Serious ethical questions
Franklin D. Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States once said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”
This is the case of the Gambian legislators receiving a car gift to them by President Adama Barrow and one mysterious philanthropist. According to the Director of Press at the Office of the President. It is a “charitable” gesture from the point of view of a noble mind. Not every charitable gesture arises from the desire for nobility. This gesture is loaded with deep political under tones. Rarely does the President or a mysterious philanthropist donate cars to individuals for private use and that includes a sitting member of the National Assembly. In any case, our members of the National Assembly are some of the best paid in the Gambia.
After taking the oath office, a member of the National Assembly can acquire their own cars, given the salary and the perks that come with the office. Given the goodwill that our National Assembly members has earned so far, they can easily walk into any car yard in Greater Banjul Area and drive off with a used Toyota Prado and pay later.
There is a serious ethical question that arises from our legislators’ public acceptance of this gift. If indeed they were desirous of a car, they would have insisted on receiving the gift in private. Maybe, they novice in the art of political behavior or loves the publicity that comes with receiving gifts from “important” people in society, who have since opened their wallets to help a “poor” member of parliament.
I believe that our National Assembly members are not poor. They are rich in character and that is what matters. They already assassinated or disparaged that character now. The Gambian people elected them to the National Assembly for their character not their poverty. They elected them with no car and they can wait and serve with dignity. The public, including our law makers have overplayed the poverty card. In the UK, members of parliament take public transport frequently. Mahatma Ghandi galvanized India wearing nothing but hand-woven cotton and flip flops! There are two kinds of poverty in the world – lack of character and lack of material wealth. A foundation of good leadership is built on character not material wealth.
What our law makers must know is that everyone donating “things” to them are seeking favors sometime in future.
From this day onward, our legislators have voluntarily created a political debt in the books of President Adam Barrow and the mysterious philanthropist. Their incentive to go against President Barrow or the mysterious philanthropist, irrespective of what their conscience is, during important debates in parliament, has been taken away by the gift of a car. Both President Barrow and this mysterious philanthropist has ensured that that debt has been captured and written in public records for all and sundry to remember.
Gambia’s legislators have aborted the luxury of exercising their conscience at the altar of a gift from a mysterious philanthropist. A gift from a person no less than the president and the leader of the majority political party in parliament. The journey to court our MPs towards creating corruption and patronage has begun.
Alagi Yorro Jallow
New York City