KUDOS DOCTOR YUNUS HYDARA FOR SPEAKING
I wish to first take a moment to thank one of my readers, Mr. Amadou Drammeh, a gentleman who drew my attention to certain errors in my last paper especially on my conversion rate of the dalasi to the dollar. I was wrong in equaling D500 million to US$50 million instead of the US$11 million it should be. In fact I would prefer rounding it up to US$10 million in this paper. I like being corrected because I am quick at it when necessary, although the gentleman was off beat to insinuate that I was overly rosy in my pronouncements. He was indeed unfair to disparage me over the source of where medical ventilators cost about US$300.00 as non-existent anywhere, the amount used in my equation for the cost of 15000 of the available machines online. At alibaba.com one could even be purchased for as cheap as US$250.00 and depending on qualities could range up to US$5000.00 each. Besides, I was just playing with numbers but was necessarily that interested in how the money pledged by the government, if it exist at all, should be spent rather than being strictly accurate in the numbers or exact items that must be provided in the hospitals. Yes, I heard about the dire situation of ventilator shortages, absence of standby generators, non-existent or non-functional ambulances, lack of PPE, and the like but some of these, to me, are still subjected to confirmation or dispute.
In fact I lifted the ventilator numbers from the 30,000 figure at a cost of US$20K, demanded by New York City governor Andrew Cuomo from his projected number of respirators needed at the expected peak of the infection rate in the city. With New York’s population pegged around 9 million and the Gambia at 2 million, proportionally, our hospitals shouldn’t need more than 5000 ventilators to be overstocked at a worse-case scenario of the pandemic. Without the disease, 1000 will even be perfect and a far cry from having only three in the whole country exacerbated by the unavailability of standby generators with frequent power interruptions from NAWEC.
That said, intuitively, I want to believe that the D500 million pledged by the Gambia government is the same US$10 million offered by the IMF to fight the pandemic. If it is, unless I see the ledgers showing the deposited amount at the Central Bank, I will say tough luck Gambians.
From the little I know about the IMF-fund disbursement policies they don’t just release capital of such amount like that. Let’s ask for the beef from Finance Minister Honorable Mamburay Njie and Health Minister Honorable Amadou Samateh, the two government officials identified by President Barrow’s speech writer to be handling the funds. I doubt as whether the president has any clue about what he was coached to read to the public but the Secretary General responsible for vetting presidential speeches should be familiar with the facts. I am no longer expecting anything from Mr. Barrow especially after hearing from a cousin who to called to protest about why I should suggest the idea of using teleprompter for his future televised addresses to the nation.
“Sam”, my cousin went on, “you still don’t get it. If someone was to walk in Barrow’s office and tell him that Sam Sarr is recommending the use of teleprompter in his televised appearances, you know what he will say”?
“Whether teleprompter is male or female and how much he or she will charge for the job”.
He expected me to laugh over it and just accept the concept he was driving at as being just hopeless.
However nothing can anymore be funny in a head of state who cannot face the press in an uncensured conference, conducted in the official language of his country which is of course ENLISH in the Gambia.
In the latest twist of the ebb and flow of Barrow punditry, the idea of his speeches delivered in the local language is being touted to save him and the Gambians from embarrassment. That is gross folks. It he cannot work with the English language, he should abdicate right away.
Understandably, since his first London press conference in 2017 moderated by British Prime Minister Tony Blaire where he was asked about Gambia’s position about the debated successor of aging Queen Elizabeth 11 as head of the commonwealth and he navigated deep into his clogged brain and gave an answer that sized him up as THE world’s lowest IQ president, his apologists have since prohibited him from repeating that fiasco. Facing English-Speaking freelance journalist for 30-45 minutes has since been outlawed.
In the mean time however I am suggesting that Gambians look for other sources of cash because of my pessimism in the availability of the government-pledged D500 million funds to fight Covid-19.
Some people don’t like it when I mention the uselessness of the ECOMIG/Senegalese troops in the country doing nothing for us other than being a well-paid standby combat force awaiting for an upcoming war only real in their imaginations but will never occur in the country; all to indeed protect Mackey Sall’s control of Barrow running the affairs of the Gambia for him. If it is about an anticipated war, there is no greater war than this one being fought all over the world and on all fronts. Countries are scratching the bottom of their financial vaults to plough more funds into this “World War Three” operation even if it means bankrupting all their businesses. Yet nobody wants to discuss the logic behind paying these foreign forces D700 million dalasi per annum when our hospitals, schools and infrastructures are falling apart, thousands of our people dying of treatable diseases, our students denied affordable education and the good roads constructed deteriorating rapidly.
I think the money paid to ECOMIG should be utilized in more urgent matters in the country.
By the way where are our brightest minds in this trying times who for the past three years seemed to have all the answers on how to deconstruct the reputation of a bad government and construct a perfect one for Gambians? I want to hear from our geniuses like Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow, Dr Lamin Sise, Dr. Abdoulie Saine and most importantly the Almighty Essa Faal who with their syndicate of TRRC arbitrators have been bombarding the nation with brilliant ideas of how to run great governments different from any Gambia ever had. These people together, not more than thirty in number have in the past two or more years received salaries guesstimated to be close to D50 million. And are still receiving these fat wages even when they have suspended all activities in the wake of this war fought by every able “soldier”. What do they expect? For the government to fight it alone and if they fail, to later drag everyone to QTV and demonize them for being too careless about our poor hospitals that may have caused the death of several Gambians? Being paid for their indifference when all hands are on deck is cowardly. Reminds me of all of them on July 22, 1994.
In fact nothing will look right if in a month or two later they all return right back to the TRRC crusade and continue the identification of which Gambians were killed or tortured during the APRC era that should convince every Gambian into believing in their “Never Again” slogan. Why not “Never Again” bad hospitals, bad schools, bad roads, no ambulance, no PPE that is causing more Gambian deaths while few fat cats are enriching themselves from the meager resources of our impoverished country?
Doctor Yunus Hydara deserve our acknowledgement and commendation for his courageous and timely query to the Barrow government about the whereabout of Ex-President Jammeh’s confiscated wealth. I may be wrong but I am with the impression that, like most of us, Mr. Hydara was probably promted to ask in order to recommend the possible utilization of those funds to rehabilitate our pathetic health care system needed now.
Obviously, If it wasn’t this pandemic, Gambians wouldn’t have had the time and the cause to scrutinize and notice our badly under equipped, under funded and ill-managed-health sector. Perhaps by the time we are through with solving the health sector problem, we will still be left with some energy to shift our attention to other equally abused sectors such as the education department that former Secretary General Momodou Sabally has been denouncing as pathetic. For the past three years, these two departments and the Gambia Armed Forces have been ridiculed and dismissed as Jammeh’s white elephants. That he built too many hospitals and schools without adequately equipping and staffing them. While the GAF was castigated and trivialized for recruiting and maintaining bad officers and soldiers hence legitimizing the presence of these high-maintenance foreign forces in our country.
Lots of money, time and resources have been wasted in a delusional Security Sector Reform with no end of it in sight because of the falsified theory behind the objective. Simultaneously, thriving projects of the APRC government in the country’s health, education, infrastructure sectors remained deliberately neglected and obliterated to prove their point that everything that the Jammeh government had done was unproductive and extravagant. Trust me folks, this is not sustainable and may soon fall apart.
Hence, I think Mr. Hydara’s call on Justice Minister Tambadou to shed light on Jammeh’s wealth at this critical time is virtuous and spot on that should be given all the kinetic energy it merits. To expedite the process Gambians shouldn’t waste time looking beyond the members of the Janneh Commission, at the Augustus Prom chambers and at the Alpha Barry enterprise. Together these people should be able to provide needed evidence of how every item was collected, disposed-of and the remaining amount currently saved. It is however flabbergasting that in the final report of the Janneh Commission, if I am not mistaken, monies recovered amounted to roughly D75 million of which D50 million went to pay their salaries and other administrative costs. I don’t care about allegations widely spread that confiscated farming tractors to help poor farmers, gifts from abroad negotiated by the APRC government and distributed fairly across the nation were seized and sold on the justification that Jammeh stole public funds and purchased them to enhance his political ambition. Or, like his herds of cattle, his collection of vehicles including his luxury cars and other valuables, that some of those tractors were sold to affluent Senegalese contenders between 2017 and 2019. But I know for sure that his other assets of great value were sold by Alpha Barry’s enterprise between 2019 and 2020. Why not the AMRC is opened to guessing. So that money should still be there to hep the health sector in these hard times.
It is rather inconceivable that D50 million went to pay wages to about 20 people when our hospitals are in desperate need, of you know what, a narrative likened to a smoke-screened genocidal scheme.
Another D50 million was reportedly disbursed for the victims of Jammeh, identified by Essa Faal and co although I will insist on records of who exactly benefited, how much each received and if there is any balance how much is left where.
Given that the Per diem cash-cow is also temporarily out of business, I am sure the government has been saving tons of money from that racket. Used it before they come back to steal it.
Gambia’s Treasury Department should provide records of how much government officials have stolen from the Per diem swindle in the past three years on trips that don’t worth their cost, which I can bet could have satisfactorily upgraded our ruined hospitals, schools, roads with enough change to pay our soldiers to do far better jobs for the country than the useless Senegalese troops in town. That infamous mission of recovering Gambia’s peacekeeping funds at the UN by CDS Kinteh, Minister Dr. Tangara and six more other per diem hunters exposed by the Freedom Newspaper was a daylight rip-off to the nation. General M. A. Bah as principal army finance officer used to call me as the deputy ambassador in New York from his office at Marina Parade where we would coordinated everything with the UN finance office and got every arrears paid in a day or two. Ambassador Dr. Tangara was very well aware of that and General M. A. Bah can bear me witness on it as well.
Finally, I want to say this: Running out of popularity for blaming Jammeh on everything wrong with the Barrow government, I have now noticed that the last straw is to condemn the president for hiring Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Mr. Shiekh Omar Faye, Mr. Alagie Ceesay and Mr. Mamburay Njie, characterized as Jammeh’s “enablers”. That Donald Trump syndrome of blaming every mess he creates without an excuse on Obama will also run out of steam soon.
The few remaining dogmatic Anti-Jammeh campaigners holding only to that for their consolation by refusing to admit that the fight is no longer about the ills of the APRC government but about how they lost everything to Senegal must be accepted. Most Gambians have now recognized the indisputable fact that Barrow is one untouchable cookie as long as Mackey Sall’s troops are in the country for his protection, a bitter reality that has nothing to do with Jammeh. And that the Senegalese are looking at keeping him in power for at least 15 years at which time they would have gotten everything they needed in the Gambia.
Barrow cannot be Jammeh reincarnated on the flawed reasoning that Dr. Mamadou Tangara, Mr. Shiehk Omar Faye, Mr. Alagie Ceesay, Mr. Mambouray Njie, were his “enablers” recycled into new “enablers”. I will only accept that theory if globally acknowledged that Judas Iscariot was an enabler to Jesus Christ and not the traitor explicated in the scripture . In my book, these folks are Judas reincarnated and enjoying their thirty pieces of silver reward.
Face it folks, this is not about Jammeh’s fault anymore but about monkey-Gambia working and Baboon-Senegal gobbling.
Till my next piece, thanks for reading. And again, my apologies to the offended, especially my cousin.
New York City. ( in total retreat away from the killer pathogen).
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