• GAMBIA: World in naked stare as GAMBIANS narrate ordeal while on adventure to the unknown

    01/Apr/2017 // 4073 Viewers

     

    PARIS, APRIL 01, 2017: (DGW) The Republic of Gambia, a country surrounded by Senegal in the West African sub-region has reportedly lost its sons and daughters to adventures as many of them run away from home in search of the proverbial greener pasture abroad.

    Many have recounted their bitter experience while trying to cross the fiery Sahara desert to the coast of North Africa from where to embark of dangerous sea journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

    Many have reportedly died in this adventure according to official figures released by the Internal Office of Migration (IOM)

    In this piece below authored by Hamza Mohamed published by Al-Jazeera, references were made to the mass drift overseas by Gambians who are in search of the proverbial golden fleece.

    This is clearly to run away from the effects of the bad government at home during the reign of terror of the country's exiled long-standing ruler, Mr Yahya Jammeh.

    However, the emergence of the country's president , Mr Adama Barrow  after a hotly contested presidential poll that almost put the country on the brink, have rekindled dashed hopes as the president embarks on massive sweeping reforms to better the lots of the citizenry.

    Although the mass exodus overseas still continues, however, no fewer than 127 West Africans including Gambian perished in the Mediterranean last week and this was widely reported by the world press.


    Below is a piece authored by Hamid Mohamed syndicated from Al-Jazeera titled ''The Gambia's missing sons and daughters''

    Read full article below.

    ''The air is hot and dry, and the main road that dissects this riverside town is devoid of any sign of life. Janjanbureh was once the second largest town in The Gambia. Now, it is nowhere near that - its old colonial buildings are barely standing and most of its residents have left for other parts of the country, or for Europe in search of greener pastures.

    Alieu Bah sits under a tree in the courtyard of his two-bedroom house off the main thoroughfare, taking shelter from the afternoon heat.

    Three weeks ago the father-of-12 received the news that any parent dreads the most: his son, Sailu Bah, had been killed by human traffickers in Libya as he attempted to embark upon the final leg of a perilous journey to Italy.

    "A young man from this town who was with him called us and told us Sailu was beaten to death by the smugglers," Bah says as his eyes fill with tears.

    Desperate to get to Italy

    There are fewer than two million Gambians, and by percentage of population, more Gambians have headed to Europe than any other nation, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

    In 2016, almost 12,000 Gambians landed on the shores of Italy and Greece. Entire villages have been emptied of their young men and women.

    This island town, some 300km north of the capital, Banjul, has had some of the highest rates of youth migration in the country. It used to be home to as many as 50,000 people. Now the government estimates that only 3,600 are left.

    Everyone in this rice-farming town knows someone who has attempted the dangerous journey to Europe.

    "I have lost count of how many young people have left. Every time you hear the son or daughter of so-and-so has left the town. Many times they die trying to get to Italy," says Bah, his voice cracking with emotion.

    A new road to nowhere

    The fortunes of the town have long been tied to the country's once-thriving river transport system. At a time when the country's roads were not Tarmacked and boats were the favoured form of transportation, Janjanbureh was a vital stop for goods and people.

    But when, in the early 1980s, the government began to build new roads and to Tarmac existing ones, Janjanbureh's fortunes shifted. Gambians started to travel by road instead of boat and without a bridge to connect the island town to the rest of the country, it was overlooked and neglected. People and goods no longer passed through it.

    A ten-minute walk from Bah's house, beside the shore of the River Gambia, a group of men sit idly beneath some mango trees. A single skiff floats on the still brown waters nearby. It is almost two in the afternoon and they have spent the day sitting here, watching the water, in the hope that some tourists will arrive by boat.

    "Tourists sometimes stop by on their way to other towns," explains one of them, Modou Sane. "They want to see crocodiles and hippos. We take them around on our boat and they take pictures. That is the only way we make a living.

    "There is no other work for us here," the 35-year-old father of four continues. "This job doesn't provide us with enough money to live on. Life is tough and we are tired."

    The situation isn't much better for the younger generation. Nineteen-year-old Mohamed Lamine has just finished high school and is meant to go to university. But his family is poor and they can't afford the fees.

    Many of his classmates have already left Janjanbureh and now he is considering following in their footsteps.

    "My dream was to go to university and become a businessman when I finish my studies," he says. "But we have no money for fees and I have nothing to do. I don't see things improving and I'm almost certain I will try my luck abroad."

    A beggar in a foreign country'

    But not everyone in Janjanbureh is in a rush to leave. Madou Toure has tried his luck abroad twice and says the grass isn't always greener elsewhere.

    "I left Janjanbureh twice and went abroad to see if life is better outside," he explains. "One time I went as far as Mauritania. It was soon after I finished high school."

    The 38-year-old father-of-six says he will not try a third time.

    "Life was hard abroad. People treat you like a beggar. And I found no jobs. It is better to be a poor farmer here than to be a beggar in a foreign country," adds Toure, who now has a small rice farm.

    The country has a new government, for the first time in more than two decades, and it says that addressing the issue of migration will be one of its top priorities.

    "We have started to provide our youth with the training they need in order for them to be self-employed," explains Lamin Darboe, the executive director of The Gambia National Youth Council. "There are not enough jobs in the market, so we are giving them the right training so they can be self-employed.

    "We are also conducting [a] sensitisation programme where we tell our youth about the dangers involved in migration. We provide them with alternative information to what the smugglers are providing them with." 

    But for many parents in Janjanbureh this has come too late.

    "The new government cannot bring back my son," says Bah. "But I hope they can prevent the rest of our youth from dying the same way as my son."

    Follow Hamza Mohamed on Twitter: @Hamza_Africa

    Credit: Al-Jazeera


    Read More
  • Election: Jammeh faces rare challenge after 22-years rule

    01/Dec/2016 // 838 Viewers

     

    The Gambian President Yahya Jammeh will face a rare challenge from a revitalized and united opposition in a presidential election today as he seeks to extend his 22-year grip on power in the tiny West African nation.

    Jammeh, 51, seized power as a young army officer in a 1994 coup and has maintained his control over Gambia in four subsequent elections despite growing international concern over his government’s deteriorating human rights record. 

    In the final days of campaigning, a grinning Jammeh stared out from the large billboards positioned every few hundred meters along the main roads leading into Banjul, the capital of the nation of 1.8 million people.

    “I am the best president that Gambians will ever get,” Jammeh, who once said he would rule his country for “a billion years”, said on Tuesday. “My presidency and power are in the hands of Allah and only Allah can take it from me.”


    Read More
  • Update on Gambia Presidential Election

    01/Dec/2016 // 1449 Viewers

     

    As the hotly contested presidential elections are ongoing  in Gambia, the authorities has reportedly shut down access to the internet and blocked all international calls into the small West African State as part of  security measures, The Independent has reported.
     
    According to reports, analysts say chances are high that Gambian voters will vote out the president who has spent 22 calendar years on the throne  and unwilling to relinquish his hold on power.
    Yahha Jameh came to power in 1994 via coup d'etat and has refused to leave power ever since but instead amended the constitution  to remove presidential term limits.
     
    Former London security Guard, Adama Barrow , is slugging it out with Yahaya Jameh backed by an   of no fewer than  eight opposition parties  clamoring for regime change. “He is not going to be re-elected - his era is finished,” Mr Barrow said on Thursday.
     
    However , reason cited for cutting communication into and out of the tiny West African nation of about 1.9 million people is to reduce the risk of civil unrest . Fears are that with communications intact , the unified opposition may cash in on it and  mobilize which outcome could lead to a possible breakdown of law and order. 

    The Independent further reports that, ''Human Rights Watch report released last month, activists said Mr Jammeh had used state resources and dominated state media to ensure a political advantage in the election, while authorities “threatened, arbitrarily arrested jailed, and tortured members of opposition political parties”.
     
    The report said that from April to November, more than 90 opposition activists were arrested for participating in peaceful protests, 30 of whom were sentenced to three-year prison terms. It added that two opposition activists have died in custody.
     
    Such activities had “all but extinguish[ed] hopes for a fair election,” said Babatunde Olugboji, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch.
     
    Mr Jammeh and the Gambian government - who did not respond to the Human Rights Watch report - have denied all similar allegations in the past.
     
    As the polls opened on Thursday, voters made their choice by placing marbles into green, silver or purple drums. The third option in the election was former ruling party deputy Mama Kandeh of the Gambia Democratic Congress, the only opposition party not in the coalition.
     
    The African Union has sent a handful of observers to the country, but not nearly enough to oversee a representative sample of stations from across the country. There were no observers present from the EU or the West African regional bloc ECOWAS. 
     
    The President remains the favourite to win, and has himself said that his victory is all but assured by divine intervention.
     
    “This will be the biggest landslide in the history of the country,” Mr Jammeh said after voting with his wife in the capital.
     
    He was met with cheers as he walked toward his car and refused to comment when asked whether he would concede in the event of defeat.
     
    Either way, he has vowed not to allow any protests when the result is announced. He described public demonstrations as “loopholes that are used to destabilise African governments”.
     
    Omar Amadou Jallow, leader of the coalition member the People's Progressive Party, said he believed the opposition could still win despite the clampdown. 
     
    “For 22 years we have realised that Gambia has been turned into a prison; the arrests, the tensions, the torture and many of our people have gone into exile ... That shows the tyranny of the regime," he told the Associated Press news agency. 
     
    “We are going to give people their freedoms, their liberties. That is more important than anything else.”
     
    But others still support the country’s long-time President, and said they cannot imagine an opposition victory. "He has built the airport, schools, medical facilities and buildings," said 50-year-old Pinta Manneh. She added: “He will be angry if he loses.”


    Read More
  • Gambia Election: Counting commences, results expected before midnight

    01/Dec/2016 // 2393 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 1, 2016: (DGW) VOTING  has reportedly closed in virtually all the polling stations which has been reportedly peaceful throughout the country. Reports reaching DailyGlobeWatch say that  there has not been  reported incidents of any breakdown of law and order.

    Results according to the Gambia electoral commission  are beginning to trickle in and other things being equal would be released earlier than the previous presidential elections in 2011.

    Reports further say that there is a presidential ban on post-election violence or demonstration throughout the country. Armed men are said to be deployed in strategic locations throughout the country. 

    The turnout , according to reports, was quite impressive by Gambia voters and counting of results have earnestly started. 

    We will give you details as results begin to trickle in. Stay connected,


    Read More
  • Gambia election Results: Unofficial results place Adama Barrow on an early lead

    01/Dec/2016 // 1304 Viewers

     

    PARIS, DECEMBER 1, 2016: (DGW) Unofficial results of the hotly contested presidential election between incumbent President Yahya Jammeh, Mamma Kandeh  , and Adama Barrow his co-contestants have begun to trickle in with Barrow reportedly on an early lead and maybe declared the winner.

    Certified results by collation officers  show a wide  marginal win by Adama Barrow. However, the country's electoral commission has the final official results which would be released  hopefully before midnight.

    Stay connected!


    Read More
  • Homosexuality not illegal in Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    01/Dec/2016 // 567 Viewers

     

    Monrovia – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Thursday made a very rare comment on homosexuality, saying that it was a matter of choice, and that it was not illegal to be a homosexual in Liberia.

    “Liberia has no law that restricts the rights of individuals to their own choices.

    Only when it is a threat to national security do we have a law that has restrictions. The freedom of choice is extended to all Liberians” - President Ellen Johnson- Sirleaf

    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf meets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Roberts International Airport early on Thursday

    No law legalizes or bans homosexuality in Liberia; however, it is still seen as a taboo in Liberia.

    Though homosexuals enjoy relative peaceful coexistence, they do so in seclusion, with efforts being made to disgrace them or even kill them in some quarters.

    “Liberia has no law that restricts the rights of individuals to their own choices,” she said in response to a Canadian journalist who asked what was her government doing to protect members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT).

    “Only when it is a threat to national security do we have a law that has restrictions,” she added.

    “The freedom of choice is extended to all Liberians.” 

    President Sirleaf’s comment sound different from her previous stance on gay right. She’s on record for saying during a press conference in 2012.

    “We like ourselves just the way we are."

    "We've got certain traditional values in our society that we would like to preserve."

    The visiting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was understandable that the rights of the LGBT community were met with different receptions, hailing President Sirleaf for protecting the rights of all Liberians.

    “The fact is countries have different paces of evolution in terms of recognizing and enshrining those rights (human rights and rights of the homosexual community), but we can see that there has been tremendous progress in many different areas,” Prime Minister Trudeau said.

    “I know that President Sirleaf has taken very strong and clear leadership on the issue of female genital mutilation. That is extremely important when you want to talk about women and girls full right and full opportunity to succeed.”

    H said he understood that “culture can be a challenge in pushing but doing the right thing is something that people shouldn’t shy from.”

    Prime Minister Trudeau announced a US$10 million investment in West Africa, with US$1 million towards Liberia’s presidential and representative elections in 2017 through UNDP and US$1.5 million towards the UN Global Acceleration Instrument on Women, Peace and Security, and Humanitarian Action.

    “Canada continues to be a substantive partner to development here in Liberia and we look forward to continuing to engage with that in the future,” he said.  

    President Sirleaf said the visit by Trudeau was sign that the Liberian-Canadian friendship was being strengthened following the Liberian civil war.   

    She said Liberia “has continued over the years to receive support from Canada through other means, through the multilateral agencies, was one of the countries that supported the three most affected countries in our Ebola difficulties.”

    She added that both nations share common value on certain things that enable them to collaborate through international bodies such as the United Nations.

    “We also enjoy the support through multilateral agencies supported by Canada such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank,” she said.  

    Elections and Women’s Rights

    Canada and Liberia have a very strong relationship, one that is made stronger by our shared belief that when women and girls are full participants in the social, economic and political lives of our two countries we will all succeed. The women played in bringing the civil war to an end and helping Liberia rebuild is an inspiration to the rest of the world.

    Prime Minister Trudeau said it women participated more in the democratic governance of countries.

    Minister Trudeau and President Sirleaf had a closed door discussion at her temporary offices at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which the Canadian head of government announced that both he and President Sirleaf had reaffirmed their commitment with forging ahead of their bilateral goals of advancing global peace and security, and advance women’s rights.

    First, Canada will increase support to the Global Acceleration Instrument for Women, Peace and Security, and Humanitarian Action, which works to expand the role that women are already playing in building and leading peace processes.

    “Second, we are trying to do more to support Liberia during next year’s elections through the United Nations Development Programme’s Trust Fund."

    "We are hopeful that this support will include a special emphasis on encouraging greater participation of women, both as voters and candidates.

    “Third, Canada will boost its support for the UN Women’s effort to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women in the region."

    "I am particularly, interested that more men and boys in can be encouraged to speak out in supporting the women and their families and their communities and help bring about an end to violence…,” he added.

    Prime Minister Trudeau added that the UNDP had the expertise to management the US$1 million for the Liberian elections and making sure that the elections are a success.



    Read More
  • Female Genital Mutilation: New Law in Gambia prescribes a 3-year jail term

    01/Jan/2016 // 549 Viewers

     

    BANJUL, JANUARY 1, 2016: (DGW)  A bill has been passed into law by the Gambian Parliament outlawing female circumcision otherwise known as Female Genital Mutilation, (FGM).

    Violation of the new law attracts a three-year jail term or a fine of fifty thousand US dollars, (50USD). Research conducted in the country showed that over 80% of Gambian women including young girls have suffered genital mutilation which informed President Yahya Jammeh's interest and desire to frown on the practice sometimes last year seeing that it has no place in modern society.

    Rights Groups in Gambia, DailyGlobeWatch understands, have campaigned vigorously against the dangerous, anti-social practice which probably led to the speedy passage of the bill in the parliament.

    The partial or full removal of the female genitalia, an antiquated tradition has been criminalized by no fewer than 20 countries in Africa and Gambia's proscription of the practice only swells the number.

     


    Read More
  • Finally, President Buhari sets up mediation team to resolve the Gambian logjam

    01/Jan/2017 // 6282 Viewers

     

    President Muhammadu Buhari has set up a Mediation Support Team to assist him in resolving the political impasse in Gambia. The MST, headed by Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, will work with the team of the co-mediator, President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana.

    Buhari and Mahama were mandated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to resolve the Gambian logjam.

    Their mediation was one of the outcomes of the just-concluded ECOWAS Summit held on December 17, 2016 in Abuja.

    The summit also listed the terms of reference to include ensuring the safety of the President-elect, Adama Barrow, the political leaders and the entire population; upholding the result of the Presidential election held on December 1, 2016 and ensuring that the President-elect is sworn into office on January 19, 2017, in conformity with the constitution of the country.

    The Onyeama MST has begun immediate consultations with leaders in the sub-region as well as with international partners, Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media said today.

    The main task of the Mediation Support Team is to undertake the first phase of the preparatory and support work that would lead to a high level meeting of the mediator, President Buhari, and the stakeholders.

    “Buhari remains optimistic that a peaceful resolution of the problem, in line with the laws and the constitution of The Gambia, is possible before the January 19, 2017 inauguration date of the new president”, Shehu said.


    Read More
  • Breaking: Gbagbo’s wife goes on trial for war crimes!

    01/June/2016 // 2218 Viewers

     

    (AP) Ivory Coast’s former first lady, Simone Gbagbo, went on trial on Tuesday, accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes for her alleged role in a civil war that followed a 2010 presidential election and killed around 3,000 people.

    The trial, the West African nation’s first for crimes against humanity, is being held in a domestic court after the government rejected her extradition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Reuters reported.

    It has already drawn criticism from Gbagbo’s supporters, who claimed it is politically motivated, as well as from rights groups, who accused the prosecution of rushing the investigation.

    Her husband, ex-president Laurent Gbagbo, is already before the ICC on charges linked to the brief conflict, which was sparked by his refusal to accept defeat to Alassane Ouattara in an election run-off.

    Flanked by policemen, Simone Gbagbo, a key figure in her husband’s regime, greeted several dozen cheering supporters gathered at the entrance of the court in the commercial capital Abidjan with waves and smiles.

    The prosecution said she was part of a small group of party officials from Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) that planned violence against Ouattara’s supporters to keep him out of power.

    “The FPI put in place a crisis cell in January 2011 that met at the presidential residence and constituted the organ charged with planning and organising the repression,” an indictment read in court stated.


    Read More
  • GAMBIA: Nationwide jubilation as President ADAMA BARROW reforms pay off, more world bodies pledge financial support to GAMBIA

    01/Mar/2017 // 3721 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MARCH 1, 2017: (DGW) MORE world bodies have continued to pledge financial support to The Gambia as President Adama Barrow's reforms beginnings to yield fruitful dividends, African News reports.

    In the latest display of magnanimity, the European Union has reportedly pledged an initial 75 million euros ($80 million) in aid to the government, two years after the suspension of aid resulting from alleged Human Rights abuses under former President Yahya Jammeh.

    The world bank had agreed to give the country a $60 million in budget support after government allegations that former president yahya Jammeh took tens of millions of dollars of public money.

    The latest of pledges is the African Development Bank AFDB managed Sustainable Fund for Africa SEFA of about $1million grant to the Republic.

    The amount is to implement a programme to facilitate private investment in Green Mini-grids through the creation of an enabling policy and serve as a direct support to project development and financing.

    Electricity access stands around 40% country-wide and 12% in rural areas, in the gambia and mostly powered by fossil fuel generation, which translates into one of the highest consumer tariffs in the region.

    The SEFA funded project is expected to support the preparation of appropriate policy and regulatory framework, develop technical standards and guidelines, carry out feasibility studies and structure a tender process to attract the most suitable investors.

    “At this time of transition, we are pleased about assisting The Gambia in attracting investments into clean energy mini-grids. These will be key to providing energy to all rural households and businesses, thus laying the foundations for sustainable economic development,” said Engedasew Negash Habtemichael, AfDB Renewable Energy Division Manager.

    SEFA was launched in 2012, it is a $95 million multi-donor facility by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy.


    Read More


CLICK TO WATCH BBC WORLD NEWS