UNIVERSITY OF THE GAMBIA (UTG) HELD IN BONDAGE BY A BULLY AND DEMAGOGUE MINISTER,BADARA JOOF (not so Honorabe) I will therefore not apply the appellation, honorable.

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UNIVERSITY OF THE GAMBIA (UTG) HELD IN BONDAGE BY A BULLY AND DEMAGOGUE MINISTER,BADARA JOOF (not so Honorabe) I will therefore not apply the appellation, honorable.

Since her inception, UTG has been known as one of the unluckiest ministries for lack of a minister who is truly committed to the advancement of the institution, the only, and I repeat, the only institution The Gambia can claim albeit not so proudly, as an institution of higher education. UTG, was dealt anunfortunate hand when Minister Dr. Abdoulie Senghore, theminister before the current one, left a legacy of bringing a Vice-Chancellor (VC) from Pakistan; finding none in Gambia. Dr. Senghore manifested the cancerous disease of The Gambianself-hate syndrome by recruiting a VC in the 21st century, all the way across the seas because he fallaciously could not find a single Gambian in the country, or in the diaspora, who is capable, or suitable enough for the position. How incredulous a proposition! Dr. Senghore and his gang at MoHERST were so self-hating that they recruited a retired, clueless, and unarticulated spent man for a VC; now imposed on UTG. Prof. Ajum, frankly, has not brought anything to UTG that a Gambian could not have brought. Prof. Ajum frankly, remains the biggest liability for UTG; recruiting him and keeping him is costly for UTG, and we are not getting our money’s worth. Bringing Prof. Ajum created a bottomless pit of money-losing venture. His self-selecting residence at Brushubi costs the UTG nearly D500,000or thereabouts annually. Other costs for utilities, fuel and air tickets for him and family’s travel, operation of a generator at his residence, and two vehicles and other personal needs, runs into millions annually etc. etc. These costs are socking the air out of UTG’s finances; Liability for UTG to the hilt!  The case of Ajum is a story for another day. Surely what I can say is that you will be blown to oblivion if you get the cost details of maintaining Prof. Ajum as UTG VC. This is untenable. This isthe gravest unfortunate hands UTG has been dealt since its founding. Thanks to Dr, Senghore for the self-hating act of bring Prof. Anjum. This is Dr. Senghore’s legacy that this country will never forget. Pardon my digression, central to the issue at hand is the case of Minister Badara Joof. From Dr. Senghore to Badara Joof, for lack of a better word, should I liken this to double jeopardy for UTG?

Since her inception, UTG has never been in such dire straits as currently obtained at the institution. Since Badara Joof’s arrival at the Higher Education Ministry (MoHERST), Mr. Joof has now claimed the UTG as his personal property to run, twist, and manipulate any which way he desires. The UTG has not progressed since his arrival. All that the UTG has seen and felt is the domineering presence of a minister who will at every turn subjugate, bully, berate, intimidate, and even threaten topadministrative officials of dismissal. Minister Joof has now become a menace and concerned students and staff have had enough of his meddling in the affairs of UTG. We the staff as an association here send notice that Mr. Joof is a menace ripe for riddance because:

a) Mr. Joof, without shame, unscrupulously financially defraudsUTG by forcing UTG to prefinance the Ministry’s travel expensed through per diem payments etc.

b) Mr. Joof would compel UTG to pay for per diems for already completed trips. He would claim that trips were conducted on behalf of UTG and therefore claim per diem payment from UTG. He would have for the same trip, collect per diem payments from the ministry and then force UTG to pay for the same trip.

c) Under Mr. Joof’s watch, MoHERST owes UTG over a D100+million and counting, of which a pittance of D3+million or thereabouts is paid.

d) Under Mr. Joof’s watch, UTG’s subvention from the Ministry of Finance which is paid through the ministry, is never fully paid to UTG. The money is always diverted for other ministry purposes depriving UTG of her due money, hence the areas owed to UTG remains outstanding.

e) Mr. Joof has threatened to dismiss senior officials for nefarious reasons.

f) Mr. Joof’s hand-picked chair of council of the University Governing Council will not act to help to seek solutions for challenges UTG is facing including debt owed to UTG (scholarships offered by HoHERST and failed subvention payments). Hence monies owed are in excess of approximatelyD100+million.

g) With all her financial challenges, Mr. Joof holds UTG as his piggy bank for personal purposes.

h) Mr. Joof hardly comes to campus to assess the progress or lack thereof of UTG. We cannot remember the last we saw Mr. Joof on campus.

i) Under his watch, the UTG Faraba project is not progressingfor administrative and project management reasons. Misplaced priorities and lack of vision and foresight precipitated the proposed conversion of GTTI to a University. If implemented, this is biggest disservice that Joof’s legacy would have done to Gambia. Mr. Joof is aloof to any suggestions that does not support his ideas. All technical experts have unanimously agreed that GTTI is better suited for a polytechnic and not a university for capacity reasons. Moreover, the cost of outsourcing academic capacity is prohibitive (two hand-picked foreign universities will provide the capacity) to hold up the transition from GTTI to a university. While our country is drowning in debt, money to convert GTTI is millions will have a high negative opportunity cost to the Gambia taxpayers.

j) Two years ago or thereof, Mr. Joof unscrupulously high jackeda grant in thousands of dollars from the Turkish Embassy for the purpose of procuring classroom chairs. This grant was lobbied by the UTG administration only for Mr. Joof to forcefully provide his unilateral handpicked supplier disregarding procurement rules. Mr. Joof handpicked a local Nigerian supplier to provide the several hundreds of imported classroom chairs.

k) Mr, Joof holds the University Staff association in contempt and disrespect because the association approached him and expressed our dissatisfaction about how the ministry is treating the UTG. Now Mr. Joof has arrogantly refused to respond to phone calls, and refused request for an audience with the association. Mr. Joof will not talk to or grant audience to the staff association. Well, be on notice that the staff and lecturers of the university are a key stakeholder and will accept no intimidation or marginalization. The association request that we be heard to resolve issues of discontent, and mutual interests of the institution We are part and parcel of the university and not invited guests.

l) Mr. Joof has no respect for the VC and his top administration.

m) Mr. Joof has done all he can to prevent the VC from having an audience with his superior the Chancellor, the President Barrow. The VC is unfairly treated for not been allowed to see his superior for over a year going on to two years. This is the only VC who never reports directly to his boss (The Chancellor)all because bully of a minister who is riding on a high horse. We hope that the Chancellor will himself request for the VC to visit with him and update him on the current dismal affairs of UTG.The chancellor should particularly be briefed on the dismal state of the Faraba project. The project is in a sad state of affairs.

In a nutshell, Mr. Joof has no respect or regard for UTG as a whole. Notice is here given that UTG will not sit by and watch a demagogue and a bully hold the institution eternally in bondage. Let the ministry be on notice that necessary actions will be taken to remedy our challenges as an institution. We hope that Mr. Joof will get off his high horse and reason with us a keystakeholders. Let Mr. Joof know that power is transitory and that it belongs to the people. UTG will live on after him.

A Concerned Citizen and proud alumni of UTG 

Editors Note: The views expressed in this article do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper.  It’s the author’s own views.  Thanks for your attention.

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