Baba Trawally, head of the Gambia Ahmadiyya Jaamat

The Government of the Gambia Thursday approved an application made by the country’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat for a television licence.

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Vice President Fatoumata Tambajang. During the meeting, ministers considered recommendation by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure to issue a content service provider (TV) licence for Muslim Television Ahmadiyya.

The decision to give TV licence to the Ahmadis is likely to anger senior clerics of  the country’s Supreme Islamic Council, who regards Ahmadis as non-Muslims.

The clerics have used their Friday sermons to campaigned against a television station for the Ahmadis, which they said would be used as a “propaganda tool to adulterate the minds” of the Islamic community.

One prominent Gambian Islamic scholar, Imam Ratib Muhammad Al Amin Drammeh of Serrekunda has warned the government against granting a TV licence to the Ahmadis as they are not Muslims.

“The Ahmadis have to stop making false claims about their true identity. They cannot apply a TV license on the basis they are Muslims,” the imam told the Associated Press News Agency.

Meanwhile, ministers have also approved the ratification of the 1994 Agreement for the Implementation of Part XI of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.  By becoming a party, the Gambia would join 150 countries that would have a say in the authorisation of seabed exploration and mining.

A tax exemption was also approved for the construction and installation of 25 solar powered water supply systems in the five administrative regions of the country.  The US$3.4 million project is part of an MOU signed between the Government of the Gambia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April 2017 as part of the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources drive to providing potable water.

In a bid to curb inappropriate management of fishing practices which continue to endanger ecosystems, fish habitats and further diminish economic returns, cabinet endorsed the decision of the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources to acquire two fisheries inspection vessels.

Cabinet also discussed and approved for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs to consider an offer of a price of 240,000 Euros by the West Africa Aero Services Sarl for two small airplanes belonging to the government of The Gambia.