Barrow and Jawara

(JollofNews)Why Systematic Overhaul Remained The Answer!
Not simply swapping one president with another.

Differences & Similarities:
How they limit our freedoms/civil liberties, stalled democratization and denied our prosperity.

Bucket 1: Separation of Powers (That’s the 3 Co-equal Branches of a democratic government.
Jawara/PPP: The executive (the presidency) controlled both the legislature and the judiciary

Yahya/A(F)PRC:  The same

Barrow/The Coalition 2016: The same

Bucket 2: Limited Government (That’s government work only within law)

Jawara/PPP: Operated outside the law or twisted the interpretation of law or use the legislature to get the law or pick and choose which laws to follow and which not to.

Yahya/A(F)PRC: The same.

Barrow/The Coalition: Still early but the same.

Bucket 3: Separation of public from party, private and personal interests

Jawara/PPP: Used public resources including TIME to personal and political party interests

Yahya/A(F)PRC: The same

Barrow/The Coalition 2016: The same

Bucket 4: Quality of National Assembly Members (Legislators – Law Makers)

Jawara/PPP: Over time especially by 1994 PPP has more and better quality representatives. Their academic, their understanding of our cultures/traditions and other value systems. Although PPP was so corrupt we wonder all those qualities

Yahya/A(F)PRC: The worst bunch. They are mediocre/sycophants that do not need to know much besides give stamp of approval of The Yahya Agenda. This is the bunch that made into law Yahya to have authority to fire them. Amazing! One would think that’s one thing they would keep him out…

Barrow/The Coalition 2016: They are campaigning right now. Not sure who will win or not. As a general observation we will be lucky if they are better than those of A(F)PRC. The debate exchange I heard from a handful – not encouraging. Their ability to express themselves in English is abysmal and is the language of business in The National Assembly. Unless you have an appreciable understanding of the medium of exchange how can you effective participate especially in complicated matters?

Bucket 5: Election Administrations

Jawara/PPP: Made his politically appointed Divisional Commissioners’ as Returning Officer. They also preside over all matters elections in their respective Divisions. Jawara (their political boss) was a candidate in all-presidential contests of those times. That doesn’t even pass smell-test of basic fairness.

Yahya/A(F)PRC: He established IEC and took complete charge of hiring and firing of Commissioners’ for that body. Now instead of 6 Divisional Commissioners’ is one National Commissioner’. Isn’t that even better for muscle?

Barrow/The Coalition 2016: Opposition made a demand in May 2015 for Electoral and Constitution Reform. President Barrow is yet to even mention any of our long-standing reforms throughout the 22 years of struggle including that document.  What’s in place today? Barrow inherited Yahya/A(F)PRC election administration and comfortably sitting on it as we write.

Bucket 6: Independent Judiciary

Jawara/PPP: Appoints all judges without some filter and/or screening/recommendation or oversight by any other person or body of government

Yahya/A(F)PRC: The same.

Barrow/The Coalition 2016: The same.

Bucket 7: Corruption and misuse of public resources

Jawara/PPP: Rampant! Public corruption during PPP era was almost an acceptable practice. Low level Public Services openly paraded looted resources in the face of the poor – houses, spouses, building mosques, paying pilgrimage tickets, Big Tobaski rams, expensive vehicles, etc. Weren’t against these unless they are acquired at our expense.

Yahya/A(F)PRC: The same. Unlike Jawara’s modest personality, Yahya has demonstrated his lust for wealth at our expensive beyond anyone in PPP could imagine.

Barrow/The Coalition 2016: Again very early for definitive conclusions but has demonstrate comfort in sitting on what he found in place. One way to look at that, instead of getting down to the difficult task of reform he’s out pumping his fist in the air as Yahya did for 22 years. Jawara never does that – I can’t find it on images.

Bucket 8: Spy on Citizens

Jawara/PPP: NSA! Pay attention to the name! Tell me what intelligence need do our nation have to cost us such governmental apparatus. Even if we do, do you think by paying men/women salaries, providing office space and vehicles is the answer. This agency is created outside of the books to spy on the politics of citizens rather than to protect citizens. Its an unnecessary costs on our meager tax resources. Isn’t it obvious in every day law enforcement matter – NSA/NIA and now SIS are called rather than police.  They attend to marital disrupts in their capacity as NSA officers. They go out on collection of royalties/taxes from market kiosk owners, street corner shopkeepers; they perform duties of Public Health Inspectors, etc.

Yahya/A(F)PRC: He changed the name NIA with increasing brutality.

Barrow/The Coalition: He changed the name SIS.

Our laws, The Structure of our government, The Processes, The Procedures and The Mode of Operations all allows for Over Bearing Executive Power and consequently no functional role for the other arms of democratic government.

This cannot be change by the mild manners of a president. Neither the personality of The president equals change. Presidents come and go! The Gambia and The Government of The Gambia remain. Thus we NEED INSTITUTIONS and SYSTEMS that outlives anyone one person.

An effective change will require changing The Constitution (an in particular and deliberately equalizing the roles of the 3 co-equal branches) and many other laws enacted by National Assembly. It will require reorganizing/restructuring The Government and as well come up with better/accountable processes/procedures in conducting public business. We will also need to decentralize governance from Banjul to The People in their Regions, Districts and villages – power/authority, resource allocation, etc.

Effective change will also require arming The People with civic tools to resist future encroachment of governments in any attempts to constrict our democratic space. One such action will be to introduce The Government of The Gambia as a political/civic subject in our school system. It should be made a certification requirement from primary to undergraduate school at UTG.

MAKING GAMBIA A FUNCTIONING INSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY WAS THE GOAL OF OUR STRUGGLE. It remained the most important goal going forward. We therefore call on your attention to this important goal.

For The Gambia Ever True.

By Burama Jammeh