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Sunday, July 21, 2024

A case of bait and switch?

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Dear Editor,

The Voice newspaper reported in its 4th July edition that the Speaker of the National Assembly and APRC (FTJ faction) leader Fabakary Tombong Jatta spoke at a gathering in Foñi urging unity of the divided APRC party. It would be for a “good reason” he explained. The good reason being APRC unity would somehow end the injustice forced on their suffering, exiled leader Yahya Jammeh and lead to his freedom. This comes after reports about talk within the APRC Babili Mansa faction to join with the APRC FTJ faction, possibly at the urging of APRC’s homesick leader. And all this is taking place soon after President Barrow’s re-election.

Where does this leave The Gambia’s president, who seems to have sacrificed what’s left of his ethics on the altar of political power? Sure, he was shrewd enough to win re-election with a large majority after schmoozing with the APRC FTJ faction. But the cost of doing so was his rewarding the babbling “mere allegations” Jammehites and Jammehistas with spots at his regime’s feeding trough, much to the dismay of many Gambians. His party’s underwhelming performance in the recent elections could be an expression of that dismay.

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Bait and switch is an ancient trickery scheme, much like the ancient Greek Trojan Horse story. Was the APRC FTJ faction’s support the ‘bait’? And in process now is the ‘switch’ – a surprise move to a united APRC with a single-minded purpose. The president might be dreaming that history will judge him favourably because he has pursued reconciliation – a noble achievement indeed. But that requires the APRC first admit the reality that Jammeh is a thief and murderer. That has not happened, and is unlikely to happen given the APRC mindset. It is as if the APRC is infected with an antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Once the switch takes place, Gambians face a regime indebted to an unremorseful, widely despised political party intent on freeing Jammeh. A party whose local leader is in charge of The Gambia’s law-making process and in the queue to the presidency. Lord have mercy! Over and out.

Amet Ngallan

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Government buying vehicles for NAMs shouldn’t happen in a democracy

Dear Editor,

The NAMs should be paid in salaries and expenses deemed reasonable enough for their title and job description. The government cannot buy vehicles for NAMs in any other democratic set-up. It’s a fundamental breach of the principles of democracy, that is, conflict of interest.

The NAMs are supposed to hold the government accountable and it therefore sits uncomfortable with the standards of democracy that the government buys vehicles for NAMs in The Gambia.

The very idea of the government buying cars for NAMs is tasteless but everything about democratic politics practices in The Gambia is bonkers.

The state through the government (an independent body) should have been set up to advise the government on the salaries and expenses of the NAMs including travel expenses. A car or an aeroplane, it’s up to the NAMs and the body set up to come up with the recommendations for the salaries and expenses of the NAMs.

It’s not for the government to buy cars for NAMs in a democracy. It’s the state that should allocate reasonable salaries and other expenses for the NAMs through a body set up to look into the salaries and other expenses of NAMs.

Familiarity with the values and conventions of democracy as a representative political governance system is a problem.

Democracy as a representative political governance system is an ongoing working process that learns, adapts and strives to get better, more sensible and intelligent.

Gambian democracy could do with a little bit of common sense from the governors of the country – from the government, NAMs, the judiciary, the civil service, the media and civil society groups.

Some of the things that are said and done in the democratic political governance of The Gambia are embarrassing.

And the awful democratic political governance standards in The Gambia are being made worse by the government not caring to learn and get better.

The opposition is just a bystander in the bastardisation of democratic politics standards in The Gambia and its very frustrating!

How can a government buy vehicles for NAMs in a democracy? The NAMs have to be reminded that they are elected to serve the people and not themselves. If the NAMs needed better salaries and vehicles, what about their constituents?

Yusupha ‘Major’ Bojang

Scotland, UK

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