Opinion | The only certainty in President Barrow’s government is corruption, failures, and chaos
Updated: May 22
When dictator Jammeh's government was defeated and booted out of the Gambia, we believed, dictatorship and the most chaotic days of Jammeh government were over.
But naively, our political gains were usurped by those who anointed Jammeh with the straitjacket of dictatorship. They adulterated the political trajectory we hoped would transform the Gambia and spur the country’s development for the better.
But political selfishness, party political expediency, and people brimming with ideas sloughed off their hands and allowed amateurs to stir us in rough water.
Hence, Gambians should accept blame for allowing Jammeh incarnation of Barrow to remain abusing the country. President Barrow’s unfitness for office was never a secret. He admitted this fact at the embryonic stage of his presidency. But because of infighting, individuals and factions unable to resist the temptation of appeals to ethnic, regional, and religious loyalties, the inexperienced president was hijacked by Senegal, economic mafias and former dictator enablers.
For Senegal, this is her chance to achieve their long-time objective – to have Gambia as a vassal province. And the time is now with a president bereft of ideas, knowledge, experience, and confidence.
To enablers and economic mafias, politics is nothing but a racket to steal money from the poor. This can only be achieved by dictatorship with all the mechanisms in place.
However, President Barrow, having no ideas and running out of credibility, after jettisoning perceived political enemies, looks set to spin the wheel and put every failure on the party he crashed off - UDP and anyone to hold him and the government accountable.
Corruption? Blame the Auditor General. His failures? Blame it on UDP. His toxic politicking? Blame it on the opposition and the media. Youth unemployment? Blame the youth. It is always someone’s fault. It ends up being a government that refuses to take any responsibility for their failures.
Consequently, his failures, his corruption, his lack of any coherent policy framework, and his inability to govern makes the Jammeh years to feel like the good old days.
It is thus my contention that Barrow and his government immensely contributed to the crisis-ridden psychodrama that Gambian politics has become.
Because of a lack of sophistication, he failed to separate himself from the havoc wreaked by the Jammeh regime and its coterie of enablers on the country.
Herewith, his only policy preoccupations are to cling on to power to continue plundering public resources through divisive politics and, by all means necessary. His government is, therefore, incapable of avoiding scandals and crises. On this drive, they are not just out of touch with the public - they are also out of touch with each other.
Alas, the president’s indecision, ineffectual winging, and fractured splits condemned us all to dash towards a worsening crisis. With this, I do not think there is any acceptable solution to the catastrophic leadership of Barrow, no way back or forward.
That is why mayhem is unleashed on the country from all angles. On the crisis in the health care services, we are going backwards. People, including women, are dying needlessly at childbirth without a tweak of an eyebrow by the government.
The single sharpest influence on the public mood at the moment is out of control inflation. This is inflicting the most severe crunch on living standards because most of the peoples’ earnings are not keeping pace with the soaring cost of living. But, for President Barrow, the solution is to blame Covid-19 and now the Ukraine-Russia war and to spew any spoon-fed hokum given to him.
Mr. President, all these chaos won’t magically sort themselves out. But, what is your response? To crack down on media, and endlessly bothered about staying in power than the solutions to the issues facing the country.
To mask your catastrophic failures, you attacked diaspora Gambians. The hypocrisy, considering the role the diasporas contributed to catapulting you to the State House, is numbing, to be honest.
Instead of doing more to realise the economic benefits of diaspora Gambians, you childishly reduced the office of the president into a pantomime - attacking, ridiculing, and sneering perceived enemies.
The remittances the diaspora contributes to the country’s GDP is a vital lifeline for many Gambians, and you are aware of this. The diaspora remittances have helped reduce poverty in the Gambia and have led to increased involvement in health, education, and housing.
They are now crowd sourcing assistance to strengthen service delivery mechanisms in different communities for all to benefit.
Although we contribute more to remittances than foreign direct investment and are the voices of the country, we do not have a solid role in the country’s governance.
What we have, though, is the freedom to harness the power of social media platforms and our influences to give credits where they are due. In your case, the diaspora uses social media platforms to hold you accountable as a president.
Need I remind you, Mr president, that social media platforms were among contributing factors for elevating you from nowhere to the position of presidency. But now you are on the hot seat, the social media suddenly is the problem of the Gambia.
Mr. President, with social media bringing Gambian voices to the fore, gone are the days when leaders can get away with malgovernance, corruption with impunity without being held accountable.
In addition, social media platforms provide diaspora to share their solutions for the Gambia. Also, to raise funding to help pay for the sick and funding projects in the country.
Mr. President, the chaos and failures are unedifying. They are an unhealthy ratchet effect that drags all of the country into disrepute.
Therefore, you need to dignify the office of the president and focus on tackling the bread and butter issues of the country.
Nevertheless, Mr. President, I am aware of the dilemma you are in. The cacophony of feverish and contradicting advisers from clueless so-called advisers what you should do.
A gaggle of contenders fighting like rats in a sack and who barely agree over anything. But their lust is about to remain in power and to keep feathering their own nest to the detriment of the country or your legacy.
Finally, Mr. President, you harp about your legacy and of recently of building your retirement home. I am afraid you may not realise any of these with the trajectory of your leadership.
With the failures, the corruption, the desperation to cling on to power by all means necessary, and the car crash in your trust. It is my prediction that, like former president Jammeh, you may end up somewhere different from the Gambia.
Editors note: Ebrima Scattred Janneh “EB” is the Anchor of The Dialogue With The Youths Show on Gunjuronline TV. Views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Gunjuronline.com. Got an opinion article for publication? send it to us at GunjurNewsOnline@gmail.com