By Kebba Ansu Manneh
A group of concerned Gambians known as the ‘Coalition of Progressives’ has challenged President Adama Barrow on numerous issues affecting the development of the country which include rampant corruption, price hike of basic commodities, lack of employment, and economic hardship prevailing in the country.
According to the concern group in its dispatched press release to the press, “if President Barrow fails to address these pressing national issues by November, we will stage a national protest to send a clear message to the government.
“The supreme duty of the President is to address the concerns of the citizenry. But President Barrow is gradually shifting his duties and responsibilities because of his desire to succeed himself thus cementing self-perpetuating rule in the country just like erstwhile former President Yahya Jammeh.
“We the citizens of this great country are gravely concerned about President Barrow’s increasing carefree attitude of high youth unemployment, rampant corruption, and corrupt public servants all because of his desire to succeed himself and cement a self-perpetuating President in the same manner as the erstwhile government.
“We are writing this letter with great disappointment that the President’s increasing politics of deception towards citizens continues unabated which threatens and undermine the survival of the many Gambians some of who even voted for him in the last Presidential election.”
The statement added: “We are further concerned that Barrow seems to be predominantly focusing on his political future rather than addressing the sufferings and the terrible living conditions of many citizens. The challenges facing the country and his lack of action to fight corruption, transparency, and accountability is greatly impeding the progress and development of the country.”
According to the statement, it is the responsibility of the government to find positive solutions to the immense suffering of the Gambians under the watchful eyes of President Adama Barrow, arguing that the persistent suffering of the Gambian people is due largely to bad governance, endemic corruptions, and total abuse of office by trusted public servants.
“To account and to promote a culture of honesty, integrity, and sincerity in our public offices we stand against government greed, selfishness, patronage, corruption, and dishonesty. We are calling the president to act immediately on the following concerns before November 2022,” the group warned.
The statement added: “We are calling on the President to institute immediate measures to ensure that the prices of essential commodities especially staple food are controlled and be matched with the basic income of ordinary citizens.
“To immediately constitute an independent investigation taskforce to look into the illegal opening of the special security account and D669 million of the public funds spent on vehicles and furniture without following the right procurement procedures as stipulated in the 2017 audit report.”
The group continued to caution government ministers and Presidential advisers trying to discredit and undermine the National Audit Office thus misleading the general public to kill transparency and accountability.
The group further called on the president to further act immediately on the recent national audit report of the Banjul roads and sewage rehabilitation project by handing over the report to the Inspector General of Police to open investigations and possible prosecution of perpetrators.
Meanwhile, the group further demanded that the President publish the report of the joint task force that was set up to investigate the burning of the Ministry of Fisheries and Water Resources in 2020, reminding the President about the robbery and the scandal that hits Gam petroleum in 2021, which led to a massive shortage of fuel throughout the country.
“Who stole the fuel worth over $25million is still unknown to the detriment of the Gambian people. We are also calling the National Assembly to prioritize the Anti–Corruption Bill and pass it into law on or before November 2022,” Coalition Progressives demanded. It added: “We are rising by calling for a massive decentralized protest if our demands are not addressed on or before November 2022.”