Gambia: Good morning Mr. President – On compensation for Jabang victims, subsidy to media houses, among others

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Mr President, the recent demolition exercise which was carried out in August this year in Jabang and led by the Department of Land Use Planning and Housing, leaving many homeless families homeless, is disturbing and it urgent action by the government.

These families legally acquired their land from Social Security and Housing Finance (SSHF). To demolish their compounds at a time when the rainy season is almost over is a total miscalculation. In fact, even before they embarked on this demolition exercise, the planning department should have worked with the SSHF to ensure that the affected families received shelters first. That’s how it should have been. You can’t tear down my complex and ask me to hit the streets like this with my whole family after pumping all my savings into this particular complex for construction.

Mr. President, we must not compromise the truth in this very circumstance. The Department of Land Use Planning and Housing should indeed be blamed for this disaster. In fact, why approve construction plans and then come and tear them down? It’s frustrating and a total waste of resources. Therefore, the only thing the government should do urgently is to compensate those affected by the unfortunate scenario.

On the other hand, property developers should not proceed until all requirements are met. Wherever they expand, they must ensure that there are good roads, electricity, water supply, drainage system, markets, parking lots and playgrounds, among other social amenities . They must ensure that they obtain building permits from the relevant government institutions.

Mr. Speaker, Physical Planning, NRA, NAWEC, Ministry of Local Government and Lands Housing Unit should convene a meeting of stakeholders and come up with a regulatory framework for residential and commercial purposes. It would promote urban development and also solve all these land problems that we have.

Mr. President, the ECOWAS Parliament always encourages states to limit to two terms to avoid future coups in the sub-region – this is a good initiative and should be supported by all governments and leaders. African state. African leaders who change the constitution of countries out of political expediency are the reason why we suffer countless coups. Therefore, unless we respect the will of our people and our respective constitution, there are strong tendencies that this trend would likely continue. What is even more annoying is the fact that the regional bloc ECOWAS and AU will remain silent and not condemn African leaders when they change their constitution just for their own interest. Indeed, during the process of amending their constitution so that they can run for another term, many people die as a result of protests among others.

Therefore, there should be a clause in the planned bill on the two term limits and all presidents should sign this bill when it is done. Our African leaders must understand that life after the presidency is indeed very good, especially when that particular president has worked for the wishes and aspirations of his people. Again, there are many benefits included in the retirement package; so that should be enough for them and their families.

Mr President, the only problem that many African leaders face is that they are reluctant to give up power because they fear after retirement that they will be prosecuted. Well, the truth is that if an African leader does anything that warrants prosecution, that person should indeed be prosecuted. No one should rule a country with a dictatorship, harass and kill its people just to stay in power.

Mr. President, another important issue that should be a priority for your government is to ensure that the media in the country provides subsidies as many other African countries do. Currently, newspaper publishers are struggling to survive in the market as government departments and ministries fail to pay their advertising and subscription bills, especially on time. Sometimes it takes 3 to 6 months before the newspapers are paid for. The media, especially newspapers, struggle to survive if ministries do not pay and on time.

A solution would have to be found for the survival of the newspapers otherwise the publishers would go bankrupt. Printing materials are high due to freight cost and foreign currency. The media and the government are partners in development.

Finally, Mr. President, some African governments like Senegal, Gabon and Ivory Coast also subsidize and subsidize the media which plays a central role in our democracy. Officials from the Ministry of Finance and Information should therefore ensure that a definitive solution is found for the media to be paid. It is thanks to the few resources that we earn, we also remunerate our staff and settle other needs.

Have a good day!

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