By: D. A. Jawo
It appears that the first shot has been fired for the campaign for the forthcoming Local Government elections, with the Barrow administration targeting the biggest fish; the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC).
However, even the dumbest person knows that the objective of the commission of the inquiry set up by the Minister of Lands and Regional Governments for the KMC is to do everything they can to wrest the Council from the United Democratic Party (UDP) and get rid of Talib Ahmed Bensouda, to bring the richest municipality under their control.
It is quite obvious that getting control of the KMC is worth anything to this government. Despite being in control of the executive, and most probably poised to take control of the legislature, they will never be satisfied until they capture the biggest and richest municipality because that is where their main interest lies.
To most members of the Barrow administration, the KMC is the biggest prize worth every drop of their blood and as such, they would utilize every trick in the playbook to get rid of Talib, including using former mayor Yankuba Colley to help them use the tricks that the APRC had been using to get the municipality under their grip for over 20 years.
There is absolutely no doubt that the Talib administration had been the most successful that the KMC municipality has ever had and it is in the interest of the entire country that Talib should be given the support that he needs to continue with the good work he has embarked on.
However, when we recall how the Ministry handled the corruption scandal involving the former KMC Chief Executive Officer and unsuccessfully using all possible means to get her re-instated, despite overwhelming evidence against her, it is obvious that the target had always been to rid of Talib at whatever cost. This commission of inquiry is therefore the latest attempt to achieve that objective.
This blatant form of political suppression of those who hold contrary views to his administration is certainly neither in President Adama Barrow’s own interest nor in the national interest. It is sending quite a negative signal to the Gambia’s development partners that rather than embark on a genuine fight against corruption, the government is bent on witch-hunting its opponents and those who hold contrary views.
There are of course many other corruption scandals that deserve commissions of inquiry than the KMC. We have recently, for instance, heard about the millions of Dalasi of COVID money allegedly squandered at the Ministry of Health as well as the Gam Petroleum fuel saga, and yet nothing is being heard from the government about those scandals let alone set up commissions of inquiry to reveal what had happened.
D.A Jawo is a veteran Gambian journalist and former Minister of Information