It has become a norm – an unwritten law, if you like – for government appointees to declare their assets before, or shortly after taking office. In the Gambia, this has never happened before though the public has long desired this. When the new government made it known that one of their priority areas will be to promote democracy and the Rule of Law. One branch of the promotion of democracy is transparency.
It was announced to the media and the public that the ministers of state will declare their assets by mid-July. This was welcome news which was hailed by all and sundry. However, up until now, this most important exercise has not taken place. The latest information has it that it has been postponed till further notice.
It is true that this exercise is not mandatory, but it is a good practice which will certainly promote a culture of transparency and accountability. This exercise promotes trust between government officials and the general public. It will ensure that the people of the country have complete trust in their government officials and this will make their work that much easier.
It is hoped that the honourable ministers will hasten to come out and declare their assets to the people of the Gambia. The postponing of the date to declare assets will only go to implant doubt over their commitment to transparency in the minds of the general public.
We call on the president to reiterate the importance of this exercise to his ministers and urge them to come out and declare their assets.