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Saturday, December 4, 2021

On the social security saga: Lessons:

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Over the weekend, President Adama Barrow had decided to reinstate Mr Muhammadou Manjang as the managing director of the Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation.

A few months ago there was a protest by a section of the staff of the SSHFC. The protesters demanded the removal of the managing director as they accused him of many underhanded dealings and some financial mismanagement.

Following the protracted ruckus, the president appointed a commission to look into the issues at the corporation. This commission was tasked to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation and submit a report within one month. They fulfilled their obligation and presented their report to the president.

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A week or so later, the Office of the Ombudsman revealed that Mr Manjang had of course mismanaged some funds and urged him to repay such amounts to the corporation.

Despite that, the president took the bold step of reinstating Mr Manjang as this was the recommendation of the commission he set up. In addition, it was recommended that some form of punitive measures be taken against the workers who were involved in the protest. Thus, Mr Mamadou Carama, the spokesperson of the protesters and president of the staff association was sacked with immediate effect.

What this has shown is that The Gambia will now favour strong institutions instead of individuals. This was one of the promises of the Coalition Government that they will reform the institutions and enhance democratic governance.

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It is important to note that this step goes to show that there is willingness to strengthen institutions as that is the only way we will cement our nascent democracy and follow due process.

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