By Tabora Bojang
Essa Njie, a political science lecturer at the University of The Gambia, has described President Adama Barrow’s state of the nation address yesterday as a mere activity report of an underperforming government because it failed to address the country’s myriad and pressing national challenges.
Mr Njie, who holds a double master’s degree in human rights and democratisation in Africa, as well as security and leadership studies, argued that the president’s address is the ‘worst’ he has ever delivered.
“I called this a mere activity report of a government that has been underperforming for the past six years and has not registered significant improvements or records in addressing the challenges that we are facing as a country. Yes, it is not bad for a government to blow its achievements but as the name implies, the focus of the state of the nation address should have been on the state of affairs of the country, such as the most pressing issues we are facing as a country and more importantly what are the plans and the strategies that the government is putting in place in order to address these things but that was clearly missing in his speech,” Njie observed.
He said the president’s speech fell short of addressing the issue of rampant corruption, a broken economy, high cost of living and the increasing crime rate.
“We see allegations of corruption in our media platforms every day. The president only mentioned that the Anti-corruption Bill is before the parliament and everyone knows that but apart from that what strategies is he putting in place in order to address this cancer to our development? What is the preparation of the government and how concerned is he about corruption? But I am not surprised that the president and the top brass of government are not interested because there has not been any seriousness on their part in the fight against corruption.”
Njie observed that pressing security matters were also not addressed by the president as expected.
“The president did not talk about the security situation of the country. Dirty crimes and banditry are rampant and every now and then we will hear murder cases. People’s lives and properties are not secured. Is the president concerned about this? What does his government have in place to put an end to this? What is the presence of ECOMIG forces in this country? Why are they still here? What are the plans of the government in making sure that the security of the country is given to our brothers and sisters in uniform. The issue of high cost of living, the president always makes reference to Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. We have been hearing this for the past months or years but he should tell us what plans his government has to address the high cost of living and the extreme poverty that our people are facing. We have a dire economic situation and we expect him to tell us what his government is doing to address it? This was completely missing in the president’s speech and for me it was merely an activity report of an underperforming government without addressing the most pressing challenges,” Njie argued.