“If Government Wants to be a Noun, Let them do the Verbs” 

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President Barrow

By: Karanta Fatty

The word corruption has been closely associated with the Barrow Government since 2017, and their  lack of transparency and wisdom of managing the affairs of the country has consolidated and strengthen the widely perception of Corruption that has become the hallmark of the Barrow Government as the recent Corruption perception index of 2023 ranks the Gambia among the lowest globally in Public sector corruption, meaning that the Gambia face a significant challenges in promoting accountability, transparency and ethical governance within its public institutions.

The recent contract signing of over 40 million dalasis to some selected few media outlets “To promote and popularise Government Agendas” has received some insurmountable back clash from all spheres of the Gambian population, not because  Government doesn’t have right to do business with any private institutions,but the lack of coherent transparency in procurement process and its “restricted” manner all has the attributes of dubious corrupt practices just like the”Brown envelopes, Anonymous Car gifts given to the MP`s in 2018, and the disbursement of the Covid fund both by the Ministry Information and Tourism, the Banjul road rehabilitation project etc etc just to name few. 

The Government of Adama Barrow doesn’t need to spend a butut to any media outlet to sell, promote and popularise “Government Agenda” if all the apparatus of media and information sharing at the disposal of the Government fed and maintained by taxpayers money are efficiently doing the Verb they aspire to be.  

If the Barrow Government are cognizant of the social contract they signed with the Gambian people who voted them in, they would have been very serious in becoming deliverable and result oriented in serving the Gambian people with the needful on affordability and access to proper health care,  adequate mechanism to curb the sky rocketing of prices of daily basic commodities, job creation opportunities for the unemployed youths,, efficiency in service delivery at our public institutions, provision of  security to curb the alarming crime rates, etc as a means of making positive impact on the livelihood of Gambians for socio economic growth  in a transparent and sincere manner. 

One wonders if the Barrow Government did learn some valuable fundamental lessons from the revelation of the JANNEH COMMISSION?  Instead the Government has resorted to recycling those who aided Yaya Jammeh to extort and rip the Gambian population through institutionalising systematic corruption in our Public Institution. Pity for the Gambia !!

But indeed it is not in the best interest of the Barrow Government to have the much anticipated Anti corruption bill, simply because since 2018 the national audit report has constantly ringing alarming bells of corrupt practices within our public institutions especially on illicit financial flows in public expenditures,  which paves way for corruption to rear its ugly head even at the Office of the President in giving out contracts..

It has been almost two weeks since both Ferries Banjul- Barra crossing were dysfunctional causing a huge economic loss and enormous human sufferings to the  public, whilst the Government felt that NO ONE needs to be held accountable for it. 

Any serious Government would have send the heads of both Gambia Ports Authority and Gambia Ferry Service to an indefinite leave and all those responsible for the negligence should have been investigated, prosecuted, but instead the Government decided to divert the attention into a fan -fare signing of contract for two new ferries…..The Government will only react if major ferry disaster occurs (May God Forbid) but don’t a stitch in time save nine?

So when the Media as the fourth estate, that the population relies on to be the watchdog and hold the Government to account, to report, inform ,educate and entertain become the propaganda machine of the Government by bringing up contents that “Promote and Popularise Government Agenda” then we are in serious trouble.

One does wonder, how would the 7 media outlets upheld their editorial independence  without compromising their credibility when they are financially tied with the Government? Would the blending of a paid content to the Private media by the government not a means to stifle the critical views of the media, that will lead to eroding the public trust on the media?

Less someone needs to remind the Government that widespread perception of corruption within the public services does hinder development, and therefore undermines trust in government, which no amount of contracting the Media, PR Agencies in popularising government agendas will win the hearts and minds of the populace.

It is a common knowledge that Corruption thrives only when parties complicit,hence most of the time we do blame Government (the public sector), we should also acknowledge the private sector’s willingness to engage in and benefit from the corrupt system of the government.

The Barrow Government had the power to drive a positive perception on its image and promote its achievements, restore confidence, polish its tainted images and win the hearts and minds of the people … by just doing the right thing in accordance with Good Governance. DO THE VERB NOW.

Sovereign Gambian

 Karanta Fatty

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