By Alagie Manneh
In the wake of serious car accidents across the country and in an attempt to making sure government vehicles serve expected lifespans, government must work to employ qualified and experienced drivers for National Assembly Members, a retired chief driver has advised.
Mr Lang ‘Pura’ Sanyang said government vehicles, especially those belonging to National Assembly Members, are being controlled by family and close relatives of the lawmakers, most of whom he argued, are not competent or qualified drivers.
According to him, these vehicles cost a lot of money, hence they must be properly managed.
“As an experienced driver working for the government for so many years, it is my opinion that government should look for and employ experienced and qualified drivers for the vehicles of the National Assembly Members,” the former chief driver of the Ministry of Agriculture, said.
“Let them appoint professional drivers if they wish the vehicles to last long and stay in good conditions. It is not fair to us Gambians that these NAMs give these vehicles to their relatives and friends who are not qualified to drive them.”
Mr Sanyang, a resident of Brikama, made this call several weeks ago after the vehicles were handed over.
Since he issued his warning, sources have told this paper that at least 15 of the vehicles have so far been involved in accidents involving at least a fatality. Some of the vehicles have been written off.
In August this year, President Adama Barrow’s government allocated Fiat Chrysler Toro trucks to all members of parliament, except for PDOIS party members, who were reluctant to accept the offer.
It was the first time official vehicles have been given to legislators en masse in the country.
But Mr Sanyang, 63, believed the allocation of those vehicles to lawmakers will be “a waste of government resources” if the drivers are chosen based on nepotism.
“I see this happening every day,” he responded when asked if he knew of any NAM whose vehicle was being driven by an unqualified family member.
“Even the accident at Jah Oil [petrol station in Brikama, a month-and-a-half-ago], the driver, who was an MP from Baddibu, was not a good driver and he was in fact talking on the phone,” Sanyang alleged.