You Are Gambia’s Problem Not President Barrow

By Sulayman Jeng

Hold your horses until you finished reading the article before marketing your emptiness.

A Ugandan challenged as thus, “The biggest problem of” Gambians “is this illusionary belief that they could change” the Gambia “by voting a different person into power. It is this belief that all problems of a country start and stop with the President. That if we could just have the right man in power, then all of a sudden”, the Gambia will plunge into transformative development. This myopic notion is what is equated to chasing a mirage or better still awaiting the arrival of some kind of a wishful miracle. Sadly, miracles are had to come by.

The actual problem of the Gambia is not President Barrow. Pause a second and ponder from where does President Barrow come? Is he not from within? The problem of” The Gambia is her “citizens, our shared values and mentalities. The day” Gambians wakeup, and stop looking for the enemy and realize that they themselves are “Gambia’s “problem is the day we shall get closer to finding a Gambian solution.

For instance, as Gambians, “we lambast our representatives in public for collecting brown envelopes. In private, we drain our MPs. We invite them for funerals, for various ceremonies and expect them to contribute out of their pocket to save us”. Ironically, isn’t it?

Similarly, “We decry the corruption in the country yet we bribe to get our children in the best schools. We bribe our way out of police tickets. We have no respect for traffic rules. We are every evil we see in the president and his team. Every ill you can diagnose in” President Barrow “and his government, you will find twice or thrice the magnitud in a” Gambian citizen. We complain of government incompetence, yet go ahead to champion incompetence in every aspect of our lives where government has no control.

I often ask myself; if the public sector is too incompetent, how come the private sector has not been any better? How come you are more bound to have a misdiagnosis in a private hospital than in a public hospital?

Newspapers “write stories everyday that highlight government incompetence. Yet, there will never be a single day where you will pick up a newspaper and fail to find an error on every page.

Perhaps one day as” Gambians “we ought to self reflect, and look within and realize, that we are the demons we are trying to fight. If President Barrow “and his government were the only incompetent people and everyone else was competent, then” the Gambia “would be a scandinavian country of sorts. Why don’t we have world class restaurants in the country? Why is it that customer care sucks in private institutions just as it does in public institutions?

Furthermore, the “same people who complain of poor working conditions run slavery rings in their own homes. The day maids of this country decide to speak out, we shall be shocked at the evil they sustained in our homes. I now suspect that our anger, our rants, our complaints about the system are all because this system is a daily reminder of our own incompetences, our own weaknesses as a people. What this government has done is hold a mirror up to the” Gambian “society and we are not happy about our own reflection.

Our shared beliefs, mindsets and values have been constructed in such a way that regardless of the president in power, we shall always produce substandard. It is not a problem of presidents. It is a problem of the citizens. But we are too scared of self-criticism, we have dabbled in escapism and found scapegoats in our leaders.

As Plato wrote in the Republic; “like man, like state.” We can’t expect to have better leaders until we are better people. You can’t create great companies without great employees. It doesn’t matter how great the CEO is, if s/he has crap employees, s/he will have a crap company”.
Culled from Facebook


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