Commentary: Who is in control in the face of worsening cost of living crisis in The Gambia?
The Gambia, bogged down in corruption and deepening cost of living crisis causing hunger, economic misery and instability, but, where is the President of the country?
Is Barrow a ghost president who is only in power but not in control, amid rampant corruption, cost of living crisis and myriad of other crisis?
The cost of living crisis is biting, and spreading uncontrollably from the country's periphery to its centre. Thus, more people are facing skipped meals, and/or going a whole day without eating - meaning getting hungry.
A bag of rice which few months ago cost D1,250 or less, is, now costing D1,750 and increasing at the behest of shopkeepers, considering the basic salary of many civil servants is barely D5,000.
This costs of living crisis if not curbed, will continue to have damaging health consequences for many people in the country, including increased occurrences of crime, stress, immorality, mental health, diabetes, heart diseases and other issues.
The deepening of hunger and food insecurity has accompanied the shrinking spending power of many people in the country. This will also affect economic activities as the purchasing power of people will be reduced affecting many businesses.
The Gambian currency - the Dalasis is not doing well against the Dollar. Also, glaring at us is an acute foreign exchange crisis that need intervention to be fixed. Public debt is skyrocketing under President Barrow and unemployment remains stubbornly out of control.
The real value of workers pay has been falling for years as wages are outstripped by inflation.
Rising fuel price makes it difficult for local vegetable gardeners and other ordinary Gambians who have very little access to public transport, to travel to sell their produce to the urban areas.
The situation is appalling and getting so much worse. The surge in costs of living, the corruption and the inaction of the president belied hopes that this will be a temporary crisis.
Nevertheless, Barrow kept an oppressive shtum, when the country is clamouring for a leader. But, where is President Barrow?
However, the government is right to point out that many of the forces driving up the costs of basic commodities are global and affecting other countries.
This argument is true to some extent but other factors bedevilling the Gambia are home made and are begging for local answers. Where is President Barrow?
This is a social emergency and the president and his administration should show us that they are equal to the serious challenges the country is facing.
Hence, it is high time for the Barrow administration to take responsibility and acknowledge that through their corruption, inefficiency, carelessness, selfishness and party political expediency, they have expanded and intensified this crisis.
The results of their inaction is causing more people to starve. There is wary that many Gambian households will be destitute - unable to afford basics, unless government change their lacklustre approach towards mitigating the cost of living crisis. Where is President Barrow?
It is unfortunate that through largely government corruption, mismanagement, inefficiency, leadership failures and carelessness, the Barrow government have condemned more Gambians to hunger.
The systematic crisis of the country will continue as long as Barrow stays in power. Because he is implicated in the creation of the woes of the country.
In this respect, president Barrow’s fading leadership is a symptom of much wider crisis. The Gambia is hurtling, unstoppable, towards economic ruin. Where is President Barrow?
It is unfortunate that even with the great procession of corruption, incompetence, and the privation of citizens caused by our government, people are still divided on trivialities like tribalism.
This tribal inanities are dished out by the powers that be - who are responsible for our misery as a people, in order to divide us and keep the wool over our eyes so that we can be distracted from holding them accountable for their failures to make the country a better place for all.
However, divided as we seem, we will come together in the nick of the time to pull off a concerted front that will ensure sanity prevails in the country for all.
Because the self interest of each of us is best pursued by advancing the common interests of all individuals in the country.
Ebrima Scattred Janneh (EB)