Newspapers reports have it that the Government of the Gambia sent a Bill to give certain perks to former presidents to the National Assembly. In fact, it has been reported that the National Assembly has already passed the Bill. The perks mentioned in this Bill are so generous that many citizens have raised concerns over it.
While some citizens see it is necessary as it is a common practice in many countries, many have expressed the view that it is always necessary to keep the country’s economic condition in mind when designing such allowances. The economic condition in the Gambia currently is such that citizens will find it difficult to stomach such generous allowances for former presidents.
The prices of commodities have skyrocketed while the people’s earning power has stagnated. One just needs to go out of one’s house to observe the stark poverty and want in the country. When one is in a position to deal with people, talk to them and listen to their woes then one will realize the dire situation people are in.
There is lack of employment among the youth and this has led to a surge in young people risking their lives in rickety boats just to reach the shores of Europe as they see that as the only way to succeed and live a dignified life. Many have lost the hope and belief that they can live comfortably in the country.
There are those of course, whose reason for objecting to this Bill is the fact that the former president Yahya Jammeh has been adversely mentioned in the report and recommendation of the Truth, Reparations and Reconciliation Commission (TRRC) that it will not augur well for the country’s Transitional Justice system if he were to receive such perks.
While it is important for former presidents to live a good life and not want as this will give them something to look forward to and thus discourage the syndrome of self-perpetuation, it is important to always remember the people from whom, and on behalf of whom, governments are working.