Many believe that government is continuity from one leadership to another to implement their plans and aspirations with the intent of the achieving the greatest goods that improve the lives of its citizens in the country. This piece is prompted by something fascinating in one of the brilliant best-selling book by renowned economics Ha-Joon Chang called 23 Things they Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. ‘’In perceiving change, we tend to regard the most recent ones as the most revolutionary’’ he posited ‘’which is often at odd with the facts’’. He warns against the tendency to ‘’underestimate the old and overestimate the new’’. The purpose of this article is to look into the impact of overestimating old hands and underestimating new hands in the government.

To start, one of the greatest students of Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said that “Experience is the knowledge of detail”. In comparison, the practical knowledge and experience. “This is why some who do not know, and especially those who have experience, are more practical than others who know; for if a man knew that light meats are digestible and wholesome, but did not know which sorts of meat are light, he would not produce health, but the man who knows that chicken is wholesome is more likely to produce health” (In Book VI of Nicomachean Ethics 7, page 1802).

A man with a wielding hammer treats every problem or shows everything as if were a nail. However, the old hands with experiences are expected to have gone through trials and errors in testing and implementing the development programmes that were part of the previous government which have already past the taste of time. The old hands may not easily accept the new ideas from the new hands that had the knowledge but with little or no practical experience in running the governance system. Clearly, the former might likely succeed than the latter in this scenario because of the practical experience. Hence, the old hands will continue with their old-fashioned and might not be easily susceptible to those new ideas with seemingly more prosperous but unacceptable by status quo.

It was reported that, the UNDP’s estimates the average women in the developing world spends up to 2 hours a day fetching water. Most of those who perform this difficult and cumbersome chore are young girls who should be attending school. All often, water sources are unsafe and located far away from home. Unclean water is the source of many diseases, a great cost to the society. Piped water would not only save time and free women and girls to do other things but it would ensure safe supplies. Clean water would reduce water borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera which will reduce pressure on healthcare system in the country. Incredibly, the old hands usually demonstrate cautions, mistrust to an extend of not willing to share relevant information regarding the old fashion of governance with the fear of losing their jobs.

In addition, matching of policies or programmes and restructuring as well as other reforms during transition will becomes a mere dreams with potential of derailing the country National Development Plan {NDP} that could defeat the purpose of the regime change. Again, those with ulterior motives will end up disregarding and undermining the new government for the interest of their collaborators in the opposition camps.

The Gambia could be a living proof of such circumstances, some political commentators have earlier observed that it is merely about change of personality of leadership in charge of the country, without changing the core and underlying ways of allocating state resources will not be helpful. With indications, led to the delay in implementing certain vital transitional projects that intends to create strong foundation for good governance and improving the standard of living of the average citizens.

Economically, the continued hike in the price of basic commodities as well as an erratic supply of water and electricity may eventually not go down well with the populace because of the high expectation from the new government forgetting that Rome was not built in a day. In circumstances, human beings tend to be fascinated by the newest and most visible technologies and policy-makers could also easily be swayed by the fascination of the new hands in the government. The tendency of the new hands giving a face-lift in managing the affairs of the state may be high but will not explore their potentials because of the infighting within the government. The co-opted supporters of the new government who have not really voted for the regime change normally find it challenging to fit in the system and they sometimes term as political opportunist in the system that may not be trusted to make any difference.

In conclusion, the purpose of this article is not dismissing the ideas of new hands as well as new technologies, no. They are contributing meaningfully to the development and democratization process of the country. We have harnessed and exploit our basic technologies to attain the greatest good.

Written By A Concerned Gambian Citizen In Manchester, UK


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