President Yahya Jammeh is now listening. It’s important for him to read the Freedom Newspaper with an open mind. Yes, we are critical of his administration, but that would not stop us from reporting the truth and nothing but the truth. We have the moral obligation to make our public officials accountable. That’s our job as press men and women.
Few days ago, we reported about the communication breakdown in the Gambia, which resulted intoÂ a major blackout. Gambians in the diaspora hardly have access to their loved ones. They struggle for days, weeks and months just to reach Banjul on the phone. Despite our piece, GAMTEL never issued a statement to shed light on the story. As usual, they behave as ifÂ nothing had went wrong.
President Jammeh responded by firing Omar Ndow, GAMTEL’S Managing Director. He has now been replaced by Katim Touray, a native of Touba Murit. Mr.Touray was said to have been undermined by Mr.Ndow and his group after he was branded as a “boy boy” to his predecessor Mr.Mboob. Mr.Touray is a certified accountant. He knows figures to the tip of his fingers. As a young man, Touray was seen as a potential threat to the GAMTEL old guard. Ndow and his group fought him tooth and nail to ensure that he was out of that institution. Touray later steps down to avoid being sacked. The government offered him with a new job to regulate companies like GAMTEL, which he accepted.
Today, Omar Ndow is a victim of his own making. The likes of Ndow misled President Jammeh over the years. It’s encouraging that Jammeh is now reading between the lines. Ours is just to report the news and leave the rest to our readers to judge. We don’t mind people calling us names. Gambia’s interest overrides personal interest.
Touray’s comeback will not doubt cause some shake ups at GAMTEL. Mr.Ndow and his group during the period in question succeeded in diving the institution. They have their own people who run errands for them at GAMTEL. Touray has a big task ahead of him. For Touray to meet his objectives, he need the support of the entire GAMTEL management and local staff. GAMTEL should be restructured in the interest of the country. The small “TerriKafo Clubs” at that intuition should be disbanded, if we mean well for our country. Local staffers and members of management should put the country’s interest first, before personal interest. They should also bury their individual differences and maintain a team work. In the absence of team work, no meaningful development can be achieved.
We do not know who advised President Jammeh to replace OmarÂ Ndow, but the move was a positive one. Positive in the sense that, it would bring sense of relieve to the people who relied on GAMTEL on their daily business activities. Imagine, an investor trying to bring developmental projects into the Gambia, only to be greeted by bad communications? How about foreign companies, with business interest in the Gambia? What about Gambian nationals living abroad?
Communication is paramount in any oragised set up. A nation’s stability is largely measured by its communication reliability, economic and political freedoms. In the absence of communication, any meaningful development could take place.
Therefore, it’s imperative for this administration do everything in their means to sustain GAMTEL and other parastals which are often called as the “nerve” centres ofÂ the country. It should also root out official corruption. Some public officials are working for themselves and not for the country. This is demonstrated by the type of cars they drive and the houses they lived in. Some of the so called MDS and SOS had swimming polls in their homes, while they run private businesses in the country. We all know that their salaries cannot earn them such luxurious houses. President Jammeh’s fall would be caused by such self centered public servants. As long as, they can line up their pockets, they don’t seem to care about the ordinary man.
The Vice President must be very upset with Jammeh these days. Omar Ndow is her close relative. They are all from Niumi. The VP should not be angry. Lets set aside tribe, relationship, political affiliation and greed and work for the betterment of our dear mother land. The likes of VP Njie Saidy to some extent also misled Mr.Jammeh. A senior citizen of her caliber ought to know better. She should be brave enough to tell Jammeh the truth, if he is on the verge of going astray. But no, the VP cares about her salary and not the Gambia. We even doubt her patriotism and loyalty to Jammeh. Gambians should not be surprised if the VP tries to disown Jammeh in the event of his fall.
The VP is not handling her job as expected. If she was competent enough, the President would not have been in such a mess today. We sometime, wonder if the VP have any job description besides opening and closing workshops. Her second office is the Kairaba Hotel. She spends most her precious time on workshops. We have nothing against workshops, but we do belief that there are other pressing state issues to be taken care off than spending her offices hours in hotels. Productivity matters in any employment. If the VP thinks that she had been redundant by Jammeh should be courageous enough to call it quits.The worse thing she would like to get is sack and that day is coming. We know the circumstances that led to the major cabinet reshuffle. The likes of the VP underestimates Jilanka but just wait. Yes, the man is not well schooled as the VP and others gossip him in their offices, but he is today facilitating your employment. Some Gambians are faked. If you don’t like Jammeh’s style of governance, be plain enough like some of us, but the “Dogodogo” games is just hard to stand.Â They hide under the dark to curse him, but at the same time, they want to dine with him. This isÂ height of hypocrisy.
Be real people, so that you can sleep well at night. We are pleased to note that Jammeh knows our stance. The VP and co need to show their true colors for the benefit of Jammeh and the nation. The nation’s load is too heavy for Jammeh alone. What we have today is one man remote controlling the country. If the VP was competent enough, the President don’t need to be everywhere.
Some of us can raise our heads high. We expect no position from Jammeh and careless aboutÂ howÂ his followers viewed us. Jammeh should not see this paper as his enemy, but a watchdog, which is out to expose vices that are inimical to national development. As a responsible press, we maintain highest degree of independence and shall refuse to be used byÂ people with viciousÂ intend. We are aware of the fact that there are people out there, whose sole aim isÂ to bring us down, but shall surely fail God willing. We love our country and would not hesitate to speak our mind if the national interest is undermined at any given time. This was what we did on Omar Ndow’s case. Period.
We hope Omar’s successor Katim Touray would inject a new blood into GAMTEL. Gambians want better communication and not the new type of Communication Ndow and his group wanted to initiate. Mr.Touray should also be ready to listen and accept positive advises. He should also be willing to accommodate Omar Ndow’s boys who fought him in the past. As a nation, we must be ready to forgive and forget. One should not abuse his or her position because past differences. What matters is sustaining the intuition and not to rsettle old scores.
We know Touray as a “principled and dedicated” young man committed to his work. This was the cap who took first throughout the world, when he sat for the AAT exams back in the early 90′s. His success story was announced worldwide. Touray also successfully completed his ACCA in the United Kingdom with honors.
Finally, We want Mr.Ndow to sit down and reflect on his recent sacking. He should not blame people for his problem. Interestingly, Ndow had little public sympathy. At last, President Jammeh is listening to voices of dissent.