By Omar Bah
Straight-talking lands and regional government minister Lamin Dibba, has warned area councils against using taxpayers money to fund party political activities
Speaking at the Brikama Area Council Wednesday, Dibba said area councils are not allowed to use tax-payers money to bankroll political parties and admonished “all current and incoming councillors” to take this as a fiat.
He said the Barrow administration will not use area councils to siphon money.
“Area councils will not become political institutions anymore. If any political party cannot sponsor itself, then it can go home. This is why we are saying the alkalolu would no more be political party alkalolu as it used to be APRC alkalolu, APRC chiefs and APRC governors… the list goes on. Those days are gone,” he said.
He said councils have been given their independence and freedom. “Bear in mind you are accountable to the people and when things go wrong, there will be no excuse to say that it is because of political commitments or because of political pressure you have spent taxpayers money on A or B. We want to treat every Gambian the same.”
The civil service and area council, he added, were used to dictation. “But that has come to an end by the decision of the Gambian people. [But we should know that] change is disturbing and we should be ready for it.”
Minister Dibba said the development of the country should be everybody’s business.
“We are equal in this country and we all have responsibilities to make this country great again. But to be ready for the change, we must change our attitudes. We have to realise that this is our Gambia and nobody is coming here to develop the country for us,” he intimated.
On the vexed question of whether President Barrow will serve three or five years, Minister Dibba said: “I am not sure about the three year transition, that was a gentleman agreement, but the constitution said five years and although I am not a legal person I know the Constitution is the supreme instrument and if it differs with any law, the Constitution stands. So if it is five years, let us work towards five years and not three years. We would try our best to fulfill what is expected of us. Some of the problems existed since the first regime and what other governments could not achieve in 53 years, let us not fool ourselves we cannot do it in three years,” he concluded.