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City of Banjul
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Letters: Empty rhetorics

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Dear Editor,
On Thursday Pres. Adama Barrow sworn in his new Vice President and some ministers. In his statement the President focused his speech on high moral and patriotic sounding words and phrases.
The statement gives the impression that indeed this President is himself following and manifesting those high sounding slogans! He spoke of unity and patriotism and selfless service to the nation and above all he insisted that Cabinet members must practice what one preaches.

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Here are some of the high sounding sound bytes of Pres. Barrow:
1. Gambia’s best interest
2. Democratic government in a democratic State.
3. Holding a Cabinet portfolio or the post of Permanent Secretary does not mean thinking and working exclusively along political lines.
4. Public service rules, regulations, principles and procedures should guide the discharge of your functions.
5. Your positions also require you to suppress your personal wishes and ambitions, and put more weight on the Government’s agenda, as this reflects the will, hopes and aspirations of the people you are meant to serve.
6. Collectively, we should symbolise unity, and must not instigate division.
7. the greater good has to prevail over our personal, ethnic, religious, political or sectional interests.

8. What we say and do should be consistent in both our public and private lives.
9. The best citizens in a nation are the genuine patriots who serve selflessly and put the nation and the greater good before any selfish interest.
10. Given that the nation is bigger than any individual citizen, for all public servants and patriotic citizens, national challenges and priorities must come first.
Statements delivered by elected and appointed public servants are not empty words. No. These words form the decisions and actions of these officials and the government. This means that these statements carry tangible weight and meaning that have life and death consequences for citizens.

Therefore we must hold these public servants accountable anytime they utter a word to truly determine whether they are honest or dishonest with us. So let us hold Barrow against his own words to see if they match his actions or not.
When the President was delivering that statement I was wondering how come therefore that Adama Barrow was the first to abandon his own manifesto and campaign promise based on the Coalition agreement that he will serve only three years and step down.
What happened to his statement about one being consistent both in public and private lives? If indeed Barrow is guided by national interest why has he abandoned the agreement that ushered him into leadership?!
Furthermore if national interest is what guides him how come Barrow has refused to close down NIA or interdict all those torturers in that notorious agency and other security agencies? Or how do we explain the blatant selling of the country’s land and water and the resources in them to local and foreign businesses against the future of this country? Or is Barrow not aware of Chinese and EU companies looting our natural resources and destroying our environment ?
We all know that there was a brutal dictatorship in this country for 22 years which was aided by a bunch of civilian officials and security officers. Yet what we see is that Adama Barrow has decided to maintain those same enablers in his Cabinet and as heads of all the armed and security agencies! Is this what it means to protect national interest?
Since taking over power Adama Barrow continues to engage and receive money and materials from unknown entities yet he flatly refuses to name those sources. Just as Yaya Jammeh dishonestly referred to ‘Allah’s Bank’ Barrow decides to also dishonestly refer to ‘Anonymous Donor’. Yet Barrow says Cabinet ministers must protect national interest!
Barrow says we must abide by democratic norms and practices yet Barrow went ahead to sack a sitting National Assembly member in total contravention of democratic norms!
As if that is not enough Barrow has decided to create a youth movement in his name when he knew what such bad practices caused the country in the past. Yet Barrow speaks about national unity and that The Gambia is bigger than any individual! What about The Gambia and himself? Who is bigger?
It is not difficult to see that this statement by Barrow is actually directed at Ousainou Darboe primarily. One wonders what happened to the relationship between the ‘Political Godfather and Political Godson’ such that national interest could not have tamed one or the other or both to work amicably in the interest of the nation?
But more seriously why cannot the President point to the exact reasons for his Cabinet reshuffle than to be making general insinuations. As the President he has authority to hire and fire Cabinet members. Hence he must have the courage and honesty to state exactly why he fires A or hires B! But to beat about the bush with indirect personal attacks does not show a leader who wishes to unite his people and serve the national best interest!
Therefore based on the decisions and actions of this President it is obvious that his statement is nothing but empty rhetoric as he does not practice at all what he is preaching to his Vice President!
Finally let President Adama Barrow be informed that all citizens must be loyal only to the nation and not to the President or Government. Our only relationship with the government is to work with and in it according to the rule of law and hold it accountable!
Therefore let us take this statement as mere rhetoric that is not only empty but also intended to mislead and misguide citizens to cover up the dishonesty and poor judgment of this President.
Madi Jobarteh

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