By Madi Jobarteh
The news that Mr. Nani Juwara of Nawec was redeployed to Gam-Petroleum from Nawec by the PMO on the orders of an executive directive is an utter abuse of power by the PMO, the secretary general and the Office of the President. None of these public institutions and public officers has the authority to appoint or dismiss or redeploy members of staff of public enterprises or parastatals. Parastatals have their Board of Directors and Managing Directors as the sole authority to appoint or dismiss according to the act establishing that parastatal.
This action by the PMO, the Secretary General and the Office of the President is therefore extremely worrying because this is the same arbitrarily and illegal actions that Yahya Jammeh used to interfere with parastatals hence undermine their efficiency, professionalism and performance and consequently deny Gambians the quality goods and services that these public enterprises were supposed to provide. This is why Nawec failed just like Gamtel or SSHFC among others have never performed well to the satisfaction of consumers due to political interference.
What is even more ridiculous is that Gam-Petroleum is a private enterprise hence how can the government appoint staff for a private company? Clearly this redeployment is another misinformation that the government is hiding behind to sack a public servant. Not long ago the same government said former Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty was redeployed into the Foreign Service only for Mai to refute that as false.
It is therefore highly concerning that President Adama Barrow and his secretary general Dawda Fadera are using the same dictatorial practices and misinformation tactics as Yahya Jammeh. One would expect that Mr Fadera would provide professional and honest advice to President Barrow about public sector management so that the President takes decisions and actions that are in line with the law. But to misguide the President to issue ‘executive directives’ in the management of public enterprises is a clear abuse of office, incompetence, dishonesty, corruption, negligence of duties and disregard of the rule of law.
President Barrow must be informed that ‘executive directives’ are unconstitutional because there is nowhere in our Constitution where such action is provided even in the slightest sense. The idea of ‘executive directive’ is a Yahya Jammeh idea, which is an illegal idea, meant to abuse office and perpetuate corruption. Yahya Jammeh had used ‘executive directives’ just to personalise state institutions and plunder public wealth. Hence Mr Barrow must desist from the use of so-called ‘executive directive’.
By its nature an ‘executive directive’ is an emergency measure to address urgent issues. One would expect the use of such a practice where there are no laws or there was a crisis that must be immediately addressed. But we know that there is always the law governing institutions and decision-making in this country. Secondly the Constitution has no provision for the use of ‘executive directive. Therefore ‘executive directives’ are not only unconstitutional but also unnecessary because there is already a prevailing law, structures and processes through which proper and timely decisions can be taken. So why then create and use an ‘executive directive’?
In fact in his first press conference in January 2017, President Barrow declared that the practice of issuing ‘executive directives’ were over yet within his first 12 months he went ahead to use this bad practice multiple times. By this practice, Mr Barrow is therefore showing us that he is not interested in system change. That would be a betrayal of the expectations of Gambians for electing him in December 2016.
The members of the National Assembly must therefore stand up to tell the president that he has no powers to issue an ‘executive directive’ more so to interfere in the governance and management of public enterprises. The so-called redeployment of Nani Juwara is nothing but a false attempt to dismiss the young man for his steadfast professionalism and commitment to protect the supreme interest of The Gambia in the energy sector. He must be returned to his post as deputy managing director immediately.
All Gambians must stand up in solidarity with Nani Juwara by condemning his so-called redeployment which is a dishonest way of dismissing a public servant who has been known for his hard work, diligence and efficiency at Nawec over the years. Gambians must not stand by to watch yet again our government abuse its power and personalise state institutions. Nawec does not belong to President Adama Barrow. Nawec does not belong to Dawda Fadera. We must not allow them to abuse Nawec as they wish! For The Gambia, our homeland!