By Kebba Ansu Manneh
John Charles Njie, the Chairman of The Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in the Gambia (TANGO) has extended an olive branch to the Government of President Adama Barrow to organise a National Dialogue that will accord him and his Cabinet Ministers to go face-to-face with the citizens and discuss the ever-increasing problems the country is grappling with.
He made the statement at a Joint International Monetary Fund (IMF) and United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in The Gambia with the Themes: “Living on the Edge” and “Managing the High Cost of Living and Food Insecurity in The Gambia.”
The event was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center on Friday 4th November 2022.
The Tango Chairman also bemoaned the lack of a drugs testing laboratory in the country that led to the loss of lives of more than seventy (70) innocent children in the country. He said it is very shameful to see the country hiring an expensive chartered flight that airlifted its delegates to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) but yet cannot provide a basic drugs testing laboratory.
“I called on our Government through the Honorable Minister (Seedy Keita) let us seat as a people and talk to each other, we can solve the problems of this nation. No Minister should see himself as more Gambian than a businessman or that one in civil society, we are born here, we have a stake here and we are ready to solve the problems of our country. So, lets us seat together and talk as a family as one people,” TANGO Chair extends Olive Branch to the government of President Barrow.
He added: “We (TANGO) have called for a National Dialogue to reprioritise and chart a way forward. Let’s do it together for the love of this country because this is our motherland and we love The Gambia.”
Chairman Njie observed that the huge expenditure done by the government to airlift a high-powered delegation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) would have been used to provide the necessities of the Gambian people.
He said it is pathetic to make such expenditures in a country that even lacks a drugs testing center leading to the death of more than 70 children at the nation’s hospitals.
“Can this Government tell us from 2017 to today how much has been spent per Minister per travel, per diems, and air tickets? I challenged you the journalists go and do the research, let’s have the tabulations. Could that money have been used for the necessities of The Gambian people?” John Charles Njie, former Executive Director of PRO-PAG advised the Government to spend wisely.
He added: “Seventy (70) lives that could definitely and would have grown up and become our scientists and our politicians have gone unanswered. What we have not understood is that there are numerous allegations of corruption that have been going on unanswered, what we don’t understand is that after fifty-seven (57) years of our post-independence, we cannot feed ourselves, our women continue to die in childbirth, local businesses continued to shrink, a nation where the meeting of our necessities continues to elude us, we need to rethink the country’s priorities.”
“Our politicians, you continued to amaze us, you bemoaned the existence of corruption in our dear motherland yet you have the power at parliament to hold the government accountable, and right before you is a bill to check corruption from 2019, what urgency have you given to this we looked upon you to address the issue of corruption with urgency,” he enunciated
He added: “To our President and his team of Ministers take a difference, look around you, see, hear and feel the pains of the Gambian people. The nation is hungry, the nation is angry.”