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City of Banjul
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Gambia – The contradiction in us!

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By Musa Bah

The Government has not done anything; we are behind in development; our salary is not good; we don’t have the right equipment to do our work; our working condition is not good…etc. These are the statements one hears repeatedly in this country. We hear people complain in the offices, the streets, our homes and indeed everywhere.

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But inasmuch as most of the complaints above are true, it is ironic that we do not actually do our part – or at least most of us do not do it properly. We forget sometimes that we are the government, we are the state, we are the Gambia. One cannot necessarily divorce the elected from the elector. The elected simply does what the elector wants. If the elector folds his/her hands and watches the elected do as s/he pleases, then they are both to blame.

If one goes to any of the offices in this country, one immediately observes the lethargy, the I-don’t-care attitude that has become endemic in most of the employees. You find the government official taking breakfast for instance, ‘Haar leen ma ma deewo’ (wait let me take my breakfast). After spending about thirty minutes on that s/he will now turn to the mobile phone (if you are lucky, otherwise s/he will use the office line – the bill goes to government) for another ten to fifteen minutes. All this while, the people who have come to the office for their problems to be solved are sitting there waiting, wasting time.

The attitude of most people is not at all development oriented. When one goes to the hospitals, some of the doctors and nurses will be going in and out, taking their time as if they are not supposed to attend to sick people. When your loved one is in pain and you see them going and coming, speaking on phones or surfing the net, it is just frustrating!
We don’t go to functions on time. We go to work late and leave early.

We don’t seem to care if our actions harm someone else. It seems that everyone just cares about his/her own problems. The excuse is always the same: government has not provided the enabling environment. Naturally, the attitude of work also determines the environment.

It has become a classic example of the chicken and egg situation. If government increases the salary, improves work conditions, provides the needed tools, then we will work as expected of us. On the other hand, government may say, if you work hard and display seriousness, we will provide you all you need. Now, the question is: Who will bell the cat?

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