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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Failed Gambia project: President Adama Barrow is not to blame, blame his philosophy

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With Alhassan Darboe

As Gambia slides into executive anarchy and kakistocracy, most of the Gambian commentariat including myself blamed Adama Barrow for the quandary our beautiful country, The Gambia has found itself in.And then boom, I had an “Aha” moment as to why our president is failing and making all the wrong moves for our country and government. Our president is not bad or willfully corrupting our country. It is his philosophy of life and mild intellectual retardation.

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I am not trying to dumb down anything to my very brilliant readers but for starters, it is important that I give a little background here on the meaning of philosophy at both general and personal levels. Philosophy stems from the Greek word philo (love) and Sophia (wisdom). Oxford dictionary defines philosophy as “the use of reason and argument in seeking truth and knowledge of reality especially of the causes and nature of things, of principles governing existence, perception of physical phenomena and human behaviors”. In a nutshell, philosophy concerns our mental processes, our desire to think or not think at all and even our perception of reality or lack of it thereof.

According to American philosopher William James, philosophy works in the “minutest crannies of our brains, it bakes no bread but can inspire our souls with courage and inspiration”. An individual philosophy is a personal perspective about life, about the world we live in, the kind of spouses we choose to have and keep, friends and even the kinds of lives we lead.

Philosophy determines whether a man is rationalistic, intellectualistic, idealistic, optimistic, pessimistic, sensationalistic, materialistic, pessimistic, fatalistic, and even dogmatic. Philosophy is everything in life and even a dog has a philosophy in life—of loyalty and care. Philosophy dictates whether a human being or country overcomes challenges and succeeds or not. Gambia and Singapore both gained independence at the same time, Gambia under the philosophy and poor ambition of late Sir Dawda Jawara went on to remain a third world country and Singapore went on to become a first world country because of the philosophy and personal drive of Lee Kuan Yew.

Personal and governmental philosophy dictates the caliber of people a leader hires to work with to run a government in a particular jurisdiction. Gambia was very desperate for a new, less deadly president as far as it is not Yahya Jammeh. In our desperation to extricate ourselves out of 22 years of dictatorship, we failed to interrogate ourselves and Adama Barrow about his philosophy of life, of governance, ofleadership, of development, of foreign relations, of national security, of economics and even of communication.
Take it for granted or take it as the proverbial case of flying from frying pan into fire. Gambia changed Jammeh for a leader whose philosophy of life, leadership, development and governance does not rise above an intellectual’s.

Writing in his collection of essays entitled Heretics G.K Chesterton, English philosopher and “Prince of Paradox”captured the essence of my thesis: “There are some people–and I am one of them–who think that the most practical and important thing about a man is still his view of the universe. We think that for a landlady considering a lodger, it is important to know his income, but still more important to know his philosophy. We think that for a general about to fight an enemy, it is important to know the enemy’s numbers, but still more important to know the enemy’s philosophy. We think the question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them”.

Adama Barrow’s philosophy of life and government is laid bare by his deliberate patterns and not mistakes and here they are:
Janneh Commission rendered a waste of taxpayers’ money
Believe this when I tell you, Janneh commission is the biggest waste of Gambian taxpayers’money. It is an insult to both taxpayers and voters who thought they were removing a murderous dictator only to replace him with a less aggressive but a pathetic human scoundrel for a president.

Some time back in March 2019,the Janneh Commission after two years of sittings, over 50 million dalasis in expenses of taxpayers’ money submitted the report to Barrow. The commission’s report indicted the current minister of Finance Mambury Njie, Alagie Ceesay, Chief protocol of the president among many notables in Adama Barrow’s government. Instead of implementing the recommendations of the commission, he disagreed with some of its findings and went on to implement it selectively while surrounding himself with the very people who were indicted for helping Jammeh pilfer our resources. What a very tragic and wasteful way to spend our taxpayers’ money. Again, don’t blame Barrow, blame his personal and governmental philosophy. He does not care about the taxes we pay and how he spends our money.

Appointment of oppressors into a revolutionary government
Change is good they say but transformation is even better. When Barrow came to power on the back of a revolution, most of us naively thought his government was going to be revolutionary and transformational except that we were dead wrong.First,to succeed in changing our change into a meaning less regime change but no system change, he killed the coalition and the principles of the coalition. He will go on to recycle former Jammeh enablers to help him master the ways of his predecessor.

Online Gambian website whatsonGambia inaugurated Barrow the Africa king of recycling as most of the ministers and heads of parastatals are former Jammeh top operators. Finance minister, foreign affairs minister, secretary general and head of civil service, chief of protocol, interior minister, defense Minister, admin secretary NPP, Governor WCR, Governor CRR, heads of government agencies and parastatals and even the Chief Praise Singer of NPP are all recycled. Holy God, what have we done to deserve this punishment of an insensitive and clueless government? What does our sacrifice, the death of late Solo Sandeng and imprisonment of Darboe et al mean to Barrow and his government? Again, don’t blame the man, blame his philosophy.

Clueless, uneducated, deplorable presidential advisers
Barrow upon arrival at the seat of power committed a great wrong. Instead of hiring advisers from Gambia’s pool of highly educated and respected experts, he went on to hire as presidential and government advisers the brainless and clueless quartet of Siaka Jatta, Dou Sanno, Henry Gomez and Saihou Mballow as a political compensation for whatever they did for him. These quartet do not even know the terms of references of their employment. They have nothing to offer and that’s one reason they keep verbally assaulting anyone critical of Barrow and our government. In their cluelessness they didn’t know it is not their job to defend Barrow against political opponents but to advise him on policies. They are failing unquantifiably because they have no education or governance experience to offer.

I hope and pray that our president will see the sunlight and put himself on the good side of history by stopping the waste of our taxpayers’ money on his confederacy of illiterate and brain-dead advisers. It is very disrespectful to the hard work of taxpayers for him to continue to pay incompetent advisers with our money. Again, blame Barrow not, just blame his deeply flawed advisers, philosophy of leadership and governance.
To be continued

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