31.2 C
City of Banjul
Saturday, May 25, 2024

After the OIC Banjul Summit: The fate of OIC vehicles

- Advertisement -

and the need for transparency and accountability

As the curtains close on the OIC Banjul Summit, Gambia finds itself grappling not only with the aftermath of a poorly attended and organized event but also with pressing questions about the fate of millions of dalasis worth of vehicles procured for the summit. The citizens of this nation, instead of focusing solely on the summit’s failures, must demand answers regarding the use and allocation of these resources.

The acquisition of over 90 vehicles worth of millions of dalasis, particularly fuel-heavy cars, raises significant concerns amidst rising fuel prices and the strain this places on the country’s already limited resources. While the focus might initially be on which government departments or officials will receive these vehicles, the larger issue pertains to the ongoing costs associated with their maintenance and fuel consumption.

- Advertisement -

The timing of these acquisitions couldn’t be more challenging, given the global surge in fuel prices. The burden of fuel allocations and vehicle maintenance will undoubtedly add to the strain on Gambia’s financial resources. Therefore, it is imperative that the government not only clarifies the allocation process but also devises a sustainable plan to manage the ongoing expenses tied to these vehicles.

Moreover, recent allegations of corruption surrounding OIC funds, including misappropriation, nepotism in employment, and delays in project execution, have eroded public trust. To restore accountability, an immediate and comprehensive independent audit of the OIC Secretariat’s finances must be initiated. This audit should meticulously account for every dalasi spent, ensuring transparency and addressing concerns of financial mismanagement. The results of this audit report should be made Public.

In light of the escalating costs associated with maintaining the summit’s fleet, it is advisable for the government to consider public auctioning these vehicles. This approach would not only generate revenue but also allow for a more cost-effective procurement of vehicles, especially for essential sectors like law enforcement.

- Advertisement -

Failure to promptly address these issues risks perpetuating corruption and cronyism, potentially leading to the misuse of these vehicles for personal gain or political advantage. Transparently auctioning off these assets through public channels—announced widely on radio and in newspapers—will safeguard against such abuses and demonstrate a commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Ultimately, the citizens of Gambia deserve clarity and accountability regarding the handling of public funds, especially in the wake of such a significant international event. By prioritizing transparency and prudent financial management, the government can foster trust and ensure that resources are allocated judiciously for the benefit of all Gambians.

Matida Jallow

Old man musing

Today and as usual, we continue to  pay a well overdue homage and a glowing tribute to our beloved country, The Gambia and her loving peoples, who, albeit poor are good all the same.

Together and over the years, we have had many ups and downs but, the unbreakable spirit of the Gambian people has always endured.

We would therefore like to express our deeply felt emotions towards you, our country and our peoples as well as express our genuine and fervent hopes for a brighter, a more prosperous and a continued meaningful future, as we firmly pledge to remain united in our diversity which, truly, is our strength and our pride.

Indeed, our beloved Gambia, you continue to also make us proud and in so many other ways.

A case in point is that you have just successfully hosted the 15th Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), dubbed the Banjul Session of the Islamic Summit Conference (4-5 May 2024).

The Islamic Conference is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations which is the “world body”.

Indeed, no matter where we land in the world, even in non-English speaking countries, as soon as we mention that we are from The Gambia, people’s eyes light up and they would thus always exclaim “Gambia! Oh, we love Gambia”.

Our love, therefore, for you and our identity as proud, strong sons and daughters of the soil will continue to supersede any other elements of our view of self.

The mere sight of your flag when we least expect it, for instance, fills our eyes with tears and our hearts with longing for you.

Whenever we hear the Wollof sabarr/mbalax or Mandinka seweruba or Jola bukarabu or Fula ree-tee music, (the heartbeats of our people), as we continue to live abroad in the diaspora, indeed the very core of our persons would start to rejoice in jocund jubilation.

Whenever we return home, on our visits, we feel more like ourselves than anywhere else.

The warmth and resilience of our Gambian people are always a joy, nay a blessing to experience.

O, our beloved Gambia, as you continue to grow and mature as a modern and respectable democracy, we do hope and pray that you would also start to seriously re-examine some of those old but outdated and harmful “truths” that you held onto as a young nation.

Some of them stem from mere tribal bigotry, religious fanaticism etc etc.

You see, our beloved Gambia, stereotypes and extremism would only isolate you from other areas of the world and even from other Gambians, whether at home or abroad.

Remember the words of our National Anthem “That all may live in unity, freedom and peace each day

And join our diverse peoples

To prove man’s brotherhood ……….”

What that means is that we must acknowledge and accept our ethnic or cultural diversities and the different religious persuasions of ALL our citizens.

Even for those of your children, if any, who do not necessarily identify with ANY systems of the major faiths at all.

May we therefore hold our own beliefs close while allowing others to differ from us without undue acrimony and conflict which have no place in any civilized society, not to say in our earthly world of today.

Let us then remember that we all share the land of our Gambia as one “house”.

Let us put aside the unnecessary points of disagreement and unite for the betterment of all.

We can promote a more just, equitable and tolerant society, only if we try to do so, steadfastly, honestly, earnestly but also sincerely.

We can pull together like we have always done in our past because the spirit of what it means to be a Gambian is to be confident in our ability to do whatever we set our collective minds to do.

Lastly, as anyone who truly loves another knows, sometimes the most loving but also most important thing that one can do is to be truthful or honest with oneself and also with one another.

We ALL usually say we are Gambian first and therefore whatever other category must therefore also be second.

As such, we have always tried to remain so because of our deeply-rooted love for our dear Gambia, the smiling (not the grieving) coast and also because of our sincerity towards our own peoples, nay our own selves.

May God continue to bless you, our beloved country, the Gambia and its peoples.

Let the reader, please, understand!

Hassan Gibril

Join The Conversation
- Advertisment -spot_img
- Advertisment -spot_img