Reflections on the saga between the TRRC and GRTS

Many Gambians have been relishing the country transition to democracy, but suddenly they come to a painful realisation that there is a hefty price to be paid for such glorious moment. That is because the collapse of the dictatorship seems to have marked the emergence of middle class who only focus is to be having an unjustified bite of the national cake.  These are professionals with college degrees who are running and managing our public institutions in ways that fulfills their individual material interests as they continue to pay lip service to national development. Thus the services provided by such institutions tend to be sub-standard, which poses the greatest threat to the collective interest the citizens.The dire status of the Gambia’s economy demands public officials to apply thought and high standards of professional practice so as to transform the workings of public institutions for the benefits of ordinary citizens.

It is my view that is what is in line with the objectives and spirit of the NDP 2018-2021. The Recent events in public service suggest to me that the middle class are at each other’s throats just to ensure they secure their vested interest at the expense of the societal interests. This is evident in the recent fallouts caused by the TRRC’s awarding of a film contract to a private company which didn’t sit comfortably with the GRTS, resulting in shadow boxing between the TRRC and the GRTS, which is probably damaging to the reputation of both institutions.

Indeed, it is profoundly disturbing to witness public officials fighting in public while they relegate their duty to run those public institutions. In our transition to democracy, academics likewise politicians have all joined in the project of self-enrichment as they demand remuneration for every little expertise rendered to the public. It is expected that the TRRC and GRTS, as public institution act with integrity in order to command public confidence in the service of their respective offices.

Gambians deserve better from the distinguished public servants, especially at a time when most Gambians are decrying for basic needs to sustain basic life. In contrary, public officers seem to happily scuffle for a slice of the national cake so as to maintain their fancy costume dressing up shows under the pretext of religiosity. Surely, it cannot be the case that those in the position of public importance disregard the duty to embrace good ethical practices in the service of public office without consequences.

The GRTS plays an important role in our developing democracy. In this sense, it can be regarded as a fourth organ of the state that has a crucial role to play in balancing the powers between the three organs of the state. It is also in a position to keep the use of state powers accountable to the public by scrutinising the arbitrary use of powers under any circumstances. Therefore, its role and standing must not be tainted with a hint of impropriety. Indeed, it has a privileged position when it comes to reporting matters of public importance. In contrast, the TRRC has an important role to play in the dispensation of justice for the past human rights violations, which we hope would allow our communities to heal. A hint of impropriety in its dealings will forever damage its reputation. As a consequence it can only reinstitute immoral bourgeois concept of justice, which is out of tune with the  contemporary liberal understanding of justice. Such outcomes seem preventable if we follow ethical standards of work practices.
As we seek to transit to a functioning democracy, we have the greatest forbearance to allow public institutions to transform Gambian lives.

Let us not forget the fact that, to transform Gambian lives, it is crucial that public officers execute their roles with unquestionable integrity by following standards of work practices that are neither legally or morally lax.

The notion that we can continue to blame every failure on the government when we ourselves fail to observe good standards of work practices constitute the most grossly negligent conduct on the part of the bourgeois.

The scuffle to have a bite at the cherry must stop in furtherance of our collective interests.

Solomon Demba

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