FOUR YEARS GONE WITHOUT MAJOR REFORMS: GAMBIA AT 2021.

I hope we reflect and reason as election approaches. Because it’s our fate that hangs on the balance. Our children lack quality education, our pockets are often empty, our roads are horrible, hospitals lack equipment as basic as ventilators, oxygen machines and even gloves. This is appalling to say the least. In the autumn, we’re the judge in our own case. So how do we want the verdict to be?

The goal is to transform from what all men of good conscience detest & dispel, of whom all patriotic Gambians stood up to – a dictatorship, tyranny and authoritarianism. With the objectives of mending a broken system that rendered Gambian people helpless, hopeless and some homeless. Inspired by the need for change, democracy and development. Today, the aforementioned goals, objectives and inspirations don’t reflect any actions of the reigning government but the exact opposite of December 2016 elections aspirations.

In the course of this four consecutive years, we as a nation and people hold on to this single intrinsic human strength ‘HOPE’ for reforms, system change and a rebirth of Gambia for better. But only for these hopes to remain beautiful promises and assuring verbose speeches. Ubiquitously, major reform agendas potent of system change and the lifeblood of a progressive nation have been but disregarded – dwindling the entire transitional process. Critical is to not be oblivious of the fact that 2021 is the year that marks the end of one social contract and the commencement of another. The year we would make another most important decision by electing the next president, install the next government and certainly it is the year of reckoning for the incumbent.

Let’s take a brief review of this tenure so far so good. To begin with, at 2021 the Janneh Commission’s recommendations remain unimplemented to the letter. At 2021, the Security Secotor Reform is still without results, at 2021, the Anti-Corruption Commission is yet to be instituted and at 2021, the maiden Constitutional Building project trashed. Clearly, this government derail all the reasons it was voted into office for. Shamelessly, the same government keeps allocating itself unearned credits, claiming appraisals and bragging about its gross incompetence. Thus, this 2021 December elections, results not rhetorics we must vote for – ideas not sentiments. And importantly, merits not personalities should inform our choices. As I speak, voter registration for the 2021 December elections has been “postponed until further notice” according to an official statement released yesterday 4 January 2021 by Independent Electoral Commission(IEC), yet another setback. The salty thing is, reports have it that the postponement is a result of logistics problem. How flimsy an excuse is that? It is therefore undeniable that our president is more interested in consolidating power and prominence than doing the needful – the reason he’s voted into that office.

Finally, i would like to draw our attention to the pandemic. An unprecedented crisis that have the world most giant economies reeling and overwhelm health facilities across the globe. Thus, it affects the entire world in one shape or another. Notwithstanding, the pandemic has exposed structural deficiencies, dysfunctional leaderships and systematic corruption by governments and public officers alike. Gambia in particular has been tested and proven weaked in the face of this crisis. Monies had been pumped in to curb the adverse socioeconomic effects of the pandemic. As in April alone IMF and the World Bank had approved millions of dollars to the Gambia Government. Added to that were the subsequent emergency relief packages approved by our parliamentarians. Ironically, three third of the masses neither see nor feel the impact of these monies. Does this government earn our trust and loyalty? I bet you of all people know the answer to that.

The situation of our health sector is dire; dilapidated infrastructures and unequipped hospitals. A serious government in a third world country like ours would have thought of judiciously using these monies to improve the existing myriad challenges facing our health care sector, since covid-19 hasn’t hit our health sector that hard compare to other nations. Rather they do the obvious, squander everything. But what more to expect from a government that pride itself in power grabbing, gross incompetence and sheer guile? I hope we reflect and reason as election approaches. Because it’s our fate that hangs on the balance. Our children lack quality education, our pockets are often empty, our roads are horrible, hospitals lack equipment as basic as ventilators, oxygen machines and even gloves. This is appalling to say the least. In the autumn, we’re the judge in our own case. So how do we want the verdict to be?

🇬🇲

Author: Lamin Njie Jr.

Lamin is a writer; an essayist, storyteller, consumer activist, and a former Writer/Reporter at www.my-gambia.com. He had authored many articles and essays on contemporary Gambian issues. He also taught Literature-in-English in secondary schools in The Gambia for several years. He works with for Consumer Protection Association of The Gambia as Admin Sec and Thematic Working Group Coordinator. He's currently pursuing HND in Diplomacy and International Relations at Management Development Institute (MDI), The Gambia.

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