By Njundu Drammeh
The press release accused Honourable Sanna Jawara of making series of serious unfounded allegations “most notably, that the President ”has started paying some parliamentarians D10,000 each month in envelopes”. That was the leitmotif of Sanna’s allegation which time vindicated Honourable Madi Ceesay admitted to receiving the money.
Few others revealed they were called by Lamin Cham to go to State House to collect their envelopes. If there is any spinning here, it certainly is from State House. It is the press release which is done in bad faith now, to deceive. This can be hurting to the presidency.
“The claims were maliciously designed to bring disrepute to the person of the president and the office he occupies…” That is a figment of the imagination. The blowing of the whistle is a patriotic act, expected from men and women of conscience. If anyone is trying to “bring disrepute to the person of the president and the Office of the President”, we don’t have to look farther than State House and Barrow Kunda with FaBB Foundation.
“…[N]o National Assembly Member was invited to State House to receive money in return for any favours, including political support.” They don’t have to visit State House. There are many other ways they could receive the money. And the intention needed not have been stated. The action is synonymous to “vote buying”, only that this one is to “help with constituency constraints”…. Smart alec.
“President Adama Barrow has been supporting and continues to support individuals and groups whenever he can…” Did we actually elect a philanthropist? The president’s job is not to “support individuals and groups”. His functions are clearly stated in the Constitution. He has obligations to fulfil, not charity to give out. He is president of all, expected to treat all equally. Now we know these largesse are deliberate attempts to buy loyalty and support, sheer political patronage and clientelism.
“It was in the same spirit that His Excellency, the President donated vehicles to members of the same body to ease mobility and communication constraints with their constituents….” So the 57 vehicles were actually “donated” by the president, not an anonymous donor? Where did he get the money? But wait, isn’t this an affirmation that the president did actually promise the money the NAMs to “ease constraints… with their constituents”? It dovetails with what Honourable Jawara said.
This is why the National Assembly should have flatly rejected the 57 vehicles. See the patronising tone. What can one expect when the most important arm of government, the legislature, accepts donations from the executive?
“The president was elected as an independent coalition candidate….” Trite. We all know that. But Barrow has said unequivocally that he is UDP. So who is being fooled here? The coalition is comatose, on life support. So that is not cutting with me, the political gimmickry.
Then the pontificating, chest beating, brandishing of a scorecard on which nothing is ticked yet, the empty rhetoric…
The president is not “politicking”? He is, on a daily basis, unless if State House thinks politics is an event, which begins and ends with the casting of the last vote during elections.
The president is “occupied with finding solutions and addressing the development needs of the people…” Really? With skyrocketing commodity prices, high fuel pump price, agitation by groups for better salaries and working conditions, high youth unemployment, allegations of corruption?
The president has “succeeded in securing several capital investments that would directly impact the lives of ordinary Gambians and drive them out of poverty, as stated in the National Development Plan 2018-2021…” NO…. State House should stop beating this drum; the song is sonorous and stale.
The pledges from the Brussels Donor Conference are “birds in the bush”; the money promised by the UN isn’t certainly coming directly into the government’s coffers but through UNDP, and so forth. Has the implementation of the NDP started?
The president’s spin-doctors are harming him. In their attempt to refute, they muddy the waters more and put out some knee jerk wishy-washy defence which always boomerangs.
Wondering if they have any conscience. You are supposed to protect the image of the president, not to damage.
Njundou Drammeh, a native of Baddibu, is the head of the NGO, Child Protection Alliance.