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City of Banjul
Saturday, June 25, 2022

Corruption and the reaction of the executive

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A common theme of public compliant towards the past governance period was cries of rampant corruption to the extent, in some cases, of pointing fingers directly at individuals within the executive. Allegations of inertia towards publicly expressed concerns were quite common.

Accusations or allegations against public servants are not a simple question of whether they are true or false. They are mainly issues of accountability or simply a matter of trust. In other words, they are a way of exhibiting the level of public confidence. Normally, that should be good for governance as an opportunity for assessing performance. Paper can be as valuable as its weight in gold or so worthless and meant for the dustbin – ’tis all a matter of confidence.

Generally, for the politician, allegations and criticisms should best be resolved or tackled by raising the level of confidence. That requires providing counter convincing arguments that would debunk the allegations. For example, where a particular procurement process may be alleged as being not transparent or considered as outright corruption, it only requires proving that the process is indeed above board and that the outcome is the best in terms of pricing and qualification of the winner. It is a question of raising concern for an efficient use of public resources.

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Naturally, it should be borne in mind that the counter arguments are being presented to a very rational and intelligent public with a curious and inquisitive mindset (except for the sycophants). Brushing issues under the carpet does not clear the odious smell of suspicion. They keep lingering and raising their ugly heads of enquiry once in a while. An unsatisfactory response or deafening silence on such allegations only reinforces the suspicion.

The content and expression of the response that is delivered, and indeed the body language, timing and place of delivery are of relevance to gauging the authenticity, sincerity and plausibility of the counter arguments being put forward.

A recent outburst by the executive on an individual and the media has attracted a lot of negative reactions at several levels of society, locally and internationally – with some even regrettably making a jest of it in some international media outlets.

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Sometimes, it is important to put into context the circumstances of the delivery of a political response in order to understand the underlying mindset.

It is no doubt true that the current economic trajectory is not the best anticipated by a government. The price hikes of commodities (fuel, food, etc) and the general cost of living are existential in nature. The recent global effects of Ukraine only add to the preponderance of the challenge. That can indeed generate an extensive display of paranoia in any leadership and thus expose the underlying and inherent fears of possible or potential outcomes – politically and socially.

The comments of the individual with regard to corruption in government may only be an expression of the last straw of the imminent concern of the repercussions of a failed economy, especially where no clear and effective strategies are in place or are observed.

The tirade of the executive on this auspicious Holy Day of Celebration is no more than a reaction to and an expression of a greater underlying fear of failure of economic management and a lack of clear-cut and expressed strategies to contain the fallout, especially for sitting duck economies of small economies. Was it also a reaction that may be considered an assault on a “blue-eyed boy” who seemed so ruffled?

Generally, it appears to be a direct delivery of the thought of possible, if not probable, failure to deliver on the economy and perhaps on political promises too. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The new lease of political life provides the opportunities and challenges for delivering to the public – and with the best of luck.

Lamino Lang Coma

Brikama

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