Opinion: The Importance of Transparency
By Musa Bah:
Following the startling revelations by the former vice president of the Republic of The Gambia, Madame Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang (regardless of whether they are true or not), won’t it prudent for there to be a provision in our laws making it binding on the president to reveal the reason for sacking of a cabinet minister, at least in some particular cases which do not compromise national security? To me, it seems that not telling the public does not prognosticate well for our efforts to be transparent and accountable.
Madame Jallow-Tambajang claims that it was the current minister of Foreign Affairs (then the ambassador to the United Nations), Mr Mamadou Tangara and Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, former minister of Foreign Affairs and vice president, who masterminded her sacking by giving wrong information to the president.
This decision, according to Madame Jallow-Tambajang, was based on a one-sided story and as a result she felt disappointed and betrayed by the president. Is she justified in having those feelings? Well, the answer to that question will largely depend on the type of relationship the two of them had.
But nonetheless, one would have expected the president to confront her with the ‘facts’ as he would have thought of them at the time.
We have also seen the president sack Mr Mai Ahmad Fatty, former minister of the Interior without revealing what he had done (which is within his right as per the current constitution) only to rehire him and appoint him aSpecial Adviser to the president. The interesting thing is that when Mr Fatty made certain statements in the media, someone at Statehouse came out to say that if he (MrFatty) doesn’t keep quiet, they will spill the beans.
This insinuated that they knew something that Mr Fatty did which he would not want to come out in the open. If that is so, then reappointing him will send the wrong signal to the citizens that the government officials are in the habit of covering up for each other while they continue to enjoy the spoils of high office.
Perception is very important in politics and a government should try as much as possible to ensure that the public has a good perception about it and not do things which will send a wrong signal about its intentions and (in)actions.
It is said that the best detergent is sunshine. Instead of allowing people to use their imaginations and conjure up some nonexistent conspiracy theories, it will be prudent to give out information (credible, timely and accurate) to avert the inevitable denials and counter denials.
If Mr Tangara and Darboe willfully deceived the president to sack Madame Jallow-Tambajang then that says a lot about them and the Gambian people deserve to know so that they (citizens) will know how to deal with these twoin future.
Similarly, if Madame Jallow-Tambajang deliberately tried to tarnish the images of these two gentlemen, then the citizens should also know so that they can deal with her appropriately.
What all this goes to show is the importance of accountability and transparency in governance. You cannot not tell the people of the particular commissions or omissions of people who are expected to man public offices in the country. All this will do is to erode trust in politicians and public officials.
There is a need to cleanse our body polity and seek to regain the public trust as without it, it will be very difficult to attain any meaningful progress.
Editors note: Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjur Online. Got an opinion article? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com