By Sana Sarr
It has been an interesting first round at Russia 2018 with many results that shocked most football fans. Football lovers have been at the edges of their seats and enjoyed a very exciting tournament. Some great goals were scored, many talking points made, surprising teams dazzled, and some shocking results and eliminations followed. The key shocker was the elimination of the defending champions, Germany, when many experts reasonably dubbed them favorites to win the whole thing. Sadly, Thursday was also the last day for 16 of the 32 teams who were eliminated in the first round, including all 5 African teams.
Meanwhile, in Gambian politics, President Adama Barrow also decided that Thursday was the last day for a number of Ministers in his Cabinet. Some were relegated to lesser roles and some were simply sent packing from his World Cup. Here’s how Barrow’s First Round played out
RED CARD – VP By Force Tambajang OUT – To many, VP Tambajang is the Germany of Barrow’s first round. We had so many rumors that she was the only one Barrow listens to…bla bla bla…. However, many cynics, myself included, suspected that Madam Tambajang was only being used as a front to have get past the age limit on the Presidency to make room for the Godfather. It would have been too obvious and caused much more noise had they tried to change the constitution for Mr. Darboe.
YELLOW CARD – Stand by what is right even if it seems to favor you. Many said Madam Tambajang initially declined the VP position but got pressured by many, including Barrow, to accept it. That decision lost her a lot of respect among many Gambians only for things to turn out this way.
VAR Call 1: Is this the first step to a Barrow resignation so “Lawyer Darboe yeh bankoe taa” officially?
VAR Call 2: Is Madam really deployed to the Foreign Service, or is she deployed to the “foreign service”?
You know, the service that is foreign to the Barrow/Darboe administration…like Mai Ahmad Fatty?
GOLDEN BOOT – Lawyer Ousainu Darboe. One step closer to the dream.
RED CARD – Health Minister Out – After the strike by the doctors, the government tried to save face and send a message that they won’t be easily bullied by workers to fire ministers. However, they knew that it was only a matter of time for the minister to go.
YELLOW CARD – This is new Gambia. It will take time to be in full effect but citizens DO have a voice. They’ll keep trying to shut people up (#Doctors, #OccupyWestfield, #Dafadoy), but everyone must KEEP SPEAKING. YOUR VOICE MATTERS!
GOLDEN BOOT to Association of Resident Doctors The Gambia – GARD!
RED CARD – DA JAWO out (Ebrima Sillah in) at MOICI – We saw the letter from Information Minister, Demba A. Jawo, sticking to his principles and refusing to go along with an improper allocation of a contract by the Finance Ministry for his Ministry. Reports have it that Mr. Jawo almost resigned over that matter. Obviously, that decision did not go down well with the powers that be, so they’ve now decided to replace him with Ebrima Sillah of GRTS.
During his short time at GRTS, Sillah has proven his loyalty to the administration and shown that he is a willing tool to do what pleases them.
YELLOW CARD – You can serve with integrity, but you must be willing to pay the price if you go against the powers that be.
GOLDEN BOOT – Ebrima Sillah. You have been rewarded for showing loyalty to party over country and principle. Well, at least in the short term.
VAR Call: Imagine if we had more Demba A. Jawos and less Ebrima Sillahs…
RED CARD – OJ Jallow Out at Agriculture – No, they did not even pretend to deploy him to the “foreign service” like Mai. He was straight up fired. After the “leaked” report about some expired fertilizer being illegally sold by his ministry, the groundwork was laid. OJ held a press conference challenging the government to prove his wrongdoing. He sounded very confident, insisting that he had signed no contract etc. Public taysanteh is one way to go, but no evidence is necessary for the President to fire a minister. After his refusal to join the “tactical alliance” and his rather bold but typical firebrand political statements, that “leaked” report” was enough political capital to shift public opinion enough to minimize the damage from his firing.
GOLDEN BOOT – Halifah Sallah. You ignored all the noise and stuck to your belief that you would serve the nation better by running for the National Assembly. Accepting ministerial appointment by the President may have meant less criticism but it would have left you serving at his mercy. Too bad OJ did not have that foresight.
RED CARD – Henry Gomez out at Youth and Sports – After that embarrassing video of Henry struggling to answer basic questions about his ministry, I was wondering how long it would take for Henry to get the boot. Apparently, a week was too much.
YELLOW CARD – Hamat Bah better get a microphone and continue being the jaliba for that “tactical alliance.” Either that or invest in a zipper for his lips, because we know that Hamat and Henry attended the same clown school when it comes to making embarrassing statements.
MVP – Gambian youths and sports. There’s really not much I care to say about Henry after that performance in front of the nation’s lawmakers. Henry provided strong evidence for those who argue that we need basic education requirements for executive positions.
PUNDITS’ CORNER – First Round Analysis
Where are the political party leaders who formed Coalition 2016?
– Mai Ahmad Fatty (GMC) – Deployed to the “foreign service” (without a paycheck or a responsibility)
– OJ Jallow (PPP) – Not even deployed to the “foreign service”
– Hamat Bah (NRP) – Apparently still at Tourism (Reward for remaining part of the tactical alliance?)
– Halifa Sallah / Sedia Jatta (PDOIS) – Serving in the National Assembly
– Dr. Isatou Touray – Moved to Health Ministry (Watch this space because her close colleague, Amie Bojang Sissoho, was apparently left in the dark over the hiring of a government spokesperson)
– Henry Gomez – I hope they send him back to Middle School to get an education
FAIR PLAY AWARDS – Family Matters?
– Why is Amadou Sanneh still in cabinet. Well, we know he is a part of the untouchable Yellow family, but besides that…
– Why is the Interior Minister still in cabinet after the Faraba murders? Well, I hear he is a brother to President’s wife, but besides that…