Answers to 10 Questions we need to know from The Gambia GovernmentAnswers to 10 Questions we need to know from The Gambia Government
1. The Minister of Foreign Affairs2.
The Minister of Finance 3. The Chair of the National Assembly Select Committee on Public AccountsGiven the growing concerns about the frequency and cost of international travels by the President, Vice President, Ministers and Senior Government Officials, the citizens of The Gambia have a right to know the following:1. How much has been spent on each of the travels of the President or the Vice President to Ecowas, AU, OIC and UN and to various countries in Africa and Europe in the past eight months? 2. How many foreign missions does The Gambia currently have and in which countries?3. How many individuals have been appointed to our foreign missions in the past eight months and on what qualifications?4. How many vehicles have The Gambia Government bought in the past eight months and how much do they cost the taxpayer?5.
How many jobs have The Gambia Government created in the past 8 months?6. How many loans and how much are those loans that The Gambia Government contracted in the past eight months?7. How many and how much grants have The Gambia Government received in the past eight months?8. How many contracts has The Gambia Government entered into with foreign private entities and in which areas of the economy and development?9. How many public-private partnerships (PPP) have been negotiated and concluded and between which public enterprises and private entities (local or foreign)?10.
How much money is The Gambia Government spending on the maintenance of Office of the President in the past eight months?Gambians have a right to know the answers to these 10 questions. The Government of The Gambia derives its legitimacy from the people of The Gambia and they perform their functions on behalf of the people of The Gambia. This is an entrenched constitutional provision under Section 1, Sub-Section 2.
Gambians therefore must know how our government receives money and how it spends that money in full and in truth. The current dire conditions of life in this country are a threat to national security. The public confidence and trust in the government of Adama Barrow is fast eroding. Citizens are frustrated by the lack of adequate and efficient delivery of social services and the growing cost of living. Yet Gambians continue to watch how officials of the Government engage in activities that consume millions of dalasis on a consistent and continuous basis. This is unacceptable. For that matter The Gambia Government under the leadership of Adama Barrow must tell Gambians how they utilise our public resources so that we are not left in the dark.
We cannot and must not allow another Yahya Jammeh scenario to repeat in this country where public officials bastardise public resources with impunity. We would not have to hear the revelations at the Janneh Commission today if indeed the Yahya Jammeh government was transparent and accountable in the way it utilised our money in the first place.Now that we have a new government, we expect nothing other than transparency, accountability and probity. Barrow has a legal and political and moral duty to ensure that Gambians have full public information on time and in full without let or hindrance.
Hence I hereby demand that President Adama Barrow as the Chief Servant of the People of the Republic of The Gambia cause the Minister of Foreign Affairs Ousainou Darboe and the Minister of Finance Amadou Sanneh to provide pertinent and urgent national information to these 10 vital questions to the satisfaction of the masses of The Gambia.Similarly, I call on the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mariam Denton, to cause the Chair of the National Select Committee on Public Accounts and Public Enterprises to obtain and provide answers to these 10 vital questions to the people of The Gambia. I call on all citizens to raise these questions and many more in all forums and platforms at home, in neighborhoods, in work places and public places to demand for answers. Until we ask there will be no answers. Unless we act, the government will not respond.
The responsibility to make The Gambia a democratic, developed and peaceful society lies squarely in the hands of citizens. If we abandon or ignore the decisions and actions of The Gambia Government, then we will only succeed in harming ourselves, today and tomorrow. God bless The Gambia.
Madi Jobarteh is the deputy executive director of The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, Tango.