On the charges themselves, I find it very interesting that there are people today, who criticised Jammeh for favouritism, financial indiscipline and disregard of the law, ready to defend President Barrow against the same criticism, even where the critics have a genuine point.
Take the case of two security chiefs, for example: CDS Ousman Badjie (Jola) and IGP Yankuba Sonko (Mandinka). Both served Yaya Jammeh very well and Sonko, being IGP, is more culpable in Jammeh’s rule of terror, than CDS Badjie because it was the Police that were arresting people and handing them over to the NIA.
They were also denying opposition parties, especially UDP, permits to conduct their activities. Yet, it is CDS Badjie, a Jola officer, who is removed and replaced by a Mandinka officer, Masanneh Kinteh, who is also another Jammeh era CDS.
How does the administration defend such a policy? I am not saying that the decision is tribally motivated, but an explanation is required when others make the same claim.
How about disregard of the constitution? It is now 100 days since President Barrow assumed office, but for whatever reasons, he has not appointed a VP, though he is required to do so to have a constitutionally completed cabinet, as the constitution states unambiguously that: “Cabinet shall consist of the President, Vice President and Ministers. ”
The VP is also the constitutionally mandated official to represent the President in the National Assembly. So it is clear that the constitution intends for the VP to be in office by the time the National Assembly is constituted. Isn’t charges of disregard of the constitution genuine in this instance ?
We also learn that in addition to the huge bill incurred by the public treasury, due to the continued residence of President Barrow at a hotel, the coalition Government dished out up to D40,000 to each candidate of the coalition partners at the recently concluded National Assembly Elections. It is not clear if this money came from the Public Treasury, but surely, a government that claimed to inherit empty coffers should know better than spending so much money on campaigns.
Pa Nderry Mbai is perhaps the most vociferous critic of the coalition right now, just as he has been against Jammeh, but I don’t think anyone would believe that Pa is doing this because he didn’t get the job he thinks he is entitled to. He has genuine concerns and he should be engaged to address his concerns, if they are genuine or refute them, if baseless.
Gambians have very bad experience with our last two governments and we are right to be “paranoid” when we see signs of the past creeping back again. There are reports that President Barrow is embarking on a 4 nation, 5 days tour to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Nigeria. If this true, then we are right to question the financial discipline in this government. There’s work to be done and it’s time for our President to concentrate on the job at hand.