OPINION: An Open Letter to Hon. Kebba K Barrow
Photo: Ebrima Janneh (EB)
My message to the Majority Leader of the National Assembly - Be the Majestic and Charming KKB Gunjur Knew
Like many politicians, Mr Kebba K Barrow alias KKB – Kombo South Member of Parliament and Majority Leader will be asking himself ‘did I do that’?
Mr KKB was once an approachable man, humble, a youth activist and fighter for the welfare of the people. How he quickly metamorphoses in to an irascible politician after being crowned to the golden throne of political elitism baffles me – indeed a remarkable volte-face. It is worth remembering that few months ago, the people of Gunjur divorced with their energy and hard earned money to support Mr Barrow to the position he comfortably occupied.
However, on Saturday 1st of July 2017 at a Gambia Radio and Television Services “GRTS” Face the Nation TV Show event staged at Gunjur Beach was an epic moment in KKB’s meteoric political career. Under the blistering heat of the Gambia, the Majority Leader imbued with suspense anger did not linger to spew tirades and threats to a young American based Gambian journalist per excellence - Sainey Darboe for expressing his opinion through an article published on @Gunjur – The Voice of Dabanani. The young journalist may proffer an allegation but you could have dealt with the substance of his contention than the threats you made. Need I remind you that democracy and freedom of speech you canvassed on, demands tolerance and it is not an easy system to institute.
Nevertheless, the Majority Leader scored another spectacular political own goal by vehemently going against the people of Gunjur for raising their voice to the environmental pollution taking place by Golden Lead Factory – a Chinese Fish Processing Company. This uncharacteristic frenetic tempo against the people of Gunjur was a mistake that should have not happened. It is certainly a mark of political misstep for KKB to ignore the environmental misery in to which the people of Gunjur are falling more over to attack them. His tantrum under the spotlight of the media was amateurish, unnecessary and may dilute his locus as a respected politician. Mr Barrow, I contend, betray our trust by openly siding with a foreign company that flouted the environmental laws of the country by blatantly polluting the environment. Cicero once proclaimed that, I quote:
“The most fatal error for any politician/statesman is to allow his fellow countrymen, even for an instant to suspect that he puts the interest of foreigners above those of his own people”.
The disquiet of the people of Gunjur against Golden Lead Factory is anchored not only on over fishing but polluting the environment by secretly discharging industrial waste into the sea before it was discovered by local environment activists.
The community is crying for your attention Honourable as their Member of Parliament because the Fish Meal Company you are supporting against them were interjecting waste into a nearby lagoon – “Bolong Fenyoto”. This lagoon crowded with fauna, flora and marine lives was a preserved ecological heaven before Golden Lead started pumping waste into it. This pollution resulted to the changing of the colour of the water to red, with algae caked all over the lagoon causing the death of crabs, fish, crocodiles etc.
Honourable, the people are scared of their health not only because of the discharging of waste in to the sea and in to the lagoon but of the pervading foul stench coming from the factory. The smell is unbearable to breathe and a direct hazard to our health. To cap it all,the fish suppliers are dumping fish that the company cannot buy into shallow water which washes away on to the coastline. The sight of dead juvenile fish is not only unbearably painful but very unhealthy when the fish rot. Neither Golden Lead nor the suppliers or anybody else is willing to take responsibility of the dead fish littering the coastline.
In the face of this catastrophic environmental exploitation, you cocooned yourself from the anguish of the people seeking solution/s to the impending environmental catastrophe. The leadership that is manifestly absent is where you should be and in the process salving the tension that germinates.
For you to wallow in a pool of tirades and chest heaving against the people calling for redress of this blatant mistake by the Golden Lead Factory is to choke independent and divergent views that did not align with your position. The once euphoric harmony that fermented the struggle to support your candidacy is now giving way to favouritism towards Golden Lead Company against your people and this is breeding disunity.
We surely do not want to emerge from dictatorship to breed the same mode of so-called strong men/women who will threaten the people, refusing to listen and/or to dignify them with tolerance, humility, integrity and respect.
Gunjur is imploding because the Golden Lead Company is pitting people against one another with the backing of our leaders. The issue at hand call for strong leadership not by muscles and body size but of character and courage to act truthfully without fear or favours.
I am imploring you to regress to the people of Gunjur, apologise for the tragicomedy at the beach few days ago and reason with them to amicably seek out a lasting solution to the dispute. Please, take off your boxing gloves and step outside the ring to seeking dialogue. Finally, show us the majestic and the indescribable charming KKB Gunjur knew. To Gunjur, you are not a Majority Leader but our brother, father, uncle, husband and a son.
Ebrima Janneh (EB)
Editor’s Note: The views expressed herein are the views of the Guest Writer and does not necessarily represent the views of @Gunjur – The Voice of Dabanani