By Kebba Ansu Manneh
Sidi Sanneh former Gambian cabinet Minister and renowned Diplomat has observed that the protest by Diaspora Gambians against President Barrow and his delegation currently attending this year’s United Nations General Assembly was an unfortunate but expected event given the circumstances that led to it.
He noted that the protest was a culmination of failed promises of the Government of Adama Barrow during his first term of office, a trend that looks not abating based on policies rolled out in his second term of office.
The highly rated former Gambian Diplomat made this observation to The Voice Newspaper barely 48 hours after Gambian Diaspora staged its first ever protest against President Adama Barrow and his government citing reasons such as rampant corruption, high cost of living, price hikes, high rate of crimes and murders in the country, high rate of maternal mobility as well as an inconclusive number of drug and cocaine cases among others.
According to him, the list of policies and programs the President failed to implement is the restructuring of both the civil and public services, highlighting that President Adama Barrow not only insist on maintaining the status quo but reinforced it by stocking his government with A(F)PRC stalwarts of the Jammeh era which signals the continuation of his policies.
He added that Barrow continued to entrust his entire legislative agenda in the hands of Honourables Fabakary Tombong Jatta and Seedy Njie in their roles as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively. He said protesters gathered in New York are the very same Gambians who fought the entire 22 years of Jammeh’s brutal dictatorship only to watch the Barrow administration rehabilitating the very same people who almost caused civil strife during the “Impasse”.
“The message the Diasporas is sending to President Barrow and his government is that there must be a complete reversal of his current “policy of appeasement”.
He must embark on a serious, comprehensive restructuring of the civil and public services. The Janneh Commission and the TRRC recommendations must be implemented and a new Constitution is put in place.” He added: “The government must address, urgently, the rampant corruption that poses a threat to the security and viability of the state.”
Also speaking to The Voice Newspaper is the Youth Leader of Gambia Democratic Congress (GDC), Mc Cham Jnr who expressed his delight at the first ever Diaspora protest, hinted that it is so far, the biggest Diaspora Gambians protest held by Gambians against a sitting President.
He observed that even though the number of turnouts may not be huge but the protest is also the first ever protest held against President Barrow, observing that in the previous years of the President’s travel to the USA, Gambians used to buy Asobes to welcome him but not this time when he has been greeted with protest.
“The Diaspora Gambians used to buy Asobes to welcome the President but if we see them today protesting against the same President it tells us that all is not well. I think this should be a wakeup call to the President because the whole world was able to see and know that Gambians are no more darling of President Barrow,” Mc Cham Jnr observed.
He added: “As for me the number of people who turn up for the event doesn’t matter even if it is one or two but the message is what is more important. The protest has exposed the regime to the world by citing the difficult living conditions of the citizens, lack of drugs in public health facilities, hiking prices, and increasing inflation as well as the killings and murder cases that are daily happening in the country”.
He commended the protesters for turning up for the protest due largely to the economic, social, and political situations in the country that are becoming unbearable to average Gambians, calling on other Diaspora Gambians to follow-suit in pressuring the government to address the many challenges the citizens are going through.