By Omar Bah
The leader of the Gambia Moral Congress has warned that due to the lack of a proper system of accountability in government and institutional incompetence reigning, the Barrow administration must be voted out in 2021.
“We cannot continue like this. It has to stop, and not beyond 2021. The decline must cease next year, and we must tie our belts to invent a new momentum. I am convinced that as Gambians, we will end this negative cycle next year,” Mai Fatty told The Standard.
The former Interior Minister said a mere reading of various government and development partner audit reports will corroborate “this truth in terms of public procurement and tenders.”
The system, he added, is pretty much a replica of the dictatorship.
“Official documents prepared by our development partners have all attested to this truth, with an admission of minor improvements,” he added.
Fatty also expressed dissatisfaction over the country’s lack of national cohesion, arguing that the Barrow administration must not go beyond 2021.
“2016 brought Gambians of all walks of life and political persuasions together to launch a New Gambia. Within four years, that national unity has all evaporated. We cannot continue like this. It has to stop, and not beyond 2021. The decline must cease next year,” he added.
Fatty, who also once served as presidential adviser, said the country is more polarised today than ever before because the governance system destroyed the foundations of national cohesion.
“Tribalism is flourishing more in today’s politics than the days of the dictatorship. Using politics to divide communities and families is a tactic that is visibly at play by the new administration. We are a deeply divided nation, and this government is incapable of uniting Gambians. Instead, it is further dividing our people based on political considerations,” he said.
Fatty added: “The 6% to GDP debt is a first in the history of The Gambia. It is full of misplaced priorities. I agree with the Finance Minister that their methodology is a revolution. It is a revolt against decent economic theories; it is a revolt against poverty reduction; it is a revolt against accountability and transparency; it is a revolt against the future of our country.”
The budget items, he added, such as consultancy of nearly D700 million in one year, far exceeds the budget of many critical sectors. “It is robbery.”
“We’ve seen the official distribution of donkeys in parts of the farming communities across the country by the Ministry of Agriculture. Well, sadly that is the new agriculture policy of primitive mechanization. We ate back to the promotion of farming methods used centuries ago. Are these people serious? There is more that may not be shared due to confidentiality reasons. However, this country is not going the proper direction,” he said.
The GMC leader said the Barrow administration erroneously makes it sound as “we are against infrastructure development. No we are not. What value are roads if the management of the economy is putting thousands of people deeper into poverty? What value is infrastructure when institutional incompetence reigns as a result of zero reforms in the civil service? What value is infrastructure with not more than 15% of the population mobile, with 69% of rural poor and half of urban poor? What value is infrastructure with conflicting and inconsistent macro-economic policies dealing regarding productive sectors?”
He added: “Meat and bones are outside the affordable scope of the majority of Gambians. Our nation’s health is at risk. Health faculties, medical supplies and health personnel are nothing to write home about. Education is more quantity than quality and even there, jobs are unavailable with no end in sight.”
“Young people are being intentionally marginalised under the new budget estimates. Higher education budget has been sliced and children of poor parents will not afford university education,” he concluded.