Sulayman Jeng
Birmingham, UK


Jumma Mubarak Your Excellency and all my audience. My sceptics will crucify me today for faulting my promise to discuss NAWEC. My choice of espouse is most often dictated by the burning issue of the day. Accordingly, I will deliberate on the President’s nationwide tour “to thank Gambians for voting him into office and campaigning for the coalition candidates” and Hon Ba Tambedou’s press conference. Although I am very critical of President Barrow, my intent is to see him succeed and leave a legacy that every Gambian will be proud to merchandise. As a result, I will not mutate him into a mediocre leader by mystifying him and/or excusing his shortcomings. The argument many of his sympathisers advance is his government is in its embryonic stage and the system he inherited from a repressive monster is rotten. Remorsefully, that is his fortune besides that is what he is elected to fix.

President Barrow averring that he will be campaigning for a NAM coalition while consciously alert that it is non-existence as he emphatically reinforced in his interview with France 24 that there is a “Tactical Alliance” which he endorsed is misleading and inappropriate. He further elasticated his alignment with the new found tactical alliance as it enlivens political parties compared to Independent Coalition NAM candidature. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), on its part, wasn’t economical with the truth when it unequivocally punctuated “There is no coalition NAM candidates and the President is independent”.


It went on to certify its assertion by buttressing “it will be inappropriate and cumbersome for President Barrow to politic for any political party”. What actually baffles me is few weeks ago, the government instructed Governors to abstain from active politics in their official capacities and banned government apparatus such as vehicles to be used to facilitate political inequality only for the President to use state resources as an incumbent to campaign for his coalition team. Isn’t this a clear manifestation of selective justice and marketing of inequality of the equal?

How we comport ourselves, choices me make, values we uphold and relate with others constitute how others perceive and posterity notches us. As such, it is prudent for President Barrow to be mindful of how he wish to be remembered after his leadership. You have a precious advantage by virtue of being every Gambian’s passionate Sweetness contrasted with your predecessor. With such germ, whenever you come out to debunk or validate an issue, it will generate targeted desired results. For instance, the issues of tribalism and divisive political canvassing. Fatou Camara of the Fatu Networks noted with caution, “Albeit President is in the midst of his elders, it is mandatory for him to take charge of leadership of the nation”.


However, it is essential to add, this does not by no means insinuates he must not solicit and take advice from his elders and close associates. But remaining quiet while his cabinet and the political climate are in disarray protrudes him as an ineffective leader who is micromanaged. This brings me to the next subject of touching base and connecting.

The Minister of Justice, Hon Ba Tambedou, public expose that his ministry hasn’t been consulted for the second time in couple of weeks on matters of legal dispensation is very unsettling. Apart from the two instances sinking in drips of legal and procedural blunders, enunciate disconnectedness between President Barrow’s cabinet and coalition partners. One is left to infer the lack of touching base and connecting with one another through effective communication is borne out of total disregard and/or mistrust. Some missed to spot the chaff from the grain hence opined there was no need for Hon Ba Tambedou to wash the cabinet’s dirty linen in public and suggested such matters be resolved in house.


Inappropriately, the underlying disadvantage of adhering to such secrecy is when it backfires, the victim becomes the felon. Similarly, given Hon Tambedou’s reputation in the International Community as a seasoned Legal Luminary working for a government boasting of three Legal Luminaries yet prone to legal blunders often picked by a trained sociologist is disquieting. True, the police do not need to alert even the interior minister prior to effecting an arrest where there is commission or reasonable suspicion of a crime.


The police can hold a 72 hour charge of a suspect while carrying out investigation and with sufficient evidence, can charge and arraign a suspect before a competent court of law. It is also important to note investigations might not in all cases that are arraigned before a magistrate completed. Most often than not, such arraignments are to solicit more time for holding charge and/or remand the suspect to complete investigations where bailing the suspect will compromise evidence to prosecute. However, there are other instances where the police and intelligent services are required to inform the executive and related ministries before effecting arrest. For example in terror or treasonable cases such as the Osama Bin Laden scenario.

Another effective means of touching base and keeping connected with one another is creating ministerial websites and Facebook pages. With such means, each of the ministries can on a daily basis update the populace on their undertakings. The populace, on the other hand, can also engage the ministers by ways of comments, complaints and suggestions. Should ministers use their personal Facebook pages to relate official matters? It is not appropriate for a minister to use a personal page for official engagement with the public. Hon Mai Fatty must be commended for engaging the public on official matters. Now that he has a Press Secretary taking care of media related issues on his behalf, he will concentrate more on carefully assessing the legality of anything he intends to officially undertake. Even President Barrow should also have an official website and Facebook page.

Mr President, until Monday, have a very pleasant weekend and a successful nationwide tour.