways of addressing them.
“The development of this country should not be base on loyalty to the APRC, the money is derived from tax payers’ and they are all entitled to benefit from the development,” he said.

Senior staff leaving the UTG to safeguard morale
Much is expected from them, as at now, the morale of the staff of the University of The Gambia (UTG) is going down and senior staff is leaving the university, according to Dr. Jane, the 2nd prosecution witness in the “false information trial” against Dr. Gumbo Ali Touray, Director of Informational Affairs of the UTG.
Dr. Gumbo Ali Touray has since denied the charge proffered against him by the police.
On August 12, 2011, at the Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Alagbe Taiwo Ade, Dr Jane said he has worked at the UTG since inception in 2000. “The UTG has graduated a number of students, some of whom can be found in top management positions in the public service while others have travel outside the country to pursue various degrees in bigger educational institutions.”
He said during the tenure of Professor Ekon as Vice Chancellor of UTG, staff official travels were covered by the host institution, including per diem and allowances. The same was the status quo during the time of Professor Steigen’s era as Vice Chancellor of UTG.
“Unfortunately, when Professor Kah took over as Vice Chancellor this was stopped. I travel with the accused (Touray) to Oslo and our request was not approved. We did not get our allowances, per diems for two years now,” Dr Jane revealed.
He noted that even the monthly senate meetings usually held at the UTG, are no more.  “This does not stop us not to pursue national interest,” he said, explaining that two days after their arrival from Oslo “we completed and submitted comprehensive reports about our trip”.
As a result of our visit to Oslo, Norway, a professor from the University of Oslo was in Banjul to deliver lectures on computer security at the UTG, he said. Trial continues on 22nd - 23rd August 2011.

FLAG: Gender-based violence remain a major concern
The Female Lawyers Association of The Gambia (FLAG) said the fighting against gender-based violence remains a major concern, a universal problem that has become one of the most widespread violations of human rights.
This, they said, cuts across all boundaries in the world, affecting – the rich and poor, literate and illiterate, young and old, black and white.
In a concept note during a training of trainers’ workshop it organised in collaboration with The Gambia Teacher Union (GTU) under the theme “Ending violence in society with special focus on women and girls”, FLAG said the most appalling sort of violence is one against women and it counts for up to 95 percent of all hostilities worldwide.
The act of gender-based violence has been prevalent in the Gambia for over 40 years since the coming into force of the 1970 Constitution. No specific laws tried to address the act, not until recently, when it was prohibited by the enactment of the Women’s Act 2010. The laws available were open to interpretations under personal law, making it difficult to fight violence committed against women.
The training was meant to ensure that teachers all over the country are trained on the subject and also expose school teachers, head of schools and administrators to the provisions of the Women’s Act, and to raise awareness on harmful traditional practices. 
Section 6 of the Women’s Act states that: “Every woman shall be protected against any form of physical, sexual, psychological or economic harm, suffering, or violence whether occurring in public or private life”.  
FLAG said regardless of the provisions of the Act, there is a need to raise awareness to instill a culture of non-violence in the Gambia. Changing cultural behaviors and attitudes can be a very tedious and time consuming project. FLAG acknowledges the fact that the older generations have certain norms and values that have been ingrained in them for very long period of time. Whilst trying to work on attitudinal change for the older generation.
The FLAG noted that they are targeting the younger generation who are yet to form firm individual beliefs, in an attempt to positively influence their views on violence against women.
The aim is to raise awareness on this issue, sensitize the younger generation, end the stereotypical idea about women and girls and empower the students to stand and “say no to violence”.     
FLAG said it is a non-political, sectarian, partisan, governmental and profit making association made up of female members of the legal profession who in various ways aim to contribute to the development and realization of the rights of women and children in the Gambia.

Six NYSS Ex-Corps Members left for Benin
Six ex-corps members of the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSS) has left Banjul on 19th August 2011 to attend a one month training on “Agriculture, Livestock farming and Food processing” in Benin.
The training, organised by the ECOWAS Commission for Youth and Sports Development Centre, will bring together 90 young people from the sub-region between august and September 23 at the Songhai Centre Porto Novo in Benin.
NYSS said in a statement that the ex-corps includes Cherno Barry, Fatoumata Bah, Mot Lamin Bah, Abdoulie Sallah, Basirou Boye and Saibana Camara, all graduates of NYSS.
The training is aimed at contributing to the attainment of the ECOWAS Vision 2020 of moving from an “ECOWAS of States to an ECOWAS of Peoples”.
It is also meant to increase employability of ECOWAS youths, building capacity of young entrepreneurs and contributing to the reduction of youth unemployment. It will concentrate on fish breeding, processing of fruits into syrup and juice, bakery and dairy products, production of soap, crop production, poultry farming, breeding of small ruminants and drafting of business plans.
Its, Executive Director, Mr. Nuha Jammeh urged the participants to perform up to expectation and represent the good image of the Gambia. “Try to work to be cooperative and work as a team. Be very cautious with where you go and what you do because you are going to different environment,” he warns.
Mr. Musa Mbye, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports, urged them to demonstrate the greatest sense of maturity, saying “they are selected out of lot based on their academic merit and they should try to demonstrate it in this training”.
This is the 7th batch of ex-corps members of NYSS attending similar ECOWAS training programmes.

Takaful Insurance Company open doors to Serrekunda residents 
Barely four years into the Insurance Industry of The Gambia, the only Islamic Insurance Company, Takaful is raising the bar in the market by opening new branches to reach out to the doors of its customers.   
The Company was given approval by the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) in January 2008 to operate a “general takaful business” guided by the Insurance Act of 2003. The Company has a Principle of promoting Shariah (Islamic Law) Insurance under the “principles of fairness and transparency.
On August 18, 2011 the Company opened its 4th branch in Serekunda, along Seyerr Jobe Avenue. Takaful is the youngest in the insurance industry of the Gambia, its management said the company’s financial state continues to grow stronger, regardless of the challenges brought by the financial institutions during the global financial crises in 2008.
Known for its sound economic and financial management practices, the company continues to perform well thanks to the diligence of the two boards: the Board of Directors and the Shariah Board.
In 2009, the Company made a mark in the history of Insurance when it started to share profits with customers and as well offering Zakat (charity) to their customers, whom they refer to as “participants”. The move came only one year after the establishment of Takaful Insurance Company.
In his inaugural statement, the Managing Director of Takaful Insurance Company, Mr. Momodou Joof thank the Almighty (God) for giving them another opportunity to expand their Company’s activities within Serekunda, the biggest town in the Greater Banjul Area (GBA).
He said they’ve had offices in Basse, in the Upper River Region; Farafenni, in the North Bank Region; and Tallinding, in the GBA.
“We pray for Allah’s continued sustenance, guidance and protection of our entire Operation,” he said. “Takaful has continued to proof to Gambians and residents of the Gambia is the fairest way to doing Insurance business in modern times and it’s strictly operated under Shariah Principles of Fairness and transparency.”
He noted that the indispensable profit sharing which is unique in the operation of Takaful as an Insurance company was said to be unsustainable and the competitors thought Takaful can never sustain of their operations on profit sharing.
However, they have proof them wrong because since they started sharing profits and giving out Zakat in 2009, they have continued to enjoy the significant increase in the profits to be shared by participants or clients though their shareholders are yet to breakeven or receive dividend.
“As at end of the second Quarter of 2011, the (Takaful) accounts are already showing an increase in profit to be shared at the end of this year,” he said.
For his part, the Marketing Manager Mr. Talib Bensouda noted the new branch will ease the burden of customers in accessing Takaful. “This is a very big step in our overall success,” he said.
He hailed their clients’ contribution to the company and maintained that the Company will also work towards meeting the demands of its clients and their welfare.  
The Imam Ratiib of Banjul, Cherno Alioune Mass Kah attended the ceremony and also commend the Takaful for the “good work” and the promotion of the Sharia in business.

Ensa Badjie Challenges High Court Decision
Mr Ensa Badjie, former Inspector General of Gambia Police Force has filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal to challenge a life sentence handed to him by the Special Criminal Division of the High Court in Banjul.
The Court sentenced Ensa Badjie to life imprisonment in July 2011 after a judge Joseph Ikpala found him guilty of robbery crimes, he was also sentence to 37 years on five related charges, but acquitted and discharged on six other charges.
His appeal will not be heard by the court for now since the High Court is on vacation. However, his case is expected to be heard when the Court resumes from vacation in September 2011.
Badjie have always maintained his innocent-plea on a 15-count charges including “conspiracy to commit felony; robbery with violence; receiving stolen properties; official corruption; among other offences.
At the time of his sentencing, his defence counsel, Borry S. Touray pleaded with the Court to “tamper justice with mercy” as Badjie is a first-time offender and has serve the state for a long time. He said Badjie is a family head with wives and children depending on him.
Nonetheless, Justice Ikpala, presiding, was having none of that. He said: “I cannot have mercy for this type of people, because to whom much is given, much is expected, but he betrays the trust given to him.”
Meanwhile, Badjie is also standing trial in three other criminal matters: 51 criminal charges at the High Court; Four counts at the Banjul Magistrate Court; and Traffic offences at the Banjul Magistrate Court.

3 charged for telling President Jammeh ‘Edu Gomez illegally acquired land’
Three residents of Sukuta, Kombo North District, West Coast Region have been granted a bail-bond of D500, 000 each, with one Gambian surety.
The trio, Demba Sireh Cham, Amadou Cham and Famara Cham were arraigned and charge with giving “false information” to a public officer Contrary to Section 144 of the Criminal code cap 10 Volume III Laws of the Gambia.
They pleaded not-guilty before the Banjul Magistrate Court presided by Magistrate Alagbe Taiwo Ade on 17th August, 2011.
According to the particulars of offence, Demba Sireh Cham, Amadou Cham, and Famara Cham had written a petition to the Office of the President claiming that Mr. Edward Gomez, the Justice Minister illegally acquired land situated at Old Yundum which belongs to them, the information they know that is false thereby committed an offence. Hearing continues on 7th September 2011.

  •  Source: The Voice Newspaper

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