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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Letters: AG Ba Tambadou’s diplomatic passport return; right move


Dear Ba, you preempted what I had to say about the allocation of diplomatic passports to unqualified persons, in this case, your family members, and that’s fine.

My guess is; in the intervening period since last week, you may have realized the venality of the whole diplomatic passport sage.

The misappropriation of state resources is one of the banes of governance in Africa. In clearer terms, African politicians and civil servants have a misguided tendency of presumptuous ownership of the offices they hold.

Its probably why the word “corrupt” doesn’t exist in any of our local languages.

In fact, taking what belongs to the state and therefore, the entire citizenry, is culturally excused.

In the Wollof language, the word “muchat” comes to mind as both sinister and a threat to social and political order in the state.

Simply put; the allocation of diplomatic passport to someone or people who are not authorized to engage in performing duties that promote the nation is disallowed.

It’s abuse of office and therefore, a corrupt practice. Diplomatic passports are specifically reserved for diplomats active in service of Gambia, for the benefit of citizens.

I personally fault you for having gone this route, but I also necessarily blame you. The fault is; you should have seen the error in this prolific misapplication of diplomatic passports, and corrected it.

As usual, African governments never fail to bend the rules to satisfy politicians and bureaucrats, at huge cost to citizens.

The allocation of diplomatic passports to family members of politicians and civil servants is a case in point.

I blame you, because having found the misuse and abuse of the system, your task was not to perpetuate it. Finally, the diplomatic passport should be allocated to INDIVIDUAL DIPLOMATS AND THOSE ALLOWED TO SPEAK FOR GOVERNMENT.

Not, even their families are not entitled to have diplomatic passports. Developed countries have a special visa category for family members of diplomats, which gives them special dispensation. This thus reserves the diplomatic passport for the FEW assigned to advance Gambia’s interest abroad.

Mathew Jallow

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