Africa-Press – Gambia. These families legally acquired their lands from Social Security and Housing Finance (SSHF). Demolishing their compounds at a time when the rainy season is almost finished is a total miscalculation. In fact, before they even embark on this demolition exercise, the physical planning department should have worked with the SSHF in ensuring that the affected families are provided with shelters first. That’s how it should have been. You can’t demolish my compound and ask me to go on the streets like that with my entire family after injecting my entire savings on that particular compound for building.
Mr. President, we should not compromise the truth in this very circumstance. The Department of Physical Planning and Housing should indeed be blamed for this disaster. In fact, why approve building plans and later come demolishing them? This is frustrating and is a total waste of resources. Therefore, the only thing the government should urgently do is to compensate people affected by the unfortunate scenario.
On the other hand, Estate developers should also not proceed unless all requirements are fulfilled. Wherever they are developing, they should ensure that there are good roads, electricity, water supplies, drainage system, markets, car parks and playing grounds among other social amenities. They should make sure that they obtain building permits from the relevant government institutions.
Mr. President, the Physical Planning, NRA, NAWEC, Housing Unit of the Ministry of Local Government and Lands should convene stakeholders meeting and come up with a regulatory framework for residential and commercial purposes. This would enhance urban development and would equally address all these problems of lands we encounter.
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 move and this should be supported by all African governments and heads of states. African leaders changing countries’ constitution for political expediency is the reason we experience countless coups. Therefore, unless we respect the will of our people and our respective constitution, there are high tendencies that this trend would likely continue. What is even so annoying is the fact that the regional bloc ECOWAS and A.U. will keep mute and will not condemn African leaders when they are changing their constitution just for their own interest. In fact, during the process of changing their constitution in order for them to go for another mandate, many people die as a result of protest among others.
Therefore, there should be a clause in the planned bill of the two term limits and all presidents should sign this bill when it is done. Our African leaders should understand that life after presidency is indeed very good especially when that particular president worked towards the wishes and aspirations of his or her people. Again, there are a lot of benefits included in the retirement package; hence this should be enough for them and their family.
Mr. President, the only problem many African leaders are having is they are reluctant to relinquish power because they fear after retirement that they will be prosecuted. Well, the truth is, if any African leader does anything that should warrant his prosecution, the person should indeed be prosecuted. No one should rule a country with dictatorship, harassing and killing his or her people just to stay in power.
Mr. President another important issue which should be a priority for your government is to ensure that the media in the country is giving subvention like many other African countries are doing. At the moment Publishers of newspapers are struggling to survive in the market because government departments and ministries fail to settle their bills of advertisements and subscriptions especially on time. Sometimes it takes 3 to 6 months before newspapers are paid. The media, especially the newspapers find it difficult to survive if government departments do not pay and on time.
A solution should be found for the survival of newspapers if not publishers would be out of business. Printing materials are on the high side because of the freight cost and the foreign currency. Media and government are partners in development.
Finally, Mr. President, some African governments like Senegal, Gabon and Ivory Coast do give subvention and also subsidise the media which is playing a pivotal role in our democracy. The ministry of Finance and Information officials should therefore ensure that they find a final solution in order for the media to be paid. It’s through the little resources that we gain, we also pay our staff and settle other needs. Good day!