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City of Banjul
Saturday, July 13, 2024

RE: Administrators for the municipalities of Banjul and KMC

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Let me add that Barrow is learning lessons from how the government in Dakar is treating the opposition in Senegal, where you lived for many years and do know the politics there far better than I do.

See how Macky Sall has been dealing with the local authorities there since he lost the local government election there, and after he lost in a bigger way the last legislative election, which gave the opposition near-parity with the governing coalition in the country’s National Assembly – same as in Gambia?

Now that is a historic development as it was the first time it’s happened since Senegal’s independence in 1960 – same in Gambia?

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You do know that right now the local authorities in Senegal are complaining that the central government of Macky Sall is sitting on the annual subvention, and not making available to them the annual transfers of funds as mandated by law; as well as dragging its feet in handing over a whole lot of other aid they should receive from the central authorities in Dakar.

It is obvious that by such action Macky Sall’s ruling coalition is engaged in what is called to “cut off your nose to spite your face” – meaning “to do something when you are angry that is meant to harm somebody else, but which also harms you” (OED).

That is the situation faced by the municipality of Dakar headed by Bartholomew Diaz of Dakar, Ahmed Haidara of Guediawaye and in Ziguinchor headed by Ousmane Sonko, as well as several other Senegalese mayors chosen by the people in a democratic process to be their local government leaders.

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I’m sure you also know that since the opposition came into the National Assembly in this big way, Macky Sall has now decided, among others, that Senegalese MPs will no longer be getting state-provided vehicles and the related perks etc., but only transport allowance.

Indeed, since the Senegalese masses through both elections showed their disillusionment with Macky Sall and his coalition partners, Macky Sall has been giving the Senegalese people the finger – “to raise your middle finger in the air with the back part of your hand facing somebody done to be rude to somebody or to show them that you are angry” (OED).

Thus it happened that during the current budget session for Senegal’s substantially increased 2023 national budget of 6000 billion FCFA – which is based on projected revenue from the start of the export of oil and gas in 2023 – the opposition in parliament decided not to vote for this new government budget.

Well, as you know the annual national budget in every country reflects the sitting government’s plans and programs for the country – which the opposition obviously would have planned and programmed differently if they were in power.

And, so logically and naturally they cannot endorse the sitting government’s budget. It’s that simple and clear-cut!

However, that couldn’t and didn’t stop the budget being passed, but the opposition in parliament has made it clear to the people that they do not agree with the entirety of recurrent and development expenditures stipulated and envisaged in 2023 by Macky Sall and co – the drafting of which budget is strictly and legally (constitutionally) the prerogative of Sall’s government in power.

Well, that is how matters are – politics at play everywhere. As I indicated, Adama Barrow and his advisers definitely do watch very closely what their counterparts are doing in the neighbouring state and elsewhere.

However, it’s expected that they copy best practice, but not engage in the exercise of political power in ways which hurt and undermine the democratic will of the people!

Alieu Famara Sagnia

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