The deadliest disease that is threatening to engulf The Gambia is not the one that requires medical attention. The most pervasive disease in The Gambia is corruption. The grand corruption in public working places is indescribable.
In our public system, it is rare to come across men of true virtue. Most of the people in public office are corrupt to the core. They consider their corrupt ways to be the accepted norm. Here and there, a few genuinely upright citizens find themselves among these grossly rotten tomatoes. But a great struggle awaits them when they want to change the ways of the corrupt people in order to bring decency to the fore.
Such citizens of goodwill are met with stiff resistance either in the form of bullying or of character assassination. Therefore, those honest citizens are left with two choices – either to relent and join the bandwagon or to run the risk of being fired from their post by their incompetent leaders.
Minister Ahmadou Samateh is one of those rare gems that The Gambia is in dire need of. He is indeed a man of virtue and a deeply concerned son of the country, for he was not afraid to face being sacked.
Only a virtuous man would not fear being sacked by revealing the truth. Despite the odds, he boldly went on to expose at the National Assembly the sheer corruption in his ministry by revealing the corrupt manner in which the coronavirus allowance distribution was planned. He was never deterred, even though this might have jeopardised his position. Sadly this has often happened to others after they have stood up to fight corruption in their departments only to have their corrupt colleagues close rank and resist all attempts at reform by honest people, thus cutting short the good work embarked upon for the nation by those with integrity.
Over the years, a few bosses were sacked because of their stern stance against corruption and their aims were always to revitalise their offices by fighting to combat corruption, but they ended up being shown the exit door by the government. We know very well that these disreputable workers that undermine the efforts of those incorruptible bosses that tried to reform their workplaces for the betterment of the country more often than not have some powerful elements within the government behind them.
For indeed, Minister Samateh’s famous revelation at the National Assembly manifested the love he has for the country and the highest degree of selflessness in him. He could have connived with those miscreants in order to enrich himself as well as safeguard his ministerial position, but all that counts as nothing to him compared to the wellbeing of the Gambia. Every right-thinking Gambian owes him thanks and appreciation for his sincerity and love for the country. This is what every true citizen of the country shoud do at all times.
But his well thought out action would not come as a surprise to anyone that knew him already. The competence, selflessness, integrity and dedication that he shows are his constant guide. The plain truth is that he is not one of those folks that were handpicked for their job for their family or party connections, but Minister Samateh is rather one that fits the cap that he wears. His bold action proves that he merits his position as the health minister, even without that ministerial position he would still have a million things to do with his life, such is his expertise and competence. This is what happens when you give a job to a friend of the job and not a friend of the employer.
Though, I am remarkably impressed by the overwhelming support thrown behind Minister Samateh by my fellow Gambians, I still urge decent citizens who have the interest of the country at heart like Minister Samateh to stand up and be counted. We must not accept that men like him should be bullied or deposed from their well-deserved positions by angry corrupt people that only fight them because of their own selfish ends. We should all show our solidarity with Minister Samateh as well as all those that might follow in his footsteps. Let us celebrate them like they mean the world to us. For if they win, The Gambia wins but if they are defeated The Gambia loses too.
Omar Kaddy Bah
North Bank Region