I want to use your medium, The Standard, to convey my deepest sense of concern over the death of more than one thousand sub-Saharan African migrants who died at sea while trying to reach Europe. In as many days, the tragic boat accidents that have been reported in the Mediterranean Sea are quite shocking. I should say that the swelling tide of migration to Europe in recent years is taking a devastating human toll. Europe certainly needs to do more. It is a known fact that its asylum policies are a mess even if these migrants reach its shores. There is little in the way of coordinated strategy or burden sharing. Hence, the notion that Europe is not doing enough to save the lives of these helpless poor migrants becomes attractive to ponder. Though there are those who believe that the continent is already coping with an even bigger flow of migrants, the essential generosity and compassion of some Europeans is being choked by less generous responses, as the rise of far right, anti-immigrant parties in France and Greece shows. Whatever the case, these mass deaths are unacceptable and typify the need for an urgent action. Obviously, migration, whether in search for a better life or otherwise should not be cause for such tragedies. It is not enough therefore for European countries to bask in the glow of their development; they must advance modest corrective steps to avoid these deaths. I should note here too that only when poverty, corruption, and bad governance have been stamped out across the continent, and when the traffickers in human misery have been hunted down and prosecuted, will Africans want to stay at home rather than risk their lives in perilous journeys across the desert and sea in search of a better life. But this is an ultimate global crisis requiring a global solution. The world especially Europe must respond now.
Find solution to misappropriation of public funds
The Office of the Auditor General last week presented its report to the National Assembly and some of the revelations in it are quite startling. It reveals gross misappropriation of funds in most of our public institutions. Millions of dalasi could not be accounted for by these institutions. And the trend was said to be growing. According to the auditor general report, there were several instances of theft of funds through falsification of documents or suppression of revenue. These matters are said to have been brought to the attention of the Inspector General of Police for further action. Instances of theft or suppression of revenue with amounts ranging from few hundred to millions of dalasi have been highlighted. Karamba Touray, the auditor general of The Gambia said: “These are very serious matters and I urge all public institutions to have in place adequate control to stop such thefts.” He also noted that failure to comply with government financial instructions was a regular feature of their audit reports. Clearly, the situation shows high level corruption existing in our public sector. This is very worrying because corruption is known to be the beast that drains a nation’s funds and leave it with scarcity. The aftermath of it has always been the degeneration of that nation’s economy. The auditor general’s report should therefore be a cause for concern for all Gambians. There is a need to reverse this trend and the coming into being of the Anti-Corruption Commission is therefore apt in this direction. Genuine Gambians have to choose to hoist their vision on the president who wants to make it his mandate to free the country from corruption. But while we focus on checking misappropriation of funds, they must simultaneously keep in mind the general welfare of these institutions. The nation is gradually waking up to the reality. We have to find a solution for stealing of public funds as soon as possible.