By Madi Jobarteh
It is not only dangerous for a President but also for a country to have widespread public disillusionment with his government! So far the level of public discontentment with the Barrow Government is at an alarming proportion! Such discontentment is not only a national security issue but it also fundamentally and severely undermines good governance and sustainable development.
Hence Mr. Barrow needs urgent advice to salvage himself and bring the country back to the path of the high hopes that Gambians had when we decided in 2016! His blind and vigorous pursuit of his future political objectives at complete variance with the agreement and expectation that brought him to power is costing the country and citizens dearly and certainly he will not succeed in that project!
History will only absolve Barrow if he realizes that he must remain faithful to the deepest aspirations of the people that brought him to the high office. He must not just pursue his ego and seeking to associate and listen to only those individuals who will continue to massage his ego as they did with Yaya Jammeh! Just as this did not serve the interest of that Despot in the long run so also will Barrow fail woefully if he wishes to cheat Gambians!
Therefore to salvage himself and to demonstrate commitment to a New Democratic Gambia Pres. Barrow must change course immediately by taking urgent and critical decisions and actions that will set the path to bringing about system change and thereby generate public trust and confidence in his leadership and Government.
If indeed Barrow has genuine and patriotic advisors and if indeed public officials that are around him are learning any lessons from the past then they must advise him to undertake these decisions and actions with urgency and seriousness!
If he fails to listen or refuses to take these decisions and actions I would advise those advisers and officials to resign so as to prevent them from being part of another disastrous project that will harm the country and to protect and preserve their integrity, credibility and conscience!
1. Be open, truthful and honest to Gambians by sharing full, timely and accurate information on all issues with Gambians!
2. Conduct a comprehensive civil service reform to address indiscipline, inefficiency and corruption and transform the civil service into a true engine of national growth and development.
3. Conduct a comprehensive security sector reform to cleanse our security institutions of all vestiges and practices of the past to transform them into true instruments of protection and security for the people.
4. Interdict security officers who confessed at the TRRC for either engaging in or condoning torture until after the TRRC to decide their fate. This will send a strong signal to all rank and file security personnel that never again will abuse be tolerated and for all senior officers to realize that they must not issue unlawful orders to junior ranks.
5. Interdict public officials who confessed at the Janneh Commission for breaking the General Orders and Financial Instructions until after the Janneh Commission to decide their fate. This will send a strong signal to all public servants that they bear the greatest responsibility to uphold the rule of law and protect public resources under their lawful care.
6. Close down NIA until after TRRC so that victims and citizens in general would trust that indeed Barrow is committed to system change and particularly to the Never Again agenda.
7. Interdict, retire or dismiss key enablers of the Dictatorship from Cabinet and strategic positions in the security sector and the civil service including the foreign service. This will send a strong signal to all public servants to realize that when you hold public office your allegiance should only be to the people and you will perform your functions according to the law and not to dance to the whims and caprices of any superior officer.
These actions are necessary to demonstrate to Gambians that indeed Barrow intends to have a clean and an accountable government that meets the needs and aspirations of the people. It will serve to generate public trust and confidence in him as a president and as well serve as a lesson to all security officers and public officials that abuse of office, corruption and disregard of the rule of law will not be tolerated!
With these actions Barrow would have cleansed and purified his government to become a true instrument of the people. So far it is clear that indeed Barrow is utilizing the Yaya Jammeh textbook because he has surrounded himself with former Jammeh enablers who push him towards that agenda in pursuit of his selfish political interests. He has also surrounded himself with new people who lack conviction and are prepared to entertain his selfish agenda to hold on to power by any means even unnecessary.
Barrow needs to push out all former and new enablers and surround himself with Gambians with conscience who will guide him towards national salvation and progress!
While he is yet to do that it is however pertinent to remind all public servants that there is absolutely no excuse for any public officer to abuse power and misuse your office in the name of executing orders and claim ignorance!