Holding leaders accountable to their responsibilities

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By Mam Sait Ceesay

The strength of a president is anchored in the strength of the constitution vis-s-vis the nation.

We need to have a strong president who is constantly reminded of his oath of office “to uphold the constitution” and to answer to the needs and aspirations of all Gambians. A firm president with a sense of direction, at the top of a highly functional cabinet working to attain, establish and maintain national unity in order to have a meaningful existence.

It is common after elections, even as the president is retained, as the President’s reading of public opinion as evidenced by the 9th April National Assembly elections may require some change in policy, in addition to any changes resulting from the nonperformance  or defeat of NPP’s coalition parties (ministers) at the election.

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The Gambia today is such that the imminent cabinet reshuffle brings with it very egregious consequences. As if we’ve not recently witnessed cabinet ministers operating independently of the direction, policy and vision of the same government constituted by its members. The scandals of corruption, abuse of office and ineptitude surrounding cabinet ministers can only be the basis for President Adama Barrow to “refresh” his government, in the face of poor polling numbers; remove poor performers; and reward supporters and punish others. This in my estimation will not only help President Adama Barrow to fight corruption but also give competent people the opportunity to help turn the wheel of fortune clockwise.

It appears nothing significant is being done, in particular, to address the frequently occurring scandals in government circle that affect us almost always. This situation has worsened in these recent times, coupled with President Barrow’s failure to secure a two third majority in the 9th April National Assembly elections.

If President Barrow has to do something, he must first of all reshuffle his cabinet to avert these perturbing recurrences in his cabinet. This must be now or never. This is not the time for promises, neither is it the time for rhetoric, but the time for action, the time to fix the challenges in our country.

The soon to-be-new government, under the leadership of President Barrow, must work assiduously to ensure that these frequent outbreaks and, as well as the looming farming season and annual flooding are dealt with to the benefit of the country and citizenry. President Barrow must ensure that the right interventions are put in place, existing rules and regulations are followed and enforced, and negligent leaders are made accountable to their actions and inactions.

Those who have been assigned responsibilities must justify the trust reposed in them; they must prove that they are up to their assigned mandate and removed when they fail.

Is it not time for us to start holding our leaders accountable to their offices? Is it not time for us to hold our President, ministers, National Assembly members, Municipal/District Chief Executives and other duty-bearers accountable to their offices?

Once President Barrow starts relieving duty-bearers of their responsibilities for want of action or negligence, his government shall be making progress. This is one of the surest ways of ensuring that these man-made disasters are handled in such a way that our human and material losses are reduced to the barest minimum, if not eradicated.