By Madi Jobarteh
A close study of the nature of the movements within the civil and public services clearly indicates that this is not a decision meant to promote and protect national interest. Rather this is yet again another misdirection and misstep by President Adama Barrow to weaken the government machinery thereby injure national interest for his own personal political objectives. All Gambians and especially our political parties must come out to demand that these deployments be stopped and reversed forthwith.
Look at the case of Muhammed Manjang at Social Security. When the man came to that institution he was able to raise profits, reduce waste, increase pensioners’ benefits and transforming the institution for the better. Why would anyone therefore move Manjang only to take him outside of the entire civil and public services to a tiny marginal commission over there? What is the rationale and value of this deployment?
If the reports out there are anything to go by Abdoulie Tambadou was also said to be doing a good job at GPPA. Why then take him out of that place to Social Security where there was another man already doing a good job there? Why? By taking Manjang to the Senegalo-Gambia Secretariat means this government is throwing the man out of the orbit of the entire socio-economic development of this country. At Social Security, Manjang was in the heart of the social and economic development process of this country as he was protecting workers’ money and giving them back better pension. Therefore, what Barrow did is to deny and injure Gambian workers who have been working like donkeys all their lives!
The government spokesman said these deployments were intended to bring about efficiency in the civil and public services. Is he telling us then that both Manjang or Tambadou were inefficient in their former institutions? If that is the case, then the best decision was to sack them and not to take them to another institution with their inefficiencies. Or is it that Tambadou is expected to do better at SSHFC and Manjang will also do better at Senegalo-Gambia Secretariat? Mr. Ebrima Sankareh please answer these direct questions!
One can also look at the Ministry of Trade whose Permanent Secretary Lamin Dampha knows nowhere other than that ministry. From the lowest level he rose through the ranks to become the PS over the past twenty years. He is reported to be effective and efficient. He has the institutional memory and is indeed a human library on trade, employment and industry in this country. Was he inefficient? Was he ineffective? Was he underperforming or corrupt such that one would move him? Ebrima Sankareh tell us!
Similarly, Salimatou Touray need not become any Deputy Secretary General since she is also a veteran in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Such people should be left in their positions so that their institutions continue to benefit from their experience, expertise and wisdom, while they become mentors for young professionals. If indeed they were inefficient then there is another solution to that than moving them to another institution.
Therefore, this decision by the government is baseless and a direct threat to the building of efficient and effective state institutions. While President Barrow has the authority to make some of these appointments but let him know that such decisions should be well informed and geared towards serving national interest only. He cannot just use his own whims and caprices to take decisions that weaken the state as a whole.
At this time, it is necessary that all political parties and Civil Society Organization (CSOs) rise up to take a definitive stand against this bad decision. Our political parties and civil society must not sit by watching the President make terrible decisions that will injure the stability, continuity and performance of the state. A weak state is a direct threat to our human rights and human development. For fifty years this country could not prosper simply because of such interferences with the state machinery. It has to stop.
It was this kind of disingenuous, baseless and politically motivated interferences with the civil and public services by Yahya Jammeh that he succeeded in weakening and corrupting the entire governance and development system of this country. The price was too costly. If you don’t know look at the Janneh Commission Report.
Therefore, Gambians must not sit by to have yet another President to just get up at anytime to interfere with the civil and public services indiscriminately. That’s instability and an unstable and weak government is a recipe for continued poverty, stinking corruption and perpetual underdevelopment. Any country that does not have an efficient, effective, highly competent and well performing civil and public services cannot serve its people well. Unfortunately, this is the direction that President Adama Barrow has taken with our civil and public services. Stop him.
What we expect President Barrow to do is to create and maintain a highly professional, merit-based, transparent, accountable and responsive civil and public services in order to better serve Gambians. Anything less must not be accepted by Gambians. Stand up against this decision.