Fellow Gambians – I could not keep quiet but highlight the immense urgency with which the new administration in #Freetown has taken to task in replacing the #Old with the #New in an effort to bring about transparency, accountable governance and prosperity the #SierraLeonean people have been yearning for:
In his short time in office – President #JuliusMaada-Bio has sacked all political appointees at the country’s foreign missions including ambassadors and information attachés. He has also retired all those in public service who’ve attained the age of 60, except those under special employment approved by parliament. In what some have described as plugging the holes in the management of the country’s finances, he has further issued an executive order on expenditure control. Finally, there is a moratorium on the purchase of vehicles until a new Fleet Management Policy is established, and no telephone, internet or fuel bills will be honoured for civil servants until a new benefit policy is put in place. All overseas travels including ticket costs must now be within approved budgets of the departments or ministries. All contracts with the state – existing and in future – must be paid in the local currency, with all new contacts having to be cleared by the finance ministry. And all revenues collected by the country’s diplomatic missions overseas must be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Fund with immediate effect – as BBC World Service’s Umaru Fofana report.
All that talk of ‘regime’ or ‘System’ change in the Gambia, we can certainly learn a trick or two from this experiment: Salutations to the new government of Sierra Leone for the speed and admirable vision with which it has taken off with.
The 2018 Sierra Leone story is a welcome addition to the array of competent leaders rising across the West Africa terrain and elsewhere on the continent administering #nationInterest over that of personal: #Ghana #Tanzania #Botswana #Rwanda – too few to name but … tentative steps in motion towards rehabilitating profound ideals designed by such visionaries as #PresidentJawara, #KwameNKrumah, #ThomasSankare and others.
So much that i admire ‘competence’, in a leader, as much as disdain for ‘Kleptocratic rule’ – all too common across the African continent. Yet, we wonder why the ‘black’ is caught up in a ‘permanent’ transit-mode crisscrossing high-seas and continents seeking pastures new?!
In the case of the Gambia, there are serious question marks (???) over the direction of the country for which no one seem to be placed for rational explanation. A ‘clash of personalities appears to have caused a dent to a once solid ‘Coalition’, and that of ‘political patronage’ pushing the divide even wider.
Dependable editor – do allow for a rallying call to civil servants across the country, especially those nexus where money changes hands. Please, learn to exercise restraint and honesty in regards to public money. The Gambian people have suffered far too long, for a country in need of attitudinal change. And that is where ‘Visionary Leadership’ kicks in to guide young minds for a people ‘denied’ of such tools of life as ‘honesty’ & ‘good’, as succinctly laid out by, Nyang Njie, just recently.
If the president had it in him, today, his ‘Cabinet Ministers, Governors, District Chiefs and various government personalities will have crisscrossed the length and breadth of the country visiting schools, ”Bantabas” and such public spaces engage local communities and the country in a series of dialogue (not monologue) build ‘reassurance, instill ‘confidence’ engage the wider public in national planning and building. Mr President, how do you expect a people to love their country, to be quote unquote ‘patriotic’ for a leadership far removed from its own people?!
The government better start waking up to the fact that the Gambia remains one of the poorest countries on earth, carrying an unemployment rate of some sixty (60%) percent or more.
The tragedy of African politics remains a constant worry, for a people & continent of so much promise, but …
As to the rationale why we kept banging on about ‘Ethical Leadership’ and pragmatism as desirabilities in character trait and formula to truly emancipate the Gambian people from pervasive exploitation, untrained leadership and cruel businessmen grandstanding everyday market prices for quick profits. So men are such sinners!!!
Over the years, i have always argued that, as the single most consumable food product in the Gambia, there is a ‘national security’ element to ‘RICE’, and that, its importation should therefore be ‘strictly’ monitored and licensed to a Gambian or Gambian entities. That is no ‘protectionism’, Madam Ambassador Patricia Alsup, but ‘commonsense’ observing ‘national interest’, yes, even in business-ville! The policy shall be subject to revisit and change in the event the United States stop giving subsidies to its big-farm industry and tax-cuts for corporations & the super-rich. Talk of ‘socialism’, America and Western Europe are the most ‘democratic socialist’ countries i have ever met – question is, will the president and his ministers ever learn:
Fellow Gambians – There is ‘nobility’ even in poverty and a great lesson too, if only a wise could relate to the calling. Individually and as a collective, protect and treasure the ‘public money’ where ever its found, and report instances of corruption to both the police and media. More than ever I believe in the Gambia story, for i have seen the country’s young academics, entrepreneurs, doctors & nurses, ordinary men and women sacrifice great wealth and the simpler life abroad, simple because they care too much for country. We say well done ”un jaa raa ma” to those civil servants too serving national interest.
In the grand scheme of things even if mortality remains ever present and a constant thought, one is to be found persistent advocating for utilitarianism values and that of collective good. Just by gesturing with eyes closed, easier even to picture – visions of a food self-sufficient Gambia, at peace and a hub for diplomacy, spared by giant solar lights across the landscape. I envision an educated Gambia, armoured by domestic manufacturing industry adding jobs + wealth to the economy, sustained by a rising middle class, whereby children won’t have to die crossing the Mediterranean Sea for escape into the unknown.
Children, indeed, are the hopes of tomorrow. And if i should have a say in it, the Gambian people shall elect a young statesman under forty (40) at the next general election. With disillusionment on the up, rising to hysteria on the future direction of the country under a lost ‘coalition drivership’, from the get go i’d advised the president to be mindful of ‘vested interest’, and to police his own ‘legacy’ if he is to administer a ‘successful’ term. Where are we heading? Please, turn to Gambian talent for advice in all that you do, and not abandon you people, nor only rely on ‘Darboe’ for major policy-decisions of national importance.
I finally call on all Gambians by extension to humanity – hold tight onto faith for it is the only shelter we have got left in a world of much uncertainty. Politicians shall always bombard your ears with unfulfilled fine tunes and blueprints left to gather dust at a desk or cupboard somewhere – the corrupting influence of money + politics, despite raising the unconstitutionality of an ‘investment desk’ @ State House – to the chagrin of my UDP interlocutors.
Gibril Saine Twitter: @gibbysaine