Barely three weeks ago, the President made a major cabinet reshuffle sacking the leader of his former United Democratic Party, Ousainou Darboe, and two other ministers from the party.
As he presided over the swearing in of four cabinet ministers and the vice president Isatou Touray on Thursday, President Adama Barrow urged the cabinet members to have unity of purpose and work together for common good.
The newly sworn-in ministers are Fatou Kinteh for Ministry of Children, Women and Social Welfare; Amie Fabureh for Ministry of Agriculture; Dr Lamin Samateh for Ministry of Health and Lamin Jobe for Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration.
“Your positions also require you to suppress your personal wishes and ambitions, and put more weight on the Government’s agenda, as this reflects the will, hopes and aspirations of the people you are meant to serve,” said Barrow.
“I must stress that being a Cabinet Minister or Permanent Secretary goes with expectations set by the people themselves, and they look forward to their fulfillment. This means that the greater good has to prevail over our personal, ethnic, religious, political or sectional interests.
“It goes without doubt that at the core of government leadership is Cabinet. Cabinet represents and portrays the nation as a family. As a result, political differences must not corrupt, undermine or divide those of us privileged with Cabinet assignments.
“It is a betrayal of trust to belong to a group, yet openly or secretly oppose its ideals, objectives, values, agenda and what it stands for. In other words, one cannot operate in Cabinet, or within a government system, and seek to undermine it in order to pursue any other interest.
“The best citizens in a nation are the genuine patriots who serve selflessly and put the nation and the greater good before any selfish interest. Such good citizens are not moved by greed or any undesirable pursuit. Therefore, good and patriotic citizenship is measured by one’s loyalty to the people, loyalty to the State and loyalty to the leadership of the day, noting that the leadership carries the people’s mandate, hopes and aspirations.
“In The Gambia, our shared values are not limited to loving, caring and sharing only. They include honesty, sincerity and developing a sense of belonging to a community composed of diverse groups. Those of us in Government should live by these values, and refrain from seeking to divide the nation along partisan lines. When political gains and political beliefs or ambitions come first, we will divide the people along party affiliation, ethnicity or other social divides. This is unacceptable. Cabinet members and those in Government should be apolitical as regards the welfare of the people who have mandated them to run their affairs. We must not send mixed or conflicting messages to the public. On the contrary, we must be seen as a united body, pursuing the same goals and speaking with one voice so that the public can follow suit. To put it bluntly, we must be truly honourable and exemplary in character.
“Accepting a Ministerial or any public service assignment carries many implications. These include supporting the Government’s agenda; willingness to comply with Government norms and principles; displaying due respect for public office and public institutions; loyalty to the leadership, and dedication to country and duty.”