“In this New Gambia, I urge all of you to be alert and resistant to those who seek to devaluate your commitment to your party with inducement,” Vice President Hon Lawyer Ousainu Darboe , the leader of United Democratic Party told delegates that stormed Pencha Mi Hall at Paradise Suites Hotel, Kololi.
The above quotation indicating political corruption is the biggest threat to United Democratic Party and our New Democratic dispensation. In the course of history, political inducement and bribery through monetary provision and offering of political position to seek political favor has always been recognized as an obstacle to democratic ideals and economic development. A report of political inducement and bribery of delegates and National Assembly members by those who are close to President Barrow is indeed a national concern which lawyer Ousainu Darboe genuinely spoke against in past political rally and congress. In many civilized and advanced democracies, such political corruption is called “pay to play” which is totally against the principles of equal participation in free and fair democratic process. Pay to play is also against rule of law and fair representation of common interest of citizenry.
Gambians should be reminded that during 22 years of military dictatorship, there were patriotic citizens who sacrificed on behalf of citizens. These patriots never asked for political favor or political recognition but their selfless sacrifices were done to liberate Gambian people from clutches of political oppression, lawlessness and corruption.
Former President Jammeh and his cronies used political inducement to sustain 22 long years of military dictatorship characterized by political oppression , financial embezzlement and complete disregard for rule of law . It was political destruction of our individual and society moral standing that we have seen agents of oppression carried out horrific human rights violations and financial exploitation. The perpetrators of these crimes have lost sense of reasoning as a result of political inducement and favoritism which went on for very long period of time. Many citizens who are recipient of political inducement later became victims of their own political corruption. This is evidenced by the fact that some citizens who claimed to be victims of 22 years of military dictatorship were themselves one time perpetrators of political corruption, financial crimes and human rights violations. This is the fact that cannot be denied by honest and genuine citizen. It is therefore commendable to see the leader of UDP to remind supporters and general public to be alert of political corruption through inducement and bribery.
The biggest blunder of current administration is establishment of Barrow youth movement and First Lady Fatoumata Bah-Barrow Foundation which serves as a vehicle of political corruption and financial exploitation of Gambian people. These two organizations has similar characteristics with July 22nd movement and former First Lady Zainabu Jammeh Foundation which served as financial exploitation mechanism of Gambian people. President Barrow should disband Barrow Youth Movement and First Lady Fatoumata Bah-Barrow Foundation because not only these organizations serves as political corrupt entities but also to divide United Democratic Party . If President Barrow want to set up a new political party, it is his constitutional right to do so but he should not follow the foot steps of Jammeh’s military dictatorship. Any attempt to bring back past corrupt practices of previous regime will be resisted by people of goodwill and patriotic citizens. It is time to turn the page and embark on real institutional reforms and development of democratic culture characterize by fair and free participation of citizens without any political inducement and bribery. We must resist forces who are only interested in building of political empire rather than building our collective economic interest and independence. President Barrow must pay close attention to verdict of history on political corruption and financial exploitation. He should learn lessons from ongoing commission of inquiry looking at financial activities of former President Jammeh and his cronies . A recent travel ban of Jammeh and his immediate family by US State Department is another reminder that political corruption and financial crimes cannot be tolerated by genuine democratic countries and they must be punished no matter long how it takes. Mr President, if you are reading this piece, please remind yourself and surround yourself with people who have highest integrity to contribute positively in national development plan.
I want to take this opportunity to congratulate United Democratic Party and it’s leadership for successful congress and for taken bold and decisive step to condemn political corruption which has sprang up in the past few months. President Barrow must continue to show exemplary leadership in combating political corruption, promoting human rights and rule of law. President Barrow’s political future entirely depend on his moral leadership based on good governance, rule of law and genuine efforts to embark on institutional reforms and development of democratic ideals.
Written By Max Jarju