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Friday, January 22, 2021

Mai says threats to fire ‘disloyal’ civil servants impacting performance

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By Omar Bah 

Former Interior minister has condemned threats to dismiss civil servants and ministers who are not supporting Barrow’s political agenda, saying it is drastically impacting government performance.

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“It is very frequent to hear senior government officials threatening to fire civil and public servants for not supporting the political agenda of the NPP. This has now introduced serious pernicious influence in the attitude of public servants, drastically impacting on performance and service delivery,” Mai Fatty told The Standard in a detailed interview.

Addressing NPP supporters on 10 November during the party’s victory celebrations at the Arch 22 in Banjul, Tourism Minister Hamat Bah warned his fellow cabinet ministers and civil servants to support President Adama Barrow’s political agenda or risk losing their jobs.

“As in the days of the dictatorship, progress in the public service is once again seen to be based on political loyalty and not competence. Stability of tenure in the public service is once again under severe threat, just as in the days of the dictatorship. The old game in town is restored where a civil servant has to have a ‘godfather’ to placate the president’s inner circle or serve at your own peril. No wonder service delivery is poor across the board,” Fatty said.

The GMC leader said instances where people are fired without due process or proper cause are becoming too common. Also, he added, there are increasing instances where people are being unconstitutionally hired.

“These are all reminiscent of the dictatorship. The recent constructive dismissal of the Governor of the Central Bank, is clearly illegal, and contravened the Central Bank Act. The appointment of a successor was clearly illegal, against the law and undermined the autonomy of the CBG,” he said.

He said the appointment of his successor Alkali Conteh as special adviser directly from the Public Service Commission is “knowingly unconstitutional”.

“There are far too many instances of illegality that border on dictatorship, and contrary to good governance. Dictatorship is about a system of governance, not just jailing, torturing or killing people,” he added.

The Barrow administration, Fatty stressed, has a very constructed, convoluted idea of what constitutes good governance.

“For them as long as citizens exercise some modicum of free speech and association with reduced arrests, torture or imprisonment, there is good governance. This, to some degree exists in The Gambia, not out of the benevolence of the regime, it is imposed. This government dare not engage directly in the reprehensible practices of the past simply because as citizens we will not allow the government to cultivate such excess power. It has however manifested clear signs of dictatorship that must be mowed down before it grows out of bounds,” he noted.

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