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Monday, September 28, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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No sacred cows! OJ should either resign or be sacked if …

Dear editor,

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Reports have emerged in the country these days that Mr Omar Amadou Jallow, the Minister of Agriculture was involved in a shady deal of selling tonnes of expired fertiliser to some businessmen in Senegal. It is said that this information has been known to the Office of the President since August of 2017. In fact, rumor has it that this was investigated by state security agents.

If this is true and investigations reveal that he was indeed involved in this crime then Mr President, you will have no choice but to sack him. The truth is that, Mr Jallow should not wait to be sacked. He should resign immediately. It is unfortunate that in under two years, officials of your government are being accused of involvement in corruption and shady deals. Corruption is a disease that eats into the fabric of society and whichever government does not take a firm stance against corruption is bound to fail woefully.
What is worse is that he (OJ) and those within his circle of associates in this deal are said to have sold this expired fertiliser to the Senegalese farmers. The relationship between Senegal and The Gambia are at an all-time high and it is a huge embarrassment to The Gambia and Gambians for a state minister to be found doing something this heinous in that country.

I have repeatedly said that there should be special focus on the fight against corruption and malfeasance. This can only be done when a precedent is set so that the people in the country will know that you and your government are serious about eradicating – or at least minimising – corruption. The other benefit this will have is to serve as a deterrent to would-be culprits to abstain from this very illicit behavior.

Another important side of this story is the failure of the Office of the President. This looks so much like efforts were made to keep it under wraps. How come the Office of the President learnt of such a heinous crime since August of 2017 and nothing has come out of it. In fact, it looks like had the story not broken and published by the Kerr Fatou Network, it was going to be pushed under the carpet.

The Office of the President should have acted immediately after hearing of this saga to the point of opening an investigation into it. The people of the country have entrusted the president with the nation and therefore expect exemplary behavior from him and his office. There shouldn’t be any sacred cows in this dispensation; for, no one is indispensable. Not even you, Mr President, are indispensable. If you do not meet our expectations and fulfill your duties as president, we will vote you out like we did Yahya Jammeh!

 

Musa Bah
Nusrat SSS

On Ousainu Darboe’s Bantaba

Dear editor,

I am becoming increasingly irritated by Omar Wally’s subjective method of journalistic interviewing. Mr. Wally concentrates too much on the personal level issues between our political leaders while neglecting the professional level and broader issues affecting the country and how these challenges can be mastered. Asking Darboe about his personal relationship with Barrow ONLY feeds the thirst of gossip mongers but does little to enlighten the people about the inner workings of the cabinet or the crucial policy relationships that exist between the foreign ministry and the office of the president.
I also find the persistent habit of asking Darboe whether he plans to stand again for presidential election utterly sans éclat! This question is dull because it presupposes an answer that satisfies no inherent goal. If he says NO. Who will that serve? Not clear at this stage. If he says YES. Who would it serve? Unclear as well. He would be merely undermining his party’s sole sovereignty to designate the flag-bearer through a democratically held internal primary selection process.

I am of the opinion that Darboe’s taciturn about a potential candidature is good for 3 essential reasons:
1.) Leaving all options open guarantees the stability of the current coalition gov’t, by ensuring that Barrow and team concentrate their energy and means on the current mandate. Energy would not be wasted on jostling and speculating about who UDP will put up at the end of this legislature.

2.) Darboe is revered in the UDP and enjoys broad respect across the various sections of UDP membership and supporters alike. He is quasi the central pole towards which the differences within the party converge. Therefore, it is logical to keep the unity upright, with Darboe continuing to uphold the figure head job until the party internal primaries select a presidential flag-bearer.

3.) For the general public, it is important that the current legislature is stable so that work on institution building, economic recovery, sanctifying human rights etc. continues being the priority of the Barrow administrations mandate. To this end, as the main decisive political force in the country, it is fundamentally crucial for UDP to remain a stable political force and prematurely ensnared in position bidding with respect to the next presidential election.

Finally, I look forward to a better Bantaba interview next time! And I hope that Darboe resist being lured into interview settings for tit-for-tat personalised ping pong! THANK YOU.

Kemo Kinteh

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