Max Jarju’s Opinion Piece: Under President Adama Barrow, Tribalism, Nepotism And Corruption Are On The Rise In The Gambia

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Dear Editor,
The firing of the former Army chief of defense staff,  Lieutenant General Masaneh Kinteh was quickly welcomed by so called prominent political activists and they have described President Adama Barrow’s decision “as long overdue”. The argument put forward by both Mr Pa Samba Jaw and disgraced former Junta spokesperson Ebou Jallow was that “ Lieutenant General Masanneh Kinteh was the wrong pick Or the wrong person to occupy that prestigious position of CDS at the army”. The former disgraced spokesman further  indicated that “ We highlighted the issues that intricate with his hiring as the commander of Chief of Defense staff because this is a man, whose career was sponsored and patronized by the former dictatorship—Yahya Jammeh”, notwithstanding the fact that all members of our armed forces have their careers sponsored under military dictatorship Including Mr Kinteh’s replacement.
Mr Jaw also regurgitated the same sentiment when he argued that “Well I hope it means something better because definitely if you look at The Gambia armed forces is like the reforms that we were expecting to happen didn’t take place. It looks like Masanneh Kinteh, who was acting like pretty much a co-president in that country with his convoy that everybody was complaining about; that was the only thing he was famous for; there was nothing tangible that anybody could look at and say he is doing to at least give us more professional army”. 
My problem here is about welcoming reason of Mr Kinteh’s firing provided by these two political analysts based on being ”sponsored and patronized by the former President Yaya Jammeh’s dictatorship ” without any evidence of corruption or at least due process. Mr Kinteh’s high profile association with Jammeh should not be used as a reason to condemn him as a result of this firing. The administration indeed has the same officials who worked for Jammeh. Therefore , all the former officials should be condemned for aiding and abetting the dictatorship.
The fundamental question that these people failed to ask themselves is that:
 Who is in President Adama Barrow’s National security team that can bring genuine reforms that our country badly needs and has not worked for dictatorship?  
 
The firing of people based on genuine reason should be applauded if the right steps are taken. In the case of mr Kinteh , the administration failed to take right path that would encourage accountability and rule of law. Kinteh’s firing is not going to change anything as far as security sector reform is concerned because we have incompetent defense minister who has zero integrity and little knowledge of national security. Sheikh Omar Faye’s diplomatic career was also  sponsored and patronized by the former dictatorship—Yahya Jammeh just like Mr Kinteh military career was sponsored and patronized by the former dictator Yahya Jammeh” as suggested by these political analysts . Mr Jaw and former disgraced spokesman should have first condemned the appointment of Sheikh Omar Faye as Defense minister if they are truly being genuine and truthful about the security sector reforms they have implied Mr Kinteh’s firing will kick start . This is because Mr Faye is indeed occupying higher position than Mr Kinteh in the National security team . Both of these two leaders have personal close association with the former President Jammeh.  Every one in Mr Barrow’s national security team have tainted record. These includes Interior , finance and  Foreign Affairs Ministers as well as the director of state intelligence service. Many of these people should have faced the TRRC rather than being rewarded to serve in the national security team. In fact Mr Kinteh’s deputy CDS Yankuba Drammeh who Mr Jaw described as levelheaded and smart was also sponsored and patronized by the former dictator Yaya Jammeh if we are to use working with Jammeh as a yardstick to evaluate these people.
The entire national security team needs to be replaced because majority have questionable records or qualifications to bring tangible reforms. It is regrettable that both Mr Jaw and Jallow took their eyes off the ball and quickly welcomed the sacking of former CDS without any evidence of alleged corruption or due process taking place. If indeed the alleged corruption took place, the former Chief of defense staff should have been placed on administrative leave while the Army and Justice ministry carry out investigation into this alleged corruption. But this is The Gambia , where  selective justice or condemnation is now the new phenomenon. They hailed Mr Barrow for decisive action in the case of Masaneh Kinteh but failed to condemn Mr Mamburay Njie , Sonko , other corrupt officials whose “career were sponsored and patronized by the Same former dictatorship—Yahya Jammeh”. Firing Mr Kinteh and retaining Mr Sonko , Njie , Faye and others would not bring any meaningful reform or change. President Barrow needs to hire new people with clean record if he is serious about reforms that he often lazily preach.
President Barrow is a clueless leader who is influence by selfish people for political expediency. There cannot be any genuine reform in any sector because of nepotism, tribalism  and regional preferential treatment. These were issues we all condemned former President Jammeh for doing and are the same thing Mr Barrow is currently repeating . Nothing change in The Gambia as far as corruption, nepotism and tribalism are concerned. There is every indication that these evil phenomena are getting worse. Corruption is on the rise because of Mr Barrow’s desire to get rich quick within a short period of time. The  government officials are looting our meager resources because there is no mechanism to stop corruption. The regime officials have also seen Mr Barrow built expensive mansion for himself at his  Home village within a year of his presidency. Tribalism is also on the rise due to Mr Barrow’s irresponsible actions of patronizing tribal organizations for political expediency. Mr Barrow recent donation of more than one million Dalasis to Sarehulah tribal organization and welcoming of  Fula tribal organization at the statehouse are clear evidence that Mr Barrow is willing to use identity politics to entrench himself in power. Both Sarehulah and Fula tribal organizations has extensive subregional connection with the objective of tribal hegemony in economy and politics in the subregion. The Fula tribal organization began in Nigeria , support by Nigerian Fulani billionaire and has extended its political and financial tentacles to almost all countries in the subregion. This was followed by Sarehulah tribal organization which recently held its annal meeting in The Gambia. As a result of this Precedent and supported by Barrow, we have seen establishment of “Mandîng N’kôlu Federation as a non-partisan organisation established to preserve and promote the culture of the Mandinka people in The Gambia and beyond”.   The implication is that All of these tribal organizations and their members would eventually engage in tribal identity politics or struggle to promote tribal identity instead of our national character and identity as Gambian citizens. The biggest reason for civil war in across Africa is tribal politics and tribalism. The tribal politics is detrimental to our country’s peace and stability as well as subregional peace, stability  and integration. President Barrow simply failed to recognize this danger because of his lack of intelligent leadership skills and vision. Adama Barrow never learned anything about the effects of military dictatorship such as corruption and tribalism which are real threat to our peaceful coexistence. These are also dangerous issues that are compounded by bad leadership style that our country is currently experiencing . We do not want our armed forces to be used again as a militia or tribal preferential entity. The Gambia’s armed forces should serve as the best example of inclusiveness, non-partisan and non-tribal National defense force free from external influence.
Thank you
Maxs  Jarju
Editors note: The views expressed by the author do not represent the position of the Freedom Newspaper. Thanks for your kind attention.
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