By Amadou Jadama
The leader of the opposition Gambia For All party has revealed that six years after the ouster of Yahya Jammeh, the Barrow administration has not shown any serious inclination to make a break with the incompetent and corrupt past.
Bakary Bunja Dabo made these observations over the weekend while addressing his party delegates at their national congress held at the Friendship Hotel in Bakau.
Mr Dabo said: “All too often, what is manifested is the tendency to continue the same old discredited governance practices, including the onerous burden placed on meagre public resources by the very costly and ostentatious life style adopted for the state.
“In light of the well-known budgetary constraints, the level of emoluments and other benefits fixed for those falling within the leadership brackets, excessive costs of travels at home and abroad by senior officials including bloated accompanying delegations and resort to chartered commercial aircraft are all wasteful practices suggestive of a leadership that puts self above the needs of the people. Again, they are lifted straight from the Jammeh administration’s handbook,” Dabo added.
Dabo, a vice president and minister of finance in the first republic, cited the Semlex contract, the theft of fertilizer at government depots in Soma and Kerewan, the mysterious gift of vehicles to National Assembly Members, reports of missing cash and products at the fuel depot in Mandinaring, the issuance of fishing licences, the mismanagement of Covid funds as scandals that have besmirched the reputation of the government.
“I refer to mushrooming reports of the mass backdoor grant of Gambian citizenship to aliens and their conscription to make them vote in our elections. Given the grave implications of such allegations, if founded, a serious government would have lost no time in instituting an independent judicial investigation into the reports. But not the Barrow government whose standard position in the face of uncomfortable reports is to pay scant heed in the hope that they go away,” Dabo, a French scholar and lawyer stated.
“Why such an attitude?” he rhetorically asked. “Some put it down to insensitivity to public feelings. Others conclude, perhaps more realistically, that the authorities, including at the highest levels, simply lack the will to confront corruption and illegality in the government. All too often, reports are either ignored altogether or only half-heartedly investigated by the ubiquitous ‘Barrow Task Forces’ just to prepare the ground for sweeping them under the carpet,” he alleged.
The GFA leader called on his party supporters to continue to be law-abiding and rally behind the party.
Meanwhile, no election was conducted as all the position holders were returned unopposed.