Plight of Workers at FSQA: Director Zainab Jallow Unveils New Roster for Re-deployment
By Lamin Gassama
In light of the ongoing saga at the Gambia’s Food Safety and Quality Authority under the directorship of Zainab Jallow. Who was recently petitioned by her staff at the vice president office for numerous revelations of abuse of office, undue regards for protocols, firing of staff without due process and running the office affairs like a ‘family business’.
Surprisingly, on Tuesday October 29, 2019 staff were greeted with a roster for redeployment to certain locations within the Gambia that were never mounted by the authority.
This came just following the Food Safety and Quality Authority board of directors last week interviewed staff individually who signed the petition with a view to establishing facts about the saga.
Certain staff argued that, this is well calculated move by the Zainab as a measure to silence the staff by restoring to distance certain individual from the main office in Kotu for provincial postings to never mounted locations.
Staff members believe that the director Jallow initiated the staff redeployment idea as a way to retaliate to the staff following the pending petition sent to the vice president office some weeks ago.
“So far there are no structures in some of the redeployment stations across the country,” a staff disclosed.
Interestingly, the board of directors has set two-week timeline to set up an ‘independent investigation panel’ to further investigate the allegations made against Director General Zainab Jallow by the staff.
However, the FSQA board directors said they don’t have any executive powers, saying that they can only advise the director.
The Food Safety and Quality Authority falls under the Vice President Office.
Certain version allegedly intimidated that the director Zainab Jallow said the vice president is supporting her following the petition by staff. Which gives her the yard stick to do anything she feels like to do even though the independent investigation panel said to be establish by the board of directors is yet to commence findings.
Furthermore, the staff members also suggested that an independent investigation panel should be set up by the Office of the Vice President rather than FSQA board of directors (that has no executive powers over the director).
They also intimidated that they don’t believe on the board. For the reason that, members of the board were single handedly handpicked by the embattled Director General Zainab Jallow.
A staff vouched that: “Zainab has no regards for the board. She preferred to do anything she like in the office that suits her individual interest. Since we sent the petition to the vice president office staff has received several forms of threats and intimidation. We have being working under her bad leadership for the past five years. Enough is enough. The government need to take action by redeploying her to other institutions to safe the country.”
FSQA staff no longer feel happy working with the embattle Zainab as she feel so powerful and untouchable, a staffer said.
It could be recalled that Friday September 20, 2019 one of the Food Safety staff Abdul Hakim Jawara who now resigned from the Authority was arrested by the Kotu Police Station official under the directive of Zainab Jallow.
Following several attempts to draw the board of directors’attention on the harsh working relations under the directorship of Zainab. Proved to the negative. Until recently ( last week) when the board of directors decided to met the staff on anindividual interview which lasted for hours at the FSQA office premises in Kotu.
Many has often alleged that Zainab is one of former president Jammeh’s cronies and used to have relations with him which earned her the position she holds at the country’s sensitive institution on food monitoring.
The Food Safety and Quality Authority of the Gambia is established by Food and Safety Act 2011. It is the sole authority with powers to control food and feed in the country.