Gambia’s main telecommunication network GAMTEL, is seemingly joining other dead parastatals in that impoverished West African country. The firm is faced by lack of modern equipment and regular maintenance. For the past four weeks, Gambians living in the diaspora and non Gambians alike have been complaining about poor network in the Gambia and lack of quality phone services. Several hundreds of dollars were waisted on phone cards, due to communication disruption from Banjul. Reaching the Gambia on the phone these days, is hard to come by. People struggle for hours, weeks and months just to get in touch with their loved ones. The Banjul phones are either unreachable, out of service or busy.

Interestingly, the calls are usually jammed by foreign voices. As a news media, we call our sources on a daily basis to receive update about happenings in the Gambia. But the recent communication black out is hampering our work to some extent. Some sources preferred to be called on the phone, than dispatching email messages. We respect their stance, as emails are not 100 percent guaranteed. They passed  through many servers before getting to the targeted destination. Some of the breaking news stories, we received at our news desk are very sensitive. We thought it necessary to protect such sources, even it would cost us money to call them late at night to get the story. It’s gathered that the government is also monitoring emails going out of the country through their GAMTEL main server. If the said report is to go by, then our country is on the verge of joining Main Land China, where internet access is restricted. A very bad trend.

The Freedom Newspaper is not the only organization which is bound to be affected by the said black out. It’s imperative to note the current poor communication network would scare potential investors. We are pretty certain that President Jammeh himself must have been affected by the said communication crisis taking place in our country. His business partners in Morocco and Guinea must have told him about the current problem. We sometimes, wonder if Omar Ndow, the GAMTEL managing Director really wants his job. How can such a national problem happen and is not allaying people’s fear and concern. At some point, people even rumoured that the communication problem was due to some security problems at the state house. Some said GAMTEL was on the verge of relocating to Abuko. What ever the case might be, Omar Ndow should be responsible enough to tell Gambians and non Gambians alike about the true state of affairs.

Mr.Ndow and his team, owe us an apology for waisting our hard earned dollars into phone cards, which never served its purposes. Ndow should address the nation without delay and assure the country that the situation is being taken care off. This is a very bad start for Jammeh’s new term. Our only national transportation company GPTC was buried last year due to lack of buses, resources, and sound budget to keep that organization running. The GPTC is today reduced to a “Ghost” company.

NAWEC, the only power company in the country was privatized when it was on its final collapsing. Now, GAMTEL of all GAMTEL is experiencing problems. This is a serious national problem, which should not be down played. Our country cannot be at ease, if our communication networks is in bad shape. Many commentators said the current problem is a threat to “National Security.” We agree with such commentators for some key reasons. One, it would raise more rumours and speculations in the country. Regular and constant communications is crucially imperative in any stable democracy. If this government wants to give its back to the world, then so be it. But what is evident is that the Gambia stands to lose at the end of the day.

This administration spent a lot of time on security, but it fails to do what it takes to bring stability in a country. There cannot be stability when citizens are not at ease. Right now, as I piece this dispatch together fear and anxiety continues to grip Gambians most importantly APRC supporters. No one can tell for certain what the future holds for the Gambia. The government believes that the best way to maintain national security is to instill fear into the minds of citizens. This is a far fetch notion to buy.

President Jammeh was brave enough to tell his followers that before his fall many of them would be jailed. Already, he has started disowning the people who misled him over the years. Before Mr.Jammeh comes into his senses it would be late. We have been judged,persecuted and exiled because of our political opinion. Jammeh’s own enemies are within him. The real threats dine with him on a daily basis. The party which Jammeh led is consist of liars, hypocrites, parasites, and money “launderers.” Most of the people who smile for him today are not real. They are after his money and job. Period. The same people cursed his parents in his absence. We are please to note that Jammeh knows our stance. We are not faked. We are real. We don’t believe in double standards. You either  be with the devil or oppose him. No flip-flopping. We tell him the unpleasant truth without regret. After all, Jammeh is not God, as he taken to be by his followers.

On a final note, we urge Omar Ndow to please take care of the country’s  communication crisis. This don’t tell well for a government, which wants to make the Gambia a Singapore. Our people deserve better services. Think about it. If you think that you cannot handle GAMTEL, please step down. Gambians are very angry with the system. Don’t let people to walk out into the streets to demand for Jammeh’s resignation. We cannot afford to see GAMTEL privatize like NAWEC and other Public Corporations. Its enough! It’s enough! We pray that God rescue our country from the current predicament we found ourselves as a nation. The is not the Gambia we wanted. A nation without communication? This is serious. A big time disaster.

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