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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Governors, local authorities coerced into politics – GMC

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By Omar Bah

GMC leader Mai Fatty, has said regional governors and district authorities are still being cajoled and threatened into partisan politics just as in the time of President Jammeh.
“Regional governors, particularly some deputy governors are acting as partisan political desk officers on government salary, positioning for 2021. The subterfuge must stop. The politicisation of the public service has resumed in full force and that explains the total lack of commitment to civil service reform,” Mai Fatty told The Standard.

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“The desire to intensify the asphyxiation of central control over local governance is intended to fully control the elements of political influence and support at the local level for partisan profit. This is no different from Yahya Jammeh’s detested system, and we will resist it,” he added.

The GMC leader further argued: “When a leader is willing to sacrifice principle, integrity and truth on the altar of political power, progressive forces must demonstrate surpassing determination to wrest political authority from such a leader. For me, there is no force on earth that can intimidate me from standing for what is right, in accordance with our national values and collective aspiration. It is clear and present danger to permit the subsistence of such pernicious anomaly. Now is the time to join forces to redress this imbalance in the national interest.”

The former Interior minister added that “one of the very first solid commitments of the new government, as a sacred oath to Gambians, is to depoliticise the public service.”
“The former SG Dawda Fadera was required to position career civil servants as regional governors, replacing partisan political operatives. The goal was to professionalise the public service based on the highest standards of efficiency, competence, objectivity and ethics,” he said.

Fatty said the government had also directed through the Ministry of Regional Administration for all seyfolu and alkalolu to steer clear away from partisan politics.
“This was further consolidated during President Barrow’s first nationwide tour in which he strongly exhorted local government authorities to get out of partisan politics completely. In fact, one of two chiefs who were found to have violated this policy were removed and replaced.

“We all vociferously condemned this Yahya Jammeh tactic as horrendously anti-democratic, oppressive and illegal. It is therefore absolutely disappointing and unacceptable that all attempts are now being made at the highest level to conveniently restore that same nasty political practice we all fought so hard to replace. No person of integrity should swallow one’s spatum in such a disgusting manner. This nation has given its back to the tendencies of the past, and those who romanticise with the past are on the wrong side of history,” he added.

“Gambian democracy has no reverse gear and we shall remain on course, consistent with our history, culture, values and aspirations borne out of our local subjective circumstances. Sincerity and patriotism demand that we subdue personal political considerations in favour of the national interest. It’s funny how power changes people. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is too soon to forget how far we came,” he concluded.

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