GAP Leader Demands Examination and Overhaul of Foreign Ministry Policies

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Musa Ousainou Yali Batchilly, the Secretary-General and Party Leader of the Gambia Action Party

By: Alieu Ceesay

Musa Ousainou Yali Batchilly, the Secretary-General and Party Leader of the Gambia Action Party (GAP), was seated at his desk, a pen poised in hand, his mind burdened with concerns over his nation’s foreign affairs. Resolute in his intent to drive change, he composed a letter to President Adama Barrow voicing grave concerns regarding the activities and behavior of Foreign Minister Dr. Mamadou Tangara. The situation was critical, and Batchilly’s letter represented a decisive call to action.

“It is important for the President to scrutinize Dr. Tangara’s actions closely,” Batchilly wrote. He highlighted Dr. Tangara’s past associations with former President Yahya Jammeh’s regime, which had ended in failure. “Following Jammeh’s fall from power, Dr. Tangara distanced himself from the former leader, which raises questions about his loyalty and consistency.”

Batchilly’s letter went beyond historical associations, pointing out tangible issues affecting the nation’s progress. “There have been concerns about delays in the progress of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) initiatives under Dr. Tangara’s watch,” Batchilly noted. He stressed that these delays were not just bureaucratic setbacks but significant hindrances to The Gambia’s development and international standing.

As the Chairman of the OIC, President Barrow has a vested interest in ensuring the success of these initiatives. “To achieve this, it is recommended that President Barrow brings competent and knowledgeable advisors to support the OIC-related policies and strategies,” Batchilly advised. “Having a team of well-versed individuals around him will enhance decision-making processes and contribute to the successful execution of the OIC mandate.”

Batchilly’s concerns also extended to recent policy changes by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that directly impacted Gambian citizens. “I am profoundly concerned and disappointed regarding the recent decision by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to introduce fees for documentation stamps, which were previously provided free of charge,” Batchilly lamented. This policy shift, he argued, was a departure from the equitable practices upheld by past administrations.

“For decades, the policy of providing free documentation stamps has been a hallmark of our nation’s commitment to ensuring that all citizens have unobstructed access to necessary governmental services,” Batchilly asserted. He warned that the introduction of fees would create “an undue financial burden on the citizens, particularly those who are already struggling with economic challenges.”

Batchilly urged a reconsideration of this policy. “This policy change undermines the progressive values that The Gambia has long upheld. It sends a message that financial constraints should dictate one’s ability to engage with their government and access necessary documentation,” he argued. He appealed directly to Dr. Tangara to restore the provision of free documentation stamps, emphasizing that “the long-term benefits of maintaining free access far outweigh any short-term financial gains.”

In closing, Batchilly called for swift action to rectify these issues, urging President Barrow and Dr. Tangara to reaffirm their commitment to equitable access and integrity in governance. “Ensuring that all Gambians can access essential services without financial barriers is a vital step towards maintaining the integrity and inclusivity of our nation’s governance,” he concluded.

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