Thursday, July 7, 2016

Yaya Jammeh is the problem and not civil servants

Yaya Jammeh is the problem
Last week, it was ten former and present senior officials of the Petroleum and Energy Ministries, including and a Board member and businessman, who were arrested for what Yaya Jammeh, the Gambian dictator, described as "one of the biggest economic crimes" ever uncovered in his 22-year failed regime.

This week, it is the turn of twenty-seven senior civil servants, nine of whom are Permanent Secretaries in key and important Ministries, at a time when nothing in Jammeh's government is working.  The economy has tanked, the educational standards have plummeted, agricultural production continues to be in decline while a 600,000 Gambians representing a third of the population is food insecure, which means 33% of Gambians cannot afford three square meals a day.

The ten petroleum ministry officials are still languishing in the remand wing of the notorious Mile II prisons on charges that are yet to be specified by a regime that has obviously lost its way and is increasingly using every tactic in the book to deflect criticism away from an increasingly corrupt regime that is submerged in a pool of incompetence.

The Petroleum Ministry is under the direct supervision of the Office of The President and so is the Energy Ministry.  And as the Micro-Manager -in-Chief, Jammeh is known to run a tight ship who uses surrogates deeply embedded in each revenue-generating centers whose primary role is to report to him on matters that he's interested in.  In many cases, it is about money which Jammeh has become addicted to in his 22-years of dictatorship.

The latest batch of civil servants were rounded up in a dragnet conducted on the eve of Koriteh (Eid-il-Fitr) signaling the end of the holiest of months in the Muslim calendar, leaving their husbands and wives and children without a key member of the family in such an important day which speaks volumes of Jammeh who claims to be a devout Muslim and appends the title of Nasirudeen to his name.

Preliminary indications are that these officials are being accused of auctioning off government vehicles inappropriately in addition to being unable to account for others.  At best, these accusations emanating from Yaya Jammeh are designed  to distract Gambians from the real problems we have alluded to earlier. The economy's lack of performance is a direct result of Jammeh's persistent meddling in its day-to-day management.

The rules and procedures government procurement were thrown out the window when Jammeh seized power in July 1994.  The Major Tender Board, the main procurement body which was centralized in the Ministry of  Finance and Trade was immediately scrapped by the then Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC) which Jammeh served as Chairman.  Jammeh became the sole authority responsible for the procurement of goods and services on behalf of government, a highly inappropriate and unethical move.

Jammeh personally handles procurement of big ticket items from 1994 to date and he decides who wins a contract.  To accuse others and pretend not to know anything about it is ludicrous and dishonest.  Jammeh was aware from the unset that most of government assets - particularly vehicles and tractors - end up being driven across the borders into Senegal and Guinea Bissau where they are sold by Jammeh's own soldiers, APRC party militants or Jammeh's own family members.  The twenty-seven civil servants should all be freed so that they can go back and be with their families.  The problem is not them.  The problem is you.  #JammehMustGo