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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Letters to the Editor

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Re: Barrow will go for 5 years

Dear editor,

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This is tantamount to betrayal of trust. The constitution was in place when the agreement was made by the Coalition, and for the fact that none of them brought up the issue at that time, meant that it’s was an agreement. Why bring up the constitution now just to make a false justification? Why not suggest the option to put it to a referendum if Barrow wants to stay for another 2 years. Besides, all the signatories to the 3 year agreement are no longer part of government and that was the first sign of betrayal and an indication that President Barrow was cleaning house and paving the way for the arrival of a dictator or a wannabe over-stayer. Foday Gassama is entitled to his wish and opinion, but he cannot represent the majority of the people who wants the President to keep up to his words and promise. Mr. Gassama perhaps doesn’t want give up the privilege and fame that he is currently enjoying and he is willing to say whatever just to stay in the spotlight. Let’s work towards the common good and put aside our individual interests.

Rob Fox

The concept of accountability in a democracy

Dear editor,

The principle of separation of powers in a democracy is the bedrock of accountability in the nation-state. When we talk about the three arms of government: the executive, the judiciary and the legislature, we mean that these three arms of government check each other’s powers so that none will abuse power or commit excesses.
Perhaps I should add here that in 1787 Edmund Burke, while taking part in a debate in the House of Commons in Britain, included another arm of government – the Fourth Estate. He postulated that they (the media) should – and do – hold government and governors to account for and on behalf of the citizens. Thus, these four complement each other to ensure a balance which has been clich├ęd as ‘checks and balances’ in governance.
It follows therefore that each of these should understand its role to ensure that it performs it excellently for there to be that ‘equilibrium’ needed for the proper functioning of the nation-state. This should inform us of the importance of the role played by the media. This is the reason why dictators or autocratic rulers first try to muzzle the media and cow them into silence.

As we saw in the previous regime, the media was gagged and freedom of expression stifled to put a dark shroud over the eyes of the ordinary citizens because all dictators understand that they can survive only as long as the masses allow them. My Comrade Gibairu Janneh says that it is the people who give dictatorship oxygen to survive. Starving them of information allows the regime to hold them in the dark and keep them downtrodden.

After succeeding in that, they move on to compromise the other arms which should hold them in check. They find various means of controlling these institutions so that they will have an easy ride to do as they please. This can come in vario

s forms of either outright intimidation or seeking to buy them out through gifts, bribes and/or favours.
It was for this reason that when early last year it was announced that Pres. Adama Barrow had magnanimously donated fifty-seven vehicles to the National Assembly some of us wrote to say that it was wrong. Comrade Njundu Drammeh wrote that sunshine is the best detergent and that government should be transparent. Madi Jobarteh told us that the constitution does not allow elected officials (including the president) to receive gifts without declaring them.

This week’s revelations that president Barrow has again sought to hide behind anonymous donors to explain away the 11.2 million dalasi gift to the 2.18 batch of pilgrims, is a case in point. Now, it is clear that a National Assembly that was donated vehicles anonymously will certainly not question the origins of these huge funds.
This donation has put the National Assembly in a dilemma. Will they take a stance and risk criticism or remain mute and kill our democracy?
Ask me another!

Musa Bah
Nusrat SSS

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