It’s amazing that the minister for youth and sports was appointed with very little comment from the coalition (opposition?) members despite having a criminal record in Germany. The Germans are known for keeping excellent records, and his criminal activities and records were published in Freedom about a month ago. A convicted drug dealer is probably the last person one would want as a minister for Youth and Sports. On the youth front because it exposes our young people to the risk of drug addiction, directly or indirectly. Drug dealers  know from experience of how to seduce young people into using drugs. This gentleman has apparently served his time and as far as we know is reformed. This is however a very sensitive ministry, not least because of the international scandal of athletes using banned substances. At a time when The Gambia government is looking to restore the tarnished image of our country, how does this look to the outside world? Can this person represent our country? Seriously? 

Having swallowed the above camel, certain coalition partners and are now complaining about Mrs Tambajang being appointed to the Vice Presidency. Whatever their true motives, their arguments over the age limit seem irrelevant, given that it was brought in by the former president for his own selfish aims. It’s common knowledge that many parts of the 1997 constitution will have to be repealed since there was so much poorly drafted and oppressive legislation  passed by the former administration. When Jammeh practiced wholesale manipulation and butchery of not only his own constitution but the NAM’s as a body, where were these same coalition members? Why didn’t they speak up then? Then it was important and relevant.

Many years ago after a tense stand off between business man (Mahtarr Sarr) and the police, Mahtarr shot Saul (his closest friend) and killed him. This aroused a great deal of local anger with strong feelings on both sides. However you looked at it, it was a tragedy for all concerned, worthy of a story like Romeo and Juliette. My Dad’s first reaction? Mahtarr Sarr shot Saul Samba, and I’ll bet the gun was not licensed!! With both protagonists dead, there families deprived of their loved ones, did the absence of a gun license have any importance? Was the deceased Mahtarr to be prosecuted for owning a gun without a licence? In my mind the arguments over the age limit fall into the same category given the seriousness of our economic and other difficulties. 

The arguments over Madam Tambajang’s age should be put to one side. The real questions to be asked are:

1) Is she qualified to be Vice President considering her education,  work experience and track record? She appears to be, with the added evidence of bringing the coalition together to a point where Jammeh has been unseated. However she did it, it was sorely needed given the years of bickering and disunity which kept Jammeh in power. It’s not so much that she deserves it, which she does, but that she has skills which the Gambia desperately needs right now. It’s becoming clear that Adama Barrow needs her more than she needs him or his government. He seems desperately lacking in political and administrative experience which she can supply. Even Jammeh had the sense to rely on and maintain Isatou Njie Saidy as his Vice President throughout his term. 

2) Why the campaign against her? Is this due to sour grapes,the frustrated ambitions of other members or what? Halifa Sallah in particular comes to mind. He is typical of so many African would be leaders and elites who have nothing to offer except personal selfish ambition and intellectual arguments while the people suffer and starve. Sadly they have no sense of compassion for the suffering of their people or desire to alleviate it. Mr Sallah would do better to become a lecturer in UTG or elsewhere and save his arguments for the classroom. There is no place for complacency and irrelevant debate while Gambia faces major social and economic challenges. No offence, but could Mr Sallah try to get relevant and become part of the solution instead of raising petty problems now? It’s a question of priorities!

The office of the Vice President needs to be filled urgently by someone competent and experienced. This is the most important issue right now. I know neither Madam Tambajang nor Halifa personally and have nothing to lose or gain in this matter. My concern is the well being and future of The Gambia.

The honeymoon period of the Barrow government  is fast running out. The people have huge, if not impossible expectations within a very short space of time. Mai Fatty is showing signs of effective action, even if some mistakes have been made. President Barrow is beginning to be seen as weak and indecisive. He’s inexperienced and out of his depth. He needs Madam Tambajang to help get the Gambia on a stable footing both nationally and internationally. Like it or not she has much to offer. He has been elected president and if I’m not mistaken has the right to APPOINT the best person for the job. He has to have confidence in her and her abilities and she has to be capable of supporting him. Much like a political wife. 

I appeal to dissident coalition partners and their supporters to stop undermining the only credible candidate and focus their efforts on coming up with helpful solutions to our countries problems. We have seen far too much of this bickering and disunity under the Jammeh regime. Please, can this matter be put to bed? At least for now!!

Boorr Sine

Coomba NDoffene Joof.

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