When you sleep with dogs, expect to catch fleas.
For me, and as should be for all Gambians, the overriding concern is the establishment of a truly democratic state. In a democracy, individual biases are subsumed by the national interest, where opportunities in education and employment adhere to the constitutional manifesto, rather than comply with the Darwinian selection theory.
In Gambia, politics has been a source of division and marginalisation of smaller tribes, a culturally motivated hostility that contravenes the constitution and plants the seed of social alienation and civil strife.
This brings me to the recent firing of Mr Ebrima Dibba from the Foreign Service. It seems apparently obvious that this was done based on Mr Dibba’s politics. From the very beginning, I was vocally opposed to the way Mr Dibba and many other UDP supporters were given preference in employment, in the new coalition government. It was both based on support for the UDP and, for the most part, on being Mandinka.But, I am now playing a devil’s advocate, arguing against their firing, once they are employed.
The right to work is sacrosanct and it’s government’s responsibility to create the environment where everyone is employed and contributes to national development. Jobs in government do not belong to President Barrow and he has not right, whatsoever, to just fire citizens on political grounds. Even though Mr Dibba was appointed, the post he held is a civil service position under the purview of Personnel Management Office not President Barrow.
But, by his actions, President Barrow is corrupting the democratic system, and creating the very social strife that we spent two decades blaming Yahya Jammeh for. One of the greatest failures of Africa is the politics of tribe, patronage and ownership of the state. It seems sidelining citizens where it hurts most, their jobs, is the way President Barrow hopes he can create a new government cabal, completely disregarding the 22 years that gave The Gambia that dirtiest, rotten system. Anyone who pursues tribalism and or uses the government to promote and protect their interest, is unfit to be a president. Ebrima Dibba has every right to sue to get his job back; I hope he does.
Mathew K Jallow