By: Kebba AF Touray
Suwaibou Touray, the Wuli East National Assembly Member in his contribution to the adjournment debate on Tuesday April 2nd 2019, reminded members that in 2017, he made a suggestion to the then Minister of Interior, to engage the Government of the sister Republic of Senegal, to discuss issue of fundamental importance on border security, as cross border crimes are intensifying, with people losing their lives and properties.
He asserted that collaborators in Gambia facilitate rustlers from Senegal to rustle their animals in The Gambia.
Touray told his fellow Deputies that there was a recent armed attack in Darsilameh, Sandu and Macca Masireh in his Constituency and in each of these attacks, lives were lost. Touray said in Jiddah Kantora, lives were lost in one of the attacks in that village and that cross-border crimes in terms of cattle rustling and stealing of small ruminants, happen on a daily basis. He narrated how a lone gunman was arrested by members of the community and handed over to the Fatoto Police, at one stage.
Touray said in 2017 alone, over sixteen horses were stolen in Sutukonding in Wuli West and taken to Senegal, adding that their owners saw these horses in Senegal but were unable to retrieve them and they ended up paying ransoms to the criminals just to get back their animals.
He therefore called on Government to engage the sister Republic of Senegal, in order to agree on some form of cooperation, to secure our common border.
“I’m not saying that it’s the Senegalese nationals who are engaged in this criminal activity. I know some Gambians who connive with people in Senegal to rustle cattle, goats and sheep across the border,” Touray said. He opined that many women are weary to engage in the fattening programme because of the fear that they may spend a lot of effort building up their animal farm, just to lose it in one night.
“When a lot of logs were coming from Senegal through the border, they engaged us. So, we should also engage them so that we will be able to minimize this theft of our animals across our common border,’’ Touray asserted.
On Land Disputes:
Touray said they all have to speak on the land crisis and land disputes that are widespread in the country. He said both Government and NAMs are talking about building strong institutions but that these institutions should serve the purpose for which they were established. He said that one of such institutions should be the Judiciary. He opined that a strengthened judiciary and the expedition of cases would minimize land disputes.
The Wuli East Member also reminded his colleagues that the Minister of Finance said in his 2019 budget speech that sellers of land will have to pay capital gains tax and that Alkalolu will not transfer land unless capital gains tax is paid; that Alkalolu will be empowered to help them ensure that everything is properly documented and that this will halt the problem of one person selling the same plot to two or more persons. “I do not know how far the idea has gone with the Minister,’ he asked.
On the Alkaloship Crisis in the country:
Touray said Alkaloship crisis is everywhere. He said he had the belief that immediately after the change of Government, the Law would have been regulated but that the problems still persist. He argued that the same policy that was here is the same policy that the new Government has adopted, that is, to dismiss and replace people in positions of responsibility, while communities do not have a say as to who becomes their leader, yet we continue to talk of building democratic institutions. He asserted that we need to think about this seriously.
On the Foday Kunda Minor Health Facility:
Touray said since 2017, he has raised the issue of the laboratory at Foday Kunda Minor Health Center which does not have a lab technician, a problem which he said still persists.
‘‘Between Foday Kunda and Basse is 50 kilometers. But pregnant women are forced to leave Foday Kunda for Basse, for lab tests, and because of the distance and difficulties encountered, many women decline completing the tests which can be very dangerous and life threatening, at a time when we are talking about reducing maternal mortality rate. If the right things are not put in the right places, we will not be able achieve anything. Everything will just be cosmetically done,” Hon. Touray told his colleagues.
On the issue of ID Cards:
On the issue of ID cards, Touray said he raised a supplementary question to the Minister of the Interior, relating to decentralization in the issuance of ID cards; but that the answer from the Minister was that they will do this piecemeal. However Touray argued that a piecemeal approach in solving such issues is not the right solution, noting that before giving a contract to any Company to make and provide national documents, it is better to look into all the issues that concern the prime stakeholders who are the people, and to ensure that such a Company has the capacity to put in place all the modalities to do the job. He said so many people are coming from the URR just to acquire their ID cards. He said the URR is far and transportation cost is expensive. He called for decentralization in the issuance of all national documents that the citizenry needs to acquire. Touray said it is unfair for people to pay D600 as return fare from Wuli East and at the same time pay D450 dalasi, just to get their national document. He said the same goes for the passport. Touray told his colleagues that this must stop because it is unfair.
He finally asked when the ID card issuance team will reach the rest of the country.