Mr. President,

The press being the fourth estate of any country is an important component in any democracy.  In all truly democratic countries, there are certain media houses and journalists that are no spin zones and our BBC Hard Talk of the Gambia is the online media. Like it or not, it’s a reality that ex-president Jammeh will confirm. The online media brought him down.

Mr. President I did listen to interviews from two of your cabinet ministers that brilliantly faced the freedom newspaper platform because I guess they have nothing to hide from the general public in their ministries. They are Hon Ba Tambedou and Hon D A Jawo. We say big thumps up to them and commend them to continue availing themselves to the general public to clear the air.

Mr. President journalism is not a baby-sitting platform where the interviewee expects to hear praises or answer to irrelevant questions that are not of concerns to the general public. As such any of your cabinet ministers who refuse to engage the media are not doing justice to your government and the taxpayers whom they are appointed to serve.

Mr. President, it is more than high time to encourage other cabinet ministers to engage the press as often as possible on questions concerning their ministries.

Many of your ministers are not reachable by the press making the media oblige to write their stories because they cannot get hold on to the other side of the story.

As a matter of fact, as long as communications lines are not open to the media, rumormongering will not stop. The people online and in social media that peddle rumors will never stop spreading false information knowing that the truth will not surface in the media houses because most government ministers are not press friendly and prefer to leave people in the dark. This is not fair to the general public who pays their salaries.

Mr. President, whether we like it or not, the online media has millions of listeners and readers worldwide and is relied upon by foreign governments, NGO’s, International institutions and other reputable news outlets such as VOA and BBC for information that are not available in the local press for obvious reasons.

Therefore neglecting to answer the calls of these media outlets will only compound suspicions and promotes bad governance feelings. The press online is million times more powerful than the local print press and the Internet has already changed the world of communication. Please take note.

Mr. President after emphasizing the above advice on government media relationship, I now wish to disagree with Hon Ba Tambedou when he said the main purpose of the upcoming bill on the age limit is an urgent call for recruiting over aged Gambian Lawyers as Supreme Court Judges while all other age limitations in the constitution will piggyback on board this upcoming bill. Minister Ba Tambedou proved he is a novice in the political dribbling games. Lol! He said it might take two more years for other amendment laws to be presented to parliament. Really!

Only GOD knows if that will ever happen.

Mr. President, you are now facing a serious situation of mistrust between your priorities and the general public priorities. Many Gambians are fearful that once the age limit law is passed, government will relax on other law reforms as political promises are never taken for granted. Power is sweet they said.

To cut a long story short Mr. President why not appoint Ba Tambedou as your first Vice President since he is within the age limitations. This move will certainly allay our fears and the general perception that you are only interested in giving the VP post to one person who unfortunately is constitutionally over aged.

Let me make crystal clear Mr. President, I have never seen or spoke to Ba Tambedou in my life for me to advance this proposal. I am no praise singer of any human being in this world. I praise only Allah.  Although, I know his late father Alh Marie Tambadou of blessed memory very well a highly respected Muslim elder and an honest businessman. When listening to Hon Ba Tambedou, one is confident that the gentleman is clean, professional and trustworthy. Why not appoint him as your first VP until all other bad laws are changed in our constitution once and for all and thereafter appoint the person you personally wish as your next VP. You can appoint as many VP as you want during your mandate then why this fixation on one person only?

Taking this bold move will bring back the lost confidence on you and will close this dark chapter that affects your credibility once and for all. By so doing, your government will enter the good books of the majority the Gambian population and the International community who equally raised eyebrows on the VP issue.

Mr. President trust is earned and you must show impartiality to earn it.

Thank you.

Written by Pa Njie Girigara.

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