President Yahya Jammeh’s former ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction (APRC) party last weekend made its first political comeback at the Buffer Zone. Like any Gambian, the party whose government left behind unimaginable pains — human rights, psychological and financial — on Gambian taxpayer, is now given permit to hold mass political rally. Contrary to the Yahya Jammeh era when opposition would be denied permit or sabotaged with power outages as they held rallies, the APRC conducted its political rally freely. They exercised their constitutional right to freely assemble and talk about issues that concern them. Isn’t that not the beauty and sweetness of democracy? But these are the basic rights that Equatorial Guinea asylum seeker denied the opposition, particularly the United Democractic Party from enjoying. In fact, the APRC loyalists at the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) guaranteed uninterrupted electricity supply around the Buffer Zone throughout the rally period. These are the same civil servants who deliberately create constant power outages, in protest against Yahya Jammeh’s forceful ouster. The water and power outages are meant to make the Coalition government look horrible and inefficient in the eyes of Gambians. The APRC supporters had been using the problem as a political tool, blaming the government of not providing stable electricity and water supplies, despite receiving huge donor money. Whether the government is aware of it or not, but the sabotage at NAWEC is at an alarming stage. It has been brought to our attention that some NAWEC employees have started disconnecting taps of Coalition supporters. In one case at Kotu, NAWEC employees told a lady whose tap was disconnected that “this is the price of celebrating Wee Barrow.” Why would a customer who owes no arrears have his/her services be disconnected for such a flimsy excuse? In a New Gambia, we don’t deserve civil servants who politicise their work. They are a servant of all Gambians. As such, they must be ready to serve all Gambians, irrespective of their political, religious or tribal affiliation. Any one who cross over the bias political bridge should be dismissed to serve as a deterrent to others.
Indeed civil servants are to serve all citizens of the country. For that matter, partisan political action is a betrayal of the people they are appointed to serve. We should put all negative differences aside and embark on nourishing the democratic aspirations that both sides are proclaiming.
It is not only the partial dispensation of services based on political affiliation that could crumble and disrupt our plans, endeavours and collective intrests, but ugly head of tribalism and sel-centred aspirations are something to watch out for.