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Saturday, September 23, 2023

The minister’s resignation


Being a minister or entering ministerdom as I call it is a graveyard for many consciences in this colonial space, we were told should be called The Gambia. While some become ministers after they have already massacred and buried their conscience, many of us only lose our conscience once we get a cozy government job. The moment many of us become ministers in The Gambia, we run a serious risk of losing our conscience! And that is because being a minister is one of the sweetest positions in The Gambia. That’s why many of those who are selected as ministers will say and do anything to please the person that made them minister.

You can imagine my dismay when I read that Abba Sanyang, one of those tyranny and dictatorship enablers recycled by Adama Barrow, has resigned. The headline reads: President Barrow accepts Minister Abba Sanyang’s resignation. Because resignation is a crime in The Gambia, I had to find out why the former APRC man turned NPP henchman decided to resign. They told us that Mr. Sanyang’s resignation effective 1st July 2023 is for personal reasons “contravening his position as a cabinet minister.”

I decided to look up the word contravene to see if it has a different meaning from the one I know. It took me some time and research to conclude that saying the minister resigned for personal reasons contravening his position as a cabinet minister simply means Abba Sanyang did something that his boss didn’t like. And since Abba Sanyang was working for Barrow, only Barrow and those in his circle know what he did that contravenes his position as minister. If that doesn’t tell you that you the people only have power on paper but not in reality, I don’t know what it will take for you to see that. Imagine your employee (Abba Sanyang) doing something wrong and getting fired by his supervisor (Adama Barrow) but the supervisor refuses to tell you the boss why he fired the employee!

But whatever Abba Sanyang did shouldn’t come as a surprise to Adama Barrow and his circle. I mean it’s not as if corruption is a novelty in that orbit. Abba Sanyang, a man who was instrumental in the tyranny of Yaya Jammeh is the same man who was pretty much indicted by an audit report in 2022 when he was Governor of Central River Region. From opening a business and funneling government contracts to his own business to claiming inappropriate expenses, the Barrow Government knew all about Abba Sanyang. But since Barrow said audit reports are only opinions, no one cared to follow up on that report. Instead, Sanyang got handed the whole ministry! I can guarantee you that whatever he did this time, it’s not his first time doing so. He must have made someone high up within the NPP very angry and that takes some doing.

Anyway, since we don’t know what happened and our almighty statehouse people won’t tell us, let’s gather and speculate and feed on the rumors swirling around. Someday, our smart communications experts in the statehouse will learn that where there’s a lack of information clarity, you essentially open the doors for speculation and rumors.

But back to this resignation. I read a piece on Whatsongambia that says a source within the NPP told them Abba Sanyang pocketed money that was meant for the NPP! One person I know also sent me a message saying he spoke to some government insiders who confirmed that the man indeed pocketed some money meant for the NPP! Is this allegation true? If so, I feel for bad Abba Sanyang because this is not the first time, we hear accusations of others pocketing what’s not theirs within the NPP. Moreover, In The Gambia, pocketing what’s not yours is not really a crime if what you pocket belongs to the public! Stealing often only matters where it concerns petty thieves. The ability to steal from the public is seen as a blessing of sorts!

Having said that, If you’re going to steal, you have to be smart about it. It’s very important to know who to steal from, when to steal, and how to steal. If you steal and donate to the president’s campaign, you will be fine. If you steal and pocket the money all by yourself, someone will report you. Most importantly, you have to learn to share the loot because if you don’t, some disgruntled fellow thief of yours will report you. Gambian thieves are good at reporting one another when they don’t get their share of the blessed loot. And when you’re reported, other thieves will judge you as a bad thief and kick you out of the thief group! You’d have engaged in actions that contravene your position! May we all be smart thieves! May we all be intelligent thieves. May we continue to point fingers at other thieves while shielding our own. May we continue to call others corrupt while we play the saint. May we continue to ignore the cancer of corruption because we think it doesn’t affect us. May we continue to promote corrupt people into positions of power over us so they can continue to enjoy life at our expense. And when these people engage in personal actions that contravene their positions of power over us, may the person you gave all your powers to simply let them walk away free. Please don’t say, Ameen. Instead, let’s all pretend that we love our people so much that we will never steal from them or tolerate those who do! There is a reason Gambia is where it is today. I am about to go look in the mirror! Maybe you should too!

Alagie Saidy- Barrow

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