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City of Banjul
Saturday, August 8, 2020

On Meet the People Tour: Are civil servants required to go?

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The Constitution requires the president to go and meet the people and converse with them yearly to have firsthand information about their needs and aspirations. This tour is designed for the president to find out from the citizens what their needs are so that the government can find ways to resolve them.

However, it has now become a norm that when the president is traveling, he goes with many of the civil servants who might not necessarily be needed in such tours. The president goes round with almost his entire cabinet and a good number of the civil servants with the result that many offices turn to ghost offices during this time of the year.

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Another abnormality is the fact that many – if not most – of the vehicles in different government departments are comandeered to go on the tour. This handicaps many offices as many of the government departments do not have enough vehicles in the first place. So, commandeering these vehicles will leave the offices almost immobile and that affects their work tremendously.

As a result of the above, whenever the president goes on his Meet the People Tour, the offices in Banjul and other urban areas are all but closed down as there would neither be people to man the offices nor vehicles to run the errands. This is counterproductive and will not serve the interest of the nation.

It would have been better if government were to identify the people who would actually be needed to give technical information and advice to the president on the tour, if need be, and go with those instead of everyone tailing the president.

This has a double negative impact on the almost depleted resources of the nation as work will be at a standstill and the travelers will still have to be paid their allowances. This goes against the grain of cutting cost and economizing the little resources that the nation has.

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