Mr President: Is it Business as Usual or Business not unusual?


 

Dear Mr President Adama Barrow,

Congratulations on your one year as the 3rd president of the Republic of the Gambia. It was hard and confrontational, however, with a will, determination and togetherness we were able to defeat one of the cruelest regimes Africa ever had. Mr President, just as you highlighted in your recent interviews with the various media and press houses in the country, it will require a great deal of patience, dedication and hard work for the country to emerge from the 22 years of dictatorship and one-man rule. However, I think in order for us to emerge as the world’s envy and move forward as a country, we ought to look back and ask ourselves serious questions. Among those questions are why and how do we end up being ruled by one person for 22 years? And in the answers, you will find that Jammeh had his and the country’s priorities misplaced.

Mr President, the unveiling of a youth movement and a foundation named after you are typical examples of misplaced priorities. In my humble opinion, we as a country does not need a leader who would be indulged in anything that would have a second priority to his job to lead the government and steer the country on the right track. As it is widely discussed or rumoured that you will serve only one term of three/five years, why can’t you or the people behind the foundation wait for you to complete your term then set up a foundation as part of your legacy?

Mr President, most of the former leaders of countries such as US, UK, France, etc all had a foundation, but only when they left office and those who had it before they take office, would either suspend or dissolve it as in Donald Trump’s case. This is no coincidence, however, it is to avoid conflict of interest, promote transparency and accountability. Secondly, you have constituted a commission of inquiry to look into the financial dealings of the former dictator Jammeh and we have all heard how Jammeh or his associates used the foundation to misappropriate the state resources. Now I am not saying you will do just that, but since you are going to be the chief patron of the foundation, any misappropriation of the funds will be your responsibility. Again would it not be prudent for you to wait for Janneh commission’s report, perhaps knowing what they know the report will discourage such practices.

Mr President, you will have people who will argue to the contrary, that it is okay to have such while serving as president. However, no matter how good the intentions are in creating such movements and foundation the negative knock-on effects it creates outweigh its benefits. The foundation may be used as a mean to create partisanship, nepotism and above all fuel corruption that Janneh commission is set up to look into thereby defeating its purpose.

Mr President, you have said it’s not going to be ‘business as usual’ and rightly so because the country needs everyone’s attention and focus in one direction so that the hopes and expectations we had in the coalition would be fulfilled. However, with your Youth movement and the Foundation, is that not in direct conflict with your pronouncement ‘not business as usual’ because Jammeh had a youth movement and a foundation and we all saw the negative effects that had on the country and its meagre resources. As it serves to enrich the few and left the many very poor and your foundation may not be immune to the same mistake. Hence, I asked, is it business as usual or business not unusual?

Mr President, there is no doubt in my mind that you are a good listener which is one of the characteristics of a good leader, please reconsider the youth movement and the foundation to either suspend or preferably disband them now and refocus on the original message of putting the wrongs right for every Gambian. We are watching and I believe you are listening. Thank you, Mr President.

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