The time has come for citizens to become impatient and reject business as usual. We did not have a Government that would just continue to overtax us and takes huge loans and receive fat grants in our name only for us to continue to live in poverty and deprivation when few elites in the Government continue to live large on our wealth and name! We must be vigilant to combat corruption, abuse of office and inefficiency in the public service! We should find it utterly unacceptable that public officials would exploit our power that we entrusted to them to enrich themselves at our expense.
Stand against corruption because it is the biggest threat to human rights and national development. Corruption is what is responsible for unemployment, high cost of living, poor public services and poverty. Corruption is what kills citizens in hospitals and gives poor education to our children. Corruption is what gives birth to dictatorship and self perpetuation in power.
Every citizen must find it utterly unacceptable that there is even one home or one village in this country without electricity or water supply, 24/7. We should find it utterly unacceptable that there is one street in the Gambia that is not paved and without street lights. We should find it utterly unacceptable that one health centre should exist in this country without basic health equipment and essential drugs. We should reject the fact that we have public schools that lack windows not to mention fans and tiled floors and adequate teaching materials. For all of these, we have paid for them already through our taxes, loans and grants. Where is that money?
According to the Ministry of Finance the total public debt as at December 2019 stood 73.4 billion dalasi, constituting 67.8% of GDP. In that year alone the Gambia paid a massive 4.6 billion dalasi to service the debt. In 2020, the national budget is 21.2 billion dalasi out of which we are paying a whopping 7.7 billion dalasi for our debts, i.e. one third of our budget. This 7.7 billion dalasi is more than the combined budget allocations for Health, Education, Agriculture, Youth and Sports, and Women, Children and Social Welfare! What the heck!
Let us begin to demand our National Assembly Members to act by using their powers to discipline the President, Vice President and Ministers and public officials for violation of our Constitution and for corruption, inefficiency, poor performance and misconduct. If we let our NAMs fail in their duty, then we have no one to blame but them and ourselves. Remember that.
For The Gambia Our Homeland
By Madi Jobateh