By Buba Gagigo
Momodou Sabally, Campaign Manager of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has commended President Adama Barrow for temporarily suspending “all overseas travel by government officials for the rest of 2023.”
“And then we must commend President Barrow for the bold move of temporarily suspending “all overseas travel by government officials for the rest of 2023.” The declaration that this includes the President himself and his Vice President makes it even more commendable because the two of them are the most expensive to fly around the world,” Sabally wrote on his Facebook page.
Sabally said this is ‘just’ the kind of move he expected from this government, and he had consistently advised them accordingly: to curb government expenditure to stabilize the economy.
He said the rate of travel of top government officials of late has been unprecedented, with ‘reckless’ abandon.
“While traveling out of the country a few months ago, I was on the same plane with the senior management of at least two key ministries of this country. More than a dozen key management staff of an entire sector left this country together. There is no way anyone can justify that in any serious country.
“Barrow’s own top officials and advisers are taking him for a ride because they feel that he would never understand their plots. There seems to exist a top-level cabal in the government conniving to outsmart the President and abuse state resources for their personal gain. Therefore, whatever this Presidential directive is worth, the intention and signal is worth commending. Hopefully it will make a dent in their expenditure overdrive as inflation rises further to unprecedented levels in this generation,” he said.
The UDP campaign manager, however, said he is a bit worried about the caveat inbuilt in the otherwise stern Presidential directive.
“This statement right here is the weakest link in the game plan, and it is likely to be the window that will be exploited by the top cabal in government to open the floodgates of expensive and frivolous travel in government:
“Exempted from this Order are travels to Statutory meetings where The Gambia’s participation is mandatory and foreign trips fully funded by external sources. These exemptions are, however, subject to the prior approval of The President or an authorized official.”
Sabally said in his reaction to the carved-out exemption is to respond with the Wolof word “ndeysaan”, because, in his view, that exemption will be exploited.
“This truly shows that President Barrow does not know how deceptive and corrupt his own inner circle and top advisers can be… Let me stop here for now. Meanwhile, I just wanna say great move, Mr. President,” Sabally concluded.