Demba Ali Jawo, Former Minister Of Communications and Information Technology
By D. A. Jawo
Most Gambians are still trying to come to terms with the expensive vehicles recently provided to our National Assembly members, with not a single one of them publicly rejecting the idea, but instead, they all seem to justify it.
Apart from anything else, the cost of the vehicles is quite exorbitant, considering the state of our economy, as well as the fact that a vast majority of those they claim to represent in parliament cannot afford two square meals a day. In fact, with the advent of the rains, some of their constituents have to put up with leaking roofs and flooded bedrooms, in addition to their numerous social and economic problems. Also, a majority of the farming community cannot afford fertilizer and even enough seeds for the ongoing farming season. Therefore, it is hard to see how anyone’s conscience would allow them to ride on such an expensive toy and visit people living under such conditions. One cannot but wonder what had happened to the most vocal NAMs who had always claimed to represent the interests of the down-trodden Gambians.
Probably some people would argue that there could be an element of justification for the elected NAMs who need to frequently visit their constituencies, but certainly not for the nominated members who represent no one apart from President Adama Barrow and their own families. Therefore, it is hard to see how anyone can justify spending all that public money on such elements.
I have absolutely no doubt that if people like Halifa Sallah, Sidia Jatta and Ousman Sillah were still in the National Assembly, I can bet my bottom Dalasi that they would have never been party to such a scheme, regardless of the mode of payment.
We certainly seem to have an in insatiable bunch of “people’s representatives” who are now quite notorious for voting for themselves various sums of money, including fat salaries and various allowances, hardly showing any concern for the plight of those they are supposed to represent.