Foundations can also be for wealthy individuals seeking permanence with the preservation of a family legacy. Henry Ford and Bill and Melinda Gates come to mind. Highly successful businessmen and women, politicians and mega-rich individuals set up foundations, using their own resources exclusively as seed money, or use supplementary funding from various sources to promote a cause.
As the saying goes, the easiest way to fund a cause is to write a personal check. Setting up of a legal entity requires a structured framework to qualify as a non-profit organization that must conform to the laws, including the tax laws, of the country of incorporation.
The foundation must be appropriately and adequately staffed just like any for-profit entity with executive officers to manage the financial and human resources of the foundation. A foundation and a business enterprise are markedly different in only that the former is a non-profit entity and the latter is not.
Because the foundation requires permanent staff and other recurrent costs, managing it require huge investment outlays in recruitment and retention of professional experts in numerous fields. In short, to run a foundation is a full time job and thus not an appropriate vocation, especially for a sitting president who is charged with managing an entire country.
If history is a reliable guide, then the country's experience with foundations run by the occupant of State House must serve as a warning to his successors. The experience has been abysmal, at best, because they served the previous president as a conduit that funnel funds solicited from Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries for the private use of the ex-dictator.
It is this sort of abuse that foundations of the kind being proposed by president Barrow are frown upon because they are subject to abuse. Foundations in Africa have been used by politicians to divert public funds for private use and to launder money.
President Barrow is head of a transition government elected to serve for a period of three years. It is our view that he should focus the next two years addressing the structural problems created by the previous regime that impede economic growth and development and not managing foundations at the risk of using public funds to run them. He should also address the problems posed by an inefficient civil service among other institutional bottlenecks. You can find a detail list of priority areas in this blog post with the review of our Constitution and electoral law reform being among the most urgent.
In conclusion, the CEO of The Gambia and guardian of the State Constitution that declares The Gambia a Secular State should not be seen promoting a religion by building mosques across the country and not propagating one religion over another. In either case, it would be unconstitutional. Allow religious leaders to perform their religious leaders to propagate their respective religions while political leaders tend to the affairs of State.