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The Pitbull – Kebba Lang Fofana’s Political Weaponization Of The NAO Report

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Hon. Kebba Lang Fofana, Chairman Landing B Sanneh, Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe and Mayor Talib Ahmed Bensouda.

By: Mustapha L. Marong- USA

The local government elections are slated for April and May of this year, and the gloves are off. The state is corralling the resources of reputable national institutions like the National Audit Office to dirty up their opponents. To wit, they found a willing and eager collaborator in a nominated member of the National Assembly, Kebba Lang Fofana. This chap used his perch at the National Assembly Finance and Public Finance Committee (FPAC), while the chair of the committee, Alhagie S Darboe was out of town, and with collaboration from the Ministry of Finance, to muddy up the waters and paint opponents of his political party – the NPP as nefarious and corrupted.

It is true that mayors and chairpersons of the councils are the elected representatives of the people at the municipalities, but the day to day running of these entities are in the hands of CEOs appointed by the executive and not answerable to the Mayors or Chairpersons. The financial and budgetary functions of these municipalities are largely handled by these viceroys that the executive branch through the local government ministry appoint to oversee the day-to-day administration of the municipalities. Logic dictates that, any audit questions relating to the finances of the municipalities will be put to the CEO and their finance teams, not the political figureheads that do not make those budgetary and financial decisions, nor have the wherewithal to get into the weeds of the accounting principles that guided the bookkeepers at these municipalities.

But it is an election session and logic took a backseat to political mudslinging. Enter Kebba Lang Fofana and his puppeteers at the Ministry of Finance, ready to extract maximum political advantage from the National Audit Report by dragging and humiliating Mayors and chairpersons of municipalities in front of the Finance and Public Finance Committee, (FPAC). Why else would you drag Rohey Malick Lowe, Landing Sanneh and Talib Bensouda in front of the committee to explain the bookkeeping intricacies of the municipality when the CEOs and their finance teams that put them together can do the job and are sitting right in front of you. The answer is simple – those CEOs and the finance people are civil servants with no political blood to draw for the NPP candidates getting ready to run against the aforementioned UDP incumbents. To lay to bare the complicity of Kebba Lang Fofana, you don’t have to look far. Take a cursory look at the Brikama area council’s audit report. The discrepancies found in that municipality were reported months ago, and it is a whopper, but Sheriffo Sonko, a prominent member of the NPP was never dragged in front of the Finance and Public Finance Committee (FPAC) and given a dressing down that Kebba Lang Sonko put Rohey Malick Lowe and Landing Sanneh through. With Mayor Talib Bensouda expected before the committee on Wednesday, lightning will strike for the third time, for he will be put through the same anvil that was used to squeeze Rohey and Landing, in a bid to try and dirty him up for the KMC race.

It is true that we must hold our elected representatives accountable, and I am not holding water for the mayors and chairpersons. However, responsibility is a two-way street. If we are holding them accountable, let it be for actions they are entrusted with. We cannot use the local government act to appoint CEOs and finance teams for the day-to-day administrative work of the municipalities, then drag the political figureheads to explain the discrepancies found in the work of the appointed viceroys. That is what Kebba Lang Fofana and his collaborators at the ministry of Finance are doing a fortnight before these consequential local government elections. It is McCarthyite to use the powers of the legislature to exert political damage on worthy opponents. It is an insidious and treacherous act, and the nominated member knew as much, but nominations come at a price, and he is earning his price. So, like a trained pit-bull, he is doing his master’s bidding, logic be damn.

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