The Gambia-born, US-based businessman who financed the bloody failed December 2014 armed attack on the Jammeh government has asked Ousainu Darboe, the vice president, to resign from the government to save his credibility. In a letter released from his Austin, Texas base on Friday, Cherno Njie alleged that the Barrow presidency is fraught with corruption and misplaced priorities and that they will not lessen. He contended: “We have seen enough to know that President Barrow represents infinitely more peril than promise to the Gambian political culture and national well-being. By serving dutifully, the vice president becomes inextricably linked to that legacy. If we are to believe that his positions are at odds with the president’s priorities, chief among which is to elevate his reelection above all national concerns, and he cannot in good conscience serve the president’s agenda, he should do the honourable thing and make a clean break now.” Njie suggested that Darboe, who heads the majority party in the parliament, should resign. “This is the strongest rebuke he has at his disposal. But, are the perquisites of power too great to give up?” he asked cynically. Njie said “the recent shenanigans” surrounding the passing of the 2018 Supplementary Appropriation Bill (SAB 2018) and the contents of the 2019 budget, confirmed his “worst fears about the erosion of democratic accountability” in The Gambia. He argued: “While attention has focused on the late-night parliamentary manoeuvres and the credible questions raised about the legality of SAB 2018, the real questions continue to be the unknown or unstated position of UDP, the dominant party in the National Assembly, and that of Vice President Darboe. The vice president is not an ordinary cabinet member, for he occupies a position of influence in the executive branch, and, as head of the UDP, influence in the legislative branch as well. The UDP’s dominance ensures that no legislation is enacted without the support of its members. The division within its ranks in the National Assembly concerning the passage of SAB 2018 was not a sign of nascent parliamentary democracy, but that of policy incoherence and disarray within the party. “While we have heard statements from the vice president extolling his judicious use of state resources in recent days – and it is reassuring to know that he conducts party politics after office hours using only party funds – the public has a right to know where he stands on the SAB 2018. Did the vice president have reservations about SAB 2018? Was he consulted about budgetary priorities? If not, how does he justify continued service in a government that disregards his views on the most consequential matters affecting the nation? The vice president’s remarks, which have been interpreted as veiled criticism of the fiscal profligacy of President Barrow, are simply inadequate in addressing the misguided priorities of the Barrow administration. To have any credibility, his rhetoric must be aligned with concrete action on his part and that of the party he heads. This means that he must salvage his legislative majority and deploy it as a bulwark against the president’s misplaced priorities.]]>
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Tragedy struck Second Division league side Serekunda East-Bi on Wednesday when goalkeeper Omar Njie drowned at the Fajara beach not far from Leybato, while...
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