By Madi Jobarteh
Fatu Network. Kerr Fatou. Harona. EyeAfrica TV. The Trumpet. The Chronicle. Foroyaa. The Point. Standard. The Voice. GRTS. Gambia Daily. West Coast Radio. Star FM. DHK. Paradise FM. Hot FM. QTV. Gainako. All Radio and TV stations and newspapers and all Journalists! Hear me out!
Section 207 of the Constitution says you should hold The Gambia Government accountable on behalf of the people. Therefore fulfill your constitutional duty to let citizens know why is our public money being used to build a police station in the President’s village by a public enterprise that has no such mandate at all.
As a citizen I hereby demand that you all visit Mankamang Kunda immediately to find out how much public money has been spent on that village from January 2017 to date, legally or illegally.
GPA Managing Director Ousman Jobarteh’s press release raises so many questions even before one talks about its misleading content. Is Mr. Jobarteh trying to tell us that if the Chief Justice or the Governor of CRR or the Minister of Education etc also sent a request to build a courthouse or community market or classroom blocks respectively then GPA would fund that as well? And they would call such funding ‘corporate social responsibility?’
The MD said his institution is funding the building of 3 police stations but only a request for funds was shown for only Mankamang Kunda. So where are the funds request for the other 2 police stations? How much does this total project cost?
The MD either fails to realize or decides to ignore that GPA has no such mandate regardless of what they perceive to be ‘corporate social responsibility’. GPA is not a private company nor a government onto itself such that it can decide to spend public funds anyhow!
The Media needs to find out who decides the revenue raised by GPA and for all public enterprises for that matter. Is it that public enterprises could just decide how to use their revenue without the involvement of their line ministry and the National Assembly? What threshold of spending could the MD and the Board incur or not? We need to know this!
Also, why is the GPA spending millions of dalasi to build a police station in a tiny village that is not known for crime? There is no doubt that this a politically motivated project simply because it is the village of the President.
What makes this project even more perplexing is that ferry services are in dire infrastructural decay that one would expect that to be the topmost priority for GPA and not to build police stations. Why are they therefore building police stations? The media needs to interrogate the entire process of how this contract was awarded to ensure that it was transparent and clean.
Finally is the Office of the President aware of this project and what is their position? Last year we saw GPA pay only 5 million dalasi dividend to Government which they attribute to the new democratic dispensation hence the increased business environment.
The last time GPA paid a dividend to The Gambia Government was in 2014 amounting to 1.5 million dalasi. In 2013 there was zero dividend! We know that the leadership of GPA is notorious for funding events and projects associated with the President since the days of Dictator Yaya Jammeh. Hence it is no surprise that the leadership of the Authority has yet again got involved in a project that involves the President!
Therefore why is GPA spending millions on a police station when it is expected to pay a dividend to Government which that same Government would be using to fund The Gambia Police Force. Therefore one may ask, what is the Office of the President saying about this matter? Did they reach an agreement that this funding of police stations will be subtracted from the 2019 dividend or not? Our media should therefore pursue this matter.
If media fails to follow the GPA and The Gambia Police Force to determine the appropriateness of this project then the media are woefully failing in their duties.
One other reason why the media should follow on this is because of the failure of our political parties and the National Assembly to effectively hold the Government and its institutions to account. This matter should have seen our political parties jumping through the roof!!! Unfortunately and sadly they remain quiet!!
Similarly the National Assembly should have immediately summoned the MD GPA and the IGP and their line ministers to a public hearing. After that fact finding exercise the National Assembly should next impose sanctions on anyone who is found wanting. This is how abuse of office and plunder of public resources would stop. But certainly the National Assembly will also not do that. Sad and unfortunate.
Therefore fellow citizens, let us put pressure on our media to do their lawful job to actively and fully investigate and scrutinize the Gambian State! Let us support them in this endeavor knowing full well this is in our best interest. But also begin to engage your National Assembly Member to take action.
We cannot and must not allow another Kanilai scenario to be created in this Gambia ever again! The leadership of GPA must be told that they must stop propping up tyranny in our country. They have done enough of that in the past and we do not expect them to continue on this shameful path anymore. Why can’t the GPA leadership demonstrate professionalism and uphold patriotism and protect national interest?
No to another Kanilai. Mankamang Kunda is NOT SPECIAL!
For The Gambia Our Homeland