In two weeks, Gambia will reach the half-mark point of the first term of the Coalition government. But, that is not the news. And, even though this was sold to those of us who understand government, as a 3-year transitional arrangement, a grave error the leader of major party UDP made, changed the course of the Coalition’s transition, leaving Gambia in its pitiful political limbo. Recently, as I heard threats of violence emanating from President Adama Barrow’s thugs, I am reminded of Yahya Jammeh’s Junglers and the terror and violence they inflicted on Gambians.
But, not withstanding my friend, UDP leader, Ousainou Darboe batting for President Barrow, soon after his release from Mile 2 Prison, in 2017, and President Barrow latching on to that political awakening to make a case for a 5-year term, citizens still have the democratic right to protest against their government, anytime, anywhere and anyhow.
It seems to me the self-serving thugs who surround President Barrow have no clue how a democratic government functions. Gambia subscribes to the concept of a republican government system by virtue of our Constitution, which, therefore, means, the center of power is the citizens; not the executive.
Failure to recognize this is perhaps the biggest failure of African, and by extension, Gambian political and governance systems. In our political system, citizens elect a National Assembly to represent their interest, and demonstrations and protests, integral parts of the political system, occur when the National Assembly is wanting in their primary responsibility; to represent the interest of the people.
In asserting the right and role of citizens to demonstrate against their government, I hope supporters of President Barrow, blinded by ignorance of how a democratic system of government functions, will cease making threats against citizens’ rights to protest or demonstrate, if and when they so feel.
In another very important matter, I don’t how other Gambians reacted, but on seeing a new initiative by the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), my jaw dropped.
The CRC launched a newsletter, this week, which I find both mystifying and absurd.
My sense is that the CRC is drawing out their task for as long as possible, and financial motive is behind this excruciatingly painful foot-dragging.
By now, the CRC could’ve completed the Constitution, and a national referendum held for its ratification.
But, this is not the worst part of the CRC’s faux pas.
That has to be the CRC’s globetrotting from country to country wasting tax-payer and donor money in what is both absolutely unnecessary and a palpable demonstration of the vexing abuse of resources that has formed the cornerstone of this blundering Coalition government.
Soon after Yahya Jammeh was forced to leave the Gambia, western donors poured millions of dollars in funds to assist in the rebuilding of the Gambia’s tattered economy, but it seems, so far, these commissions are eating into those funds, like there is no tomorrow.
The Gambia is in a crisis; saddled with corruption and abuse of resources, and it doesn’t seem like the government understands nor cares about this. As an outside observer with knowledge and experience in resource management, I can say, unequivocally, that in terms of corruption and abuse of resources, this government is at par with the Yahya Jammeh regime. Let that percolate in Gambians’ heads.