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OPINION: The Gambia is still struggling at 58
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OPINION: The Gambia is still struggling at 58

On this day 58 years ago, the Gambia attained her political Freedom. Independence we call it, to be free from outside influence, control and to be a self-dependent and governance.

58 years since the independence struggle, since the national anthem was coined and sung for the first time. 58 years since the national flag was raised and 58 years since subjective freedom was earned.

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane, let's take a deep dive into the ocean of facts, and familiarise ourselves with some fun facts, recognize some miseries and confront some tragic realities. Let's turn pages of the history book and face the painful truth together. Because the bottom line is, there is no freedom, no independence and most definitely no self-governance. 58 years of deception, political discrimination and tribal dissection. 58 years of subjugation to foreign ideas, cultures, influences and which led to the deterioration in our moral values.

58 years of hunger, anger and poverty. 58 years of social injustice, corruption, nepotism and stealing. Literally, 58 years of absolute loss, no direction, demotivation and Economic stagnation. 58 years later, we’re still begging, borrowing and accumulating debts. 58 years of sovereignty, still our biggest sources of funds are grants and loans.

58 years of unreliable and inactive national security, poor documentation, data and information management, Sleeping Arm forces and inadequate security agencies. 58 years later, the lives of Gambian citizens and their properties still exposed to great danger.

58 years of no active industry, poor infrastructure, no economic structure, and crippled Agricultural sector. 58 years later, our farmers are still struggling, no support system, price of fertiliser unaffordable, farm labour and management excruciating and in the end, farmers are forced to sell their harvest to human predators and neighbouring Senegal at a give-away price because there is no other alternative. The Gambia is starving and her children are dying.

58 years later, our educational sector is still retarded. The value of education persistently falls, together with our morale towards learning. The number of students qualified for university entry declines yearly. Failed high school students are left on the streets, as confused ghetto youths indulge in despicable actions out of desperation.

58 years, there is still no productive sector, no sophisticated or developed industry, or long-term plan that can alter and improve our current condition and address our most pressing needs. 58 years of unsolved issues, un-tackle obstacles and unimplemented policies. 58 years and still the Gambia is like an infant who is still vulnerable.

58 years of backward health sector, unacceptable mortality rate, especially in the labour rooms. No standard facilities to combat this affliction, no standard lap to test foreign drug and medications before approving them for public consumption. 58 years later, the Gambia is but a lab-rat to drug manufacturers, to test their new discoveries and developed drugs.

58 years and still no land regulation or management policy, worthless Physical Planning Department. 58 years of depressing tax system, compromised tax policies, as collectors and their families live as royalties while taxpayers weep in despair, struggling to make ends meet. 58 years, still the benefits of collected taxes remain unseen.

58 years of no improvement, staggering unemployment and prevailing underdevelopment. 58 years of broken promises, disappointments, lost, longing and wondering what we have done wrong. 58 years of wishing, but wishing does not make a poor man rich, a weak man strong or a coward brave. 58 years of trials and errors and absolute failure.

58 years of incompetence, poor governance, and national frustration. 58 years no innovation, no transformation and poor transportation. From democracy to dictatorship, to democracy again and still the same results, which is actually no result at all.

58 years and the Gambia is still where she had started, and uneducated about her priorities and this is what we called independence.

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