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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Letters: KM Mayor and corruption – A perspective gleaned from an interview

Dear editor,

The interview of the Mayor of KM brings to mind an evolution of institutional development from the cradle of a vision and values for leadership. In politics, voter awareness is stimulated and sustained by unfolding decisions of politicians.  The incident at KMC should be no exception, particularly in an election year.  The Mayor has presented his case and some useful lessons may be drawn from the interview:-

Politicians need to have a vision accompanied by strategies to achieve it.  The common denominator of such a vision is a meaningful improvement of the welfare of the people they serve and certainly not the lining of pockets and personal gains through corruption, opaque and fraudulent procurement processes.  Corruption sets back a nation by diminishing the value of resources and eating into savings that are needed for investing into the future welfare of the people. It is simply a shameful act of cheating on the welfare of the future generation.

A good legacy matters in politics but political leadership must have certain values for that purpose – amongst which is rectitude – in order to stand up to and ebb the tide of corruption rather than turn a blind eye and/or brush matters under the carpet of excuses and denials. Such values must not be lost because the priority of a leadership is to stay in power or in a position.  Leaders must not lose themselves into an arena of demolished guardrails of moral values (and institutional development) which are the strength of democracies and the foundation of development of a progressive nation. Good and strong institutions are a combination of processes and procedures in a system based on probity, transparency and accountability and not on the blunt and arbitrary use of power and ephemeral and unstructured decision making processes.  Strong institutions are a function of good governance whilst a strong but poor leadership is an outcome of weak institutions that are exploited by an unscrupulous leadership.

As the events unfold in KMC, voters should be alert to what agenda is being presented for their future by the courting politicians. After all, politics is about setting priorities – whether for personal or public purpose.  Voters must clearly decide which priority is best and draw lessons learnt from the past.  Just Thinking aloud.

Lamin Comma

It is only failed leaders who run away from responsibilities

Dear editor,

PDOIS was a major stakeholder in the coalition 2016 but after winning the election, PDOIS ran away completely from their own supported projects. If such project failed who should be blamed for it? My answer is obviously PDOIS should have the big share for the coalition’s failure.

In regard to the three years agreement at the inception, Halifa Sallah defended the agreement but immediately after President Barrow reneged on the Coalition agreement, Halifa Sallah sided with Barrow and only blamed others.

Three Years Jotna  pressure group came out to hold all the coalition leaders accountable and reminded them that their promises and projects will all fail if President Barrow succeeded in violating the 3 years agreement.  During the initial stages of the 3 Years Jotna’s consultations with all coalition leaders, Halifa Sallah strongly supported the objectives of the movement but after we applied for a permit to protest to hold President Barrow accountable for reneging the 3 Years accorded to him, Halifa Sallah had face to face discussions with the 3 Years Jotna about the possible peaceful protest of the movement.  He even suggested that the group should have second round of discussions with him and all the stakeholders before the proposed protest date, only to see  Hon. Halifa Sallah again at the  National Assembly when he turned 360 degrees and started describing the 3 Years Jotna as trying to overthrow the president.

So if we see Halifa Sallah now running away and not taking the responsibility of the coalition’s failure, really that speaks the real character of this protagonist called Halifa Sallah.  When leaders such as Halifa run away from taking their own responsibilities, I believe that this debate is completely ridiculous and irrelevant and it has no national interest or merits. We  should focus on solving the bigger problems Gambians are facing today such as the skyrocketing cost of living, lack of clean drinking water for majority of Gambians, poor electricity supply, abhorrent health services, poor education system, deteriorating security services around the country, overwhelming maternal deaths, exponential death rates of women in labour, lack of medical doctors, medications, medical equipment etc. Instead these leaders are concentrating on mundane issues such as who were responsible for the failures of the coalition 2016. These leaders lack  the basic understanding of the burning issues Gambian families are facing today. They are completely out of touch with the realities. They totally lost their priorities. It’s not the time to debate who was responsible and who was not. This is absolutely a high school debate at the primary level and it has no relevance at all. We believe that this debate is attention seeking because the organizers of this debate are all struggling in polls.

Dr Ceesay should focus on things that matter to the Gambian youths and challenge the opponents on policies and stop searching for cheap political popularity.

Hagi Suwaneh

Former 3Yrs Jotna PRO

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