APRC political rally: A threat to Barrow’s legitimacy
The trajectory of African politics clearly shows that the failure of states to provide basic social provisions, health care, and transport infrastructure lead to the loss of legitimacy of political executives who finally succumb to the will of their people. Because basic needs are great expectation of citizens from any political party that wins governmental power.
This is clearly indicated in Alex Thomson’s book, “An introduction to the study of African politics” published in 2010. The united MMD in Zambia for example defeated Kaunda, the alliance pour la Democratic Au Mali helped oust Traore, and alliance for democracy in Malawi saw Banda out Thomson, 2010. The coalition in the Gambia oust Jammeh to end his self perpetuation, but who tell you that Barrow cannot be ousted like mentioned personal and self perpetuating rulers if he fails to provide Gambians the basic social provisions? Muhammed Morsi of Egypt was democratically elected, but was forced out from the palace when he failed to properly represent the will of his people. So there is a possibility for Barrow to leave the state house if he fails to address the basic needs of Gambians.
No explanation can be entertained for the disastrous power and water supply by the state because the effects are so severe and unacceptable.
However, the massive attendance in a political rally organized by Alliance for Patriotic Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) on Saturday 28TH October, 2017, shows how discontented Gambians are with the current governance due to serious shortage of power and water supply. This may lead to total disassociation of citizens from state activities if immediate measures are not quickly taken by government to meet the basic demands of the citizens. It can be cut in salaries of the political executive starting from President Barrow, reduction in foreign travels, seeking assistance from friends of the Gambia to gather money and come to the rescue of NAWEC for better power and water supply.
A national forum can also be organized where problems of the government with regard to power and water can be highlighted and possibly open an account for donation by citizens to immediately solve this issue because every sector of the economic can be severely affected and people can run out of patience at anytime.
AS Thomson 2010 advised, political leaders should always heed Afrifa Gitong’s advice: democracy is founded on full bellies and peaceful minds. It does not make sense when the tough is given freedom whiles the mind’s freedom is not given.
Gambians ousted Jammeh because they show the coalition government’s policies and programmes as an alternative to Jammeh’s brutal rule and self serving policies even though he registered tremendous achievements in the area of health, education and infrastructure to some extent.
We must do enough to transform our political culture of bickering and underdevelopment to that of development.
University of The Gambia
The NAWEC quagmire: A taskforce needed
One of the top priorities of Barrow’s government is – should be – to rebuild the economy. This is a great concern as it was completely destroyed during the latter part of the reign of the previous government. One can even say that the Gambia was almost bankrupt. The coffers of government were almost empty and the reserve was nothing to write home about. The cost of living skyrocketed and basic commodities became too expensive for the ordinary Gambian.
There is no doubt that majority of the people of the Gambia had very high hopes (some realistic, others not) that the economy will turn round quickly. This was palpable everywhere in the country as people sought to find ways to improve their living conditions. At one point, when the government announced a reduction in the fuel price and later the transport fares, some thought that it would be a beginning of a new wave of economic prosperity.
However, the constant problem of water and electricity was like a stab in the back. Certainly, investors play an important role in the economic development of a country. When investors come to a country, employment is created, the economy receives a boast and the cost of living becomes bearable. It is true that we have a problem of unemployment and having investors come here and invest in our country will contribute to the creation of jobs.
The problem is that this cannot happen where there is a lack of constant energy supply. When people want to invest in business only to discover that the electricity is not stable, they change their minds and take their businesses elsewhere. So, the NAWEC quagmire will definitely lead to the loss of many prospective investors. That will be a minus for our fragile economy.
It is true that we have seen an improvement in the supply of electricity in the rural areas due to the cooperation between NAWEC and SENELEC; but in the urban areas it has even become worse. Initially, we were told that after Ramadan the electricity will be stable, later they said October (it is November now), then it was December; and now we have started hearing about February. When on earth will it be?
You see, every now and then we read in the newspapers that NAWEC has signed this or that agreement with this or that country for 49 million pounds, dollars or what not; but this only goes to increase the anxiety among the populace. What with corruption and embezzlement!
In my humble opinion, the government should constitute a taskforce to look into the root cause of the problems of NAWEC. This taskforce will investigate, recommend, and suggest ways to solve the problem of electricity and water once and for all. The population is becoming more impatient every passing day.