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Darboe says Barrow is abusing power by targeting civil servants

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By Tabora Bojang

The leader of the United Democratic Party has accused President Adama Barrow of abusing his powers targeting and removing civil servants perceived to be opposition while his party militants continue to hold public positions and being paid from public funds to do politics for him.
Ousainu Darboe said these are hallmarks of dictatorship that Gambians fought against to install democratic rule.
During his meet the people tour last year, President Barrow vowed to go after “civil servants claiming to be politically neutral when they are in fact opposition supporters.”
Speaking on Kerr Fatou over the weekend, Darboe said these are similar tactics former president Yahya Jammeh used to target civil servants for simply choosing to abstain from his political machinery.
“The civil service must be isolated from partisan politics but President Barrow has no moral grounds to preach that. His political adviser, deputy political adviser, cyber security adviser and even his campaign manager Lamin Cham, are all paid by the government and they are daily politicking for the president and the NPP. Yahya Jammeh with all his downsides never did such; yes he at some extent involved permanent secretaries into politics but they operated secretly and that is why I said Barrow is a dictator. He stood here and vowed to rearrest certain people even if they are bailed by the courts. These are serious dictatorial tendencies. He has to reorganise himself and remove this dirt around him, if not he will end up worse than Jammeh. Dictators do not only kill and jail people but also put them in a state of fear. My sister was a teacher in the civil service, does the president expect her to go against me? So they removed her. Jammeh tried [to remove her] when Ann Therese Ndong-Jatta was the education minister but I firmly stood against it and they did not remove her. People lost their jobs because they perceived them to be opposition. I know of people who were denied public contracts because they were considered opposition and those contracts ended up being awarded to Senegalese. It would have even been better if they were awarded to Gambians. Civil servants should not be involved in politics during their official functions but outside of official work, they have the right to associate with any group, after all that is what we fought for in this country that is why he [Barrow] was elected,” Darboe added.

Anti-corruption bill
The opposition leader welcomed the recent passing of the anti-corruption bill which is hoped to stem the wave of corruption in the country.
He described corruption as an enemy of progress and development which also breeds rebellion.
“I commend the National Assembly for passing the law and we wait and see whether the executive will be sincere to implement it. They must have the will to apply the law to the letter and ensure that the commissioners that are going to be appointed are persons of impeccable character, who are honest, principled and uncorrupt and they should be allowed to enjoy complete independence.”

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Draft constitution
Responding to the government’s plan to table the draft constitution for a referendum this year, the opposition leader said his party’s position on the draft remains that it should be introduced unchanged.
He said the only persons who have authority to alter or remove any clause from the draft are lawmakers and anything other than that means there will not likely be any referendum. “We cannot have a few people sit and change the constitution based on their preferences,” he stated.

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